September 15, 2012

Music & Mindfulness: Becoming an Open Channel For the Music of Your Life. ~ Paul Russell

“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

~ Roald Dahl

Your art is woven from the substance of your life, from your most intimate feelings for beauty and meaning, or lack thereof. Whatever your art form, it’s essential to tend to the artist that is at the root of your artistry.

It’s your own resonant body and vibrating heart strings that find expression through your instrument.

For me, music is a kind of resonating body, and the connections that form between the hearts of musicians and listeners act as another set of vibrating strings. As the music plays through this wonderfully interconnected network, 10,000 different shades of emotion can emerge like flowers in a garden.

But of course, what emerges in the temple differs considerably from what emerges in the tavern.

To confess the obvious, I can tell you that my personal instrument has its own warps and twists. In the light of mindfulness, I sense patterns of interference that tend to distort and bind the musculature of my spine. It’s not unlike looking down the neck of a guitar and seeing it twist and bow. The culture I live in, which is a kind of overarching venue for this instrument of body, heart and mind, also has its contortions and knots visible to every mindful soul.

Everything is interconnected.

By engaging in processes like meditation, prayer, qigong or whatever else serves to illuminate patterns of interconnection, we can gradually become more responsive, open, aligned and relatively independent of culturally conditioned ignorance. By tending in this way to the deeper needs of the artist, through our instruments we can come forward with an art that serves to help open the bodies and hearts of everyone with the courage to listen deeply.

Paul Russell plays handcrafted, homegrown and heartfelt folk music where impassioned fingerstyle guitar, poetic lyrics and a vibrant singing voice combine to evoke feelings of beauty, meaning and delight in the hearts of those who dare to listen. You can discover his music at www.paulrussellmusic.com.


Editor: James Carpenter

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