Meditation for slackers and insomniacs

When you think of meditation, does the idea of eliminating thoughts come to mind? It’s really more about substituting one thought for another. A mantra, sound or vision can fill the vacuum that is typically filled with our “to do” list and other annoying thoughts.

Meditation is not so much a destination as it is a journey. Years ago I used to let my brain get a cramp trying to get somewhere. Now I sometimes use a mantra learned decades ago with TM or picture myself under a lovely evergreen tree. You can use the classic OM sound or picture something that gives you tranquility.

Other techniques that required me to remember successive affirmations have long ago been forgotten. I found them burdensome. When I’m awake at night I use the meditation tool to fall back asleep. I’m sure I’ll be scolded by some as you’re taught to sit upright so that you’re in a state of calm consciousness. I think I hit that zone during the transition back to sleep in my bed at night!

Purging songs from my play set

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I’m a reasonable minimalist. Not too many clothes or much furniture. I live below my means. Closets are precious real estate zones. Recently I’ve been applying a different filter to songs I keep to play. I think there is a great lesson here for my musical path, as well as my life.

I sing and play guitar. My talents are better than some and far worse than others. Playing is a solitary activity and a group event. Adding items to my potential repertoire is easy. Doing something with them is another. I’ve decided that if I keep a tune for a year or so and can’t find a way to play it by then, it should hit the trash. Loving a song is one thing; effectively covering it is another.

Like many things in life, the clutter of the old keeps the new from taking root. If I flip through my music book and keep seeing a song that I can’t “own,” it wastes my time and precious energy. (It’s a little like reading the blogs of others that don’t resonate and purging that site from your reader. I hope you don’t feel that way about this blog.) Why keep a song that you can’t hit the highs or lows well, or it doesn’t sound good without a driving percussive sound?

The trick to a great song collection to cover is to write down the names of songs when you hear them. Also, playing with others gives you fresh inspiration. I’m going to get very aggressive this weekend and tear through that songbook. Does this strike a chord with any of my readers?