Saturday, January 11, 2014

36.) Thought Power January 8, 2014


The upper staff of Thought Power cycles through all the transpositions of Messiaen's fourth mode, changing each bar.  The lower staff is composed of the second mode, and is an increasing equal division of the measure.  It starts with a whole note, and adds a note until there are seven equal divisions, then it reduces until we are back to two.  (It's much easier to see this on the score, than for me to explain it.)

I enjoyed this concept of dividing the bar equally in increasing numbers, all played underneath a steady succession of 16th notes.  However, I knew it would be a problem to play, given the amount of time I had.  I must confess that I estimated the placement of the notes.  If I had the time, I could have calculated precisely where the notes should be placed with some math.  Instead I listened to the computer play the piece, and made some annotations as to the approximate placement of the notes.  I think this worked fairly well.  I'm not a machine, and I don't really want to play like one anyway.  I like this tempo, but a faster tempo would also be fun.  Give me a few weeks.    

I've been reading Play of Conciousness by Swami Muktananda, who was a guru in the Siddha Yoga tradition.  So I have been thinking a lot about meditation, mantra, and the mind, etc.  And the other morning I was walking the dog, and I walked by someone who was smoking a cigarette.  And wow did I ever have some less than pleasant thoughts for this fellow.  And I realized in that moment, that my reaction to this guy was the problem, not him, or even the fact that he was smoking.  It was me.  I took a harmless situation, and made it my problem, and he was just a dude smoking!  If I hadn't reacted to him in that way, I would have been at peace.  And I noticed that day, riding the subway and walking around NYC, how often I am making a problem for myself out of other people, and other things.  I don't think I'm the only person who navigates this city in this way.  What a terrible sickness!   We are prisoners.  I am now attempting to avoid those thoughts which make unnecessary problems out of nothing.  If I can't avoid them, I've written a mantra that I will repeat when I begin to have these thoughts.  Our state of mind is completely determined by our reactions and our thoughts.  Thought power!

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