“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.”
The only thing completely under our control is our thoughts. Bob Marley insinuates that our worse enemy is none other than ourselves. It is the mental slavery we willingly subject ourselves to that precludes us from experiencing reality. We need to free our mind of our preconceived notions and concepts. Concepts we don’t or can’t separate from ourselves because they are part of our hidden operating system.
Seneca advices us to immerse ourselves in the present to “gentle the passage of time’s precipitous flight.” Live now, drink more deeply of the present moment, get a taste of eternity in our mortal lives. Within each moment there is an eternity; there exists an eternity of moments. If you doubt it, consider that between zero and one there as many fractional numbers as there are natural numbers from 1 onwards. We dwell on the number of moments we are given and get to experience but rarely contemplate the depth of each experience.
It appears we may come to an age-old debate of quantity verse quality. Or is it that we prefer to ignore the present moment, to not focus on what is in front of us, relinquishing the possibility of slowing down and experiencing the immensity of the present moment? Each time our mind wanders from the present moment and focuses on past or the future, we rob ourselves of a small morsel of eternity. How often do we speak of someone that lived a relatively short life but somehow managed to experience so much more, do so much more? We say, “if only I could accomplish a fraction of what they accomplished in such a short time.” We may think they were not given enough time but look at what they did with the time they were given.
As musician’s we can mistake quantity for quality. We all know musicians that know a ton of songs but don’t play many of them particularly well. We also know musicians who dive into a genre and know a smaller number of songs and play most of them well. And then there is the last group of musicians that know a ton of songs and play most of them really well. What do we need to do get ourselves into that last, rarified group?
Study the groove and the feel of a song. It seems that there can be an endless number of ways to interpret note placement, duration, and articulation. When playing in an ensemble, you need to make real time decisions based on the feel and groove of the drummer and the other musicians. The doorway to experiencing the eternity in each moment exists in the specifics of the groove. This can become a heightened experience when other musicians on the stage are participating and acting on the subtleties of the groove. While the song may sound the same each repeat to the average listener, the subtle changes that propel the groove and song free our mind and slow the passage of time’s precipitous flight.
Bottom Line: Get deep.