The Slipping Mind

[…]

The Lucid Samurai

Samurais knew the best fight is the fight you don’t get into. As true as it was for these middle age warriors, this philosophy is also worth following by modern age musicians. Musicians have to learn picking up the right fights – those which are worth experiencing, and drop down already lost ones. Unfortunately, as easy as it seems, human beings need getting into trouble even if they know they shouldn’t. 

[…]

A martial art lesson explains that to get out of trouble, we should avoid situations that will get us into trouble in the first place. Easier said than done. We actually need experience and struggle to learn efficiently. We can’t be in total control of events. Certain issues and failures are necessary for our improvement and understanding of the world. We should accept the flow of life; yet the point is to part the situations worth living and those that are not.

[…]

For example, if you decided to attend the audition or a band contest, accept the idea that the winner might already been chosen up front due to the background deal. We all agree it’s not fair, but that’s the way it is. You may be the best musician ever, but if you don’t know the people who make decisions, it doesn’t necessarily make you a winner. If the audition isn’t a fake one, you may feel the frustration and the humiliation of being rejected in a heartbeat.

[…]

The Liquid Mind

The mind is to be seen like a warm water that fills your body and soul. When facing an issue, this water can become a tormented sea while at peace, it can be still as a mountain lake. Keeping this metaphor in mind may help you see life as a never-ending flow of actions and reactions – from still to tormented, from tormented to still. The more you get into that mindset, the more you will be ready to adapt yourself to, sometimes ruthless life of a musician. The Samurai musicians need flexibility to consider things that cannot be seen. In that way, life isn’t defined by facts, numbers, categories, proofs, right or wrong principles anymore. It’s defined by smooth transitions, just like water: from warm to cold, from dark to clear.

Generally speaking, striving too much can be counterproductive. The problem often comes by confusing the concentration and stubbornness. Concentration is not about narrowing the mind on one goal only. Concentration is about being relaxed and mindfully oriented on one thing, yet accepting possible fluctuations along the way. Surprising as it seems, the less effort you put in, the faster and more powerful you will be.
[…]