How am I to reach beyond my capacity? Any mastery, any at all may have something of that reach in it. I have turned away more than one time when I actually grasped the monumental size of the task. This is one circumstance where ignorance may genuinely be bliss, but it is bliss that cannot last. One becomes conscious at some point along the path toward mastery and then the shit hits the fan.
I have written several times of my turning away from music. It is frankly true that I left music behind in 1973 and did not return to it in any form until I discovered while keeping time to the radio in my car that I was anticipating rhythm of the jazz well enough to syncopate creatively to music I had never heard before and I have never trained to do that. This completely blew me away and still does. I don’t know where it came from but I guess it had something to do with getting sober and staying that way long enough. It had something to do with the healing involved in that. It also had something to do with no longer having anything to prove long enough. In other words, it may have had something to do with growing up. As well, there is the spiritual factor, that I am under a discipline of sorts, have been since 1967, and after decades it is actually working.
I would not have really returned to music without back up. I gave it a start, but it was not until my last lover entered my life and pulled me in that I really began the re-entry. She was capable of that pull, unlike anyone else in my life because she was in many respects a better trained musician than I am and my peer in so many other ways that I could not see her pressure as manipulation. It was obviously love, several kinds of love, and not least for music itself.
The point of writing about this is to look at the reason that I stopped back in 1973, why for some time before I was losing momentum rapidly and the heart had gone out of my love for playing music after six years of intense daily practice. I had reached a wall I couldn’t break through. I realized that not only was I going to have to learn a bunch of new stuff from the bottom up, the only way for me to do that was to unlearn much of what I had mastered. I was in a trap of my own devising by pushing forward as I had. I realized all the way down to my soul this was so. The task was just too big and too unfair after so much work. I knew I couldn’t do it. See what I mean about becoming conscious? That's what happened. I woke up and it wasn't pretty. My motivation had always been screwed up. I created my own failure in that way.
I knew I couldn’t do it, not what had to come next. No. I’ve always known I couldn’t do it. I lost heart for the dependability of the power flow from beyond that supports this kind of activity. I lost my trust in the benevolence of the universe for my work. Without that trust I could not believe. Without that faith I knew that I not only couldn’t do it, I no longer wanted to. I suffered terminal discouragement. I had worn my guitar out. The frets needed replacing. Instead of fixing my guitar, I put it in the closet. I quit singing. That was that.
I had no comforter.
Lack of trust: no one can master anything without it. If you have to jump an abyss farther than you can jump, then you must rely on the universe to supply and span the gap in power. What if it lies just a little bit beyond? Most mastery is like that, just a little beyond. The work is doable but the immensity is daunting. If you are too self centered about the work, it will fail because the necessary power is beyond self.
This is also the reason that alcoholics cannot sober up.
It Always Comes To This
You have given me
the reach, the yearning for sky
and hope and truth, dream
of a way beyond
the chasm of my longing life,
a short leap, you said,
though it looks wider
than my best running long jump.
I wish I had trust.
May 18, 2009 1:20 PM