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Meditation high (trying out "The 4 steps of Effortless Mastery")

Posted by Erwin on Sunday, March 15, 2015

Yesterday I bumped into "Effortless Mastery : The 4 Steps" by Kenny Werner. After watching some trailers on YouTube, I decided to give it a go, and purchased the DVD. But I also got immediate access to it online, so I watched it. 

Kenny Werner's point of view is quite simply that you only can perform well if you don't care, in other words, when you're ego is not getting in the way. He calls this being in "The Space". So, the 4 steps are 1. being in The Space with your instrument (without playing) 2. being in The Space playing your instrument in free form (meaning : don't think, let your hands and fingers just play whatever they like to) 3. being in The Space playing your instrument in a form (i.e. something you know) 4. being in The Space and practicing (playing something you don't know).

So today I started working with this whole new idea. First, before even holding my instrument, I wanted to know what "The Space" is. Call this "Step 0 : being in The Space without your instrument" :-). Kenny sais you can achieve this through meditation. So, I gave that a try. In a time long long long ago, I practiced some yoga, so I knew that you can meditate just by concentrating on your breath. So, that's what I did... But thoughts were creeping up like industrious ants, my body was making all sorts of noices from the stomach area, and I had an itch in a place that I wont' mention. So, after some minutes, I abonded "trying to meditate" and decided to have a look on the Internet (oh, that blessed thing !) how to meditate well. 

I found a Dutch site that in short gave these instructions : 1. give yourself a time how long you will be meditating, e.g. 10  minutes. But don't set a clock, that would be another thing to worry about. 2. sit straight in a chair, comfortable but still alert. Put your hands on your knees. Close your eyes, that's more easy for beginners. 3. concentrate on 1 thing. For beginners, concentrating on your breathing is the most common technique. 4. If you get distracted (and you will) bring your attention back to your breathing. Don't get frustrated or mad that you get distracted, just bring your attention back. Do this the whole time of the meditation if necessary. 5. During meditation you are still aware of external or internal stimuli (noises, feelings, thoughts), but don't pay attention to them. Concentrate on your breathing. 

After reading this information, I started meditating again, in a little more relaxed state now that I knew I was following the right procedure. And of course, the thoughts were coming up again, the noises from the stomach, the itch.... But this time, I just noticed them, and concentrated on my breathing again. Which was still hard, because I never knew the real starting point of my intake of air, or the end point when I was breathing out... 

And then it happenend.... Suddenly, I was no longer in the same place ! I was in the same room, of course, and in my own body, but everything was different ! I was... indeed... I was in The Space ! My eyes were closed, but in stead of the usual visual imagery, I only saw "noise" like a television in the old days. My body felt 5 times as big, but very light and floating... yes, like a balloon ! And I was inside of it, and I could really really hear my breathing, from start to finish...
I knew that of this point, I could take my instrument just as Kenny had demonstrated, but I didn't. This is too new to me, and I just want to make sure that I could reach this point again next time... But I one houndred percent sure : THIS IS THE SPACE !

After that, my body and this state slowly diminished to their normal proportions... When I opened my eyes again, exactly 10 minutes had passed ! Even now, writing this blog, an hour and a half after this experience, I still feel the afterglow... 

I remembered being in this state the one and only time in my youth I smoked pot. I never reached that again... until now, just by mere meditation. As you can imagine, I'm already looking forward for tomorrow to see if I can be in The Space again ! If that's possible, I can start taking Kenny Werner's 1 step ! 

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