Peak Experience, Part Deux

Ever since that first experience of “channeling” (I’ll let that stand, until I find a better way to describe it), I’ve wanted to experience that again. Unfortunately, it’s not happened. As a result, over the years, I’d gone from being enthusiastic about it to being resigned to the fact that I’d never experience it again. You can tell from my first post that I got to the point where I just considered it a “peak experience” of mine (emphasis on me) and let it be. Holding it like some sort of magical fluke.

That view persisted until my recent return to playing. In one of the discussion threads in the JGBI forums, someone brought up Kenny Werner‘s book Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within. [NOTE: Just in case you’re wondering, Kenny also has a DVD of the same title Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within. The production leaves much to be desired, but you’d want to get it for his talk, not for how pretty or slick it is. Well worth the small investment.]

To say that I was intrigued by the title would be an understatement! I ordered the book and started reading. WOW! What an eye opener. Well, needless to say, a lot of what he had to say in the book started to bring it all into focus. So much more to say than there is to cover in a short blog posting.

To discover that “my” peak experience was neither personal or a happy coincidence was tremendous. Kenny’s description in his book was the first time anyone had ever described what it was like for me. I can write about how it was like “an out of body experience without leaving my body”, but that’s a bit of a tough nut to crack for people to really relate to, especially if they’ve never had the experience.

While much has changed over the years, some things did not. Some of my previous orientation to playing persisted and this had been cemented in place by:

  • My formal education (focus on learning and training);
  • Not having a relationship to music and my playing based in development;
  • My attachment to “how I sound” and “how well I play”.

One thing is clear. I held it all as  though it was “personal”. Being an advocate of development, I’ve since come to recognize this as a pathway to peril and (my very own, personal) purgatory. Today, through my research, reading, playing and engaging with others, I’m breaking the history-based thinking/boundaries, and intentionally working on opening up new horizons and developing new capabilities as a musician. I’m also surrendering to being the conduit through which the Music flows. While it’s not reliable (yet), it has begun.

And I’ve found that (just like Kenny says) as soon as I start being concerned with “how I play” or “how good I sound”, it all goes straight into the toilet — I am disconnected from the Music. I noticed this at play in preparing my last JBGI video submission.

I must say that it’s a very exciting time!

What do you think? Are you reliable for gaining access to having Music flow through you? I’d like to hear.

August 18, 2009 · kengon · 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Development, Music

2 Responses

  1. FooteMAN - August 19, 2009

    Ive been reading your blog back to front to get the history of all the posts and this one really hits the mark.

    Keep up the good work and I very much look forward to hearing you make music.

    John

  2. kengon - August 19, 2009

    Thanks for the feedback. I’m really looking forward to playing publicly with others in the very near future. It sure beats sitting alone with a backing track and just playing with yourself… :-)

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