The Keys to Meditation - My Mindful Life Contest Entry

in naturalmedicine •  last month 

White and black keys lay before me,
but the image fades.
My fingers move across the notes,
but my brain does not think.
My ears hear music and rhythm,
and that is all there is.
It is here, it is now.
It is.

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When I was six years old, I wanted to learn to play the piano, so my mother paid for lessons. While I learnt a lot of the techniques, which I don't practice enough today, I noticed something when I played that has stayed all the way to today.

I am more relaxed,
I am less anxious,
I let go,
I gain focus,
I gain clarity,
I recharge,
I clear my mind,
I meditate.

Music has always been a way for me to get into a meditative state, mindfulness meditation, as they say. I was a bit more rigid when I was younger, less able to improvise on the piano. Taking drumming lessons helped loosen that up a bit, as we played beats and became those beats and rhythms. We listened to each other and played off each other.

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When I play the piano, tensions leaves my body. Sometimes I compose and think more about what I want to play and how to play it. Other times I struggle to read notes, because that is my greatest difficulty in piano, even more than playing quickly. And sometimes I improvise. I was greatly inspired for a project I was working on for my gaming channel on YouTube and I half-improvised/half composed (and some are piano interpretations of certain songs) 76 songs, all inspired by themes in Dragon Age, a song for each Tarot Card I was analysing. (Some cards had one song for 2 cards because of the way they were configured.)

I've composed a few songs of my own, purely original, those take a bit more time. I love doing interpretations by ear and adding my own to it. Those are the ones I seem to be the best at these days, because I listen, I hear, I don't have to think much. I find the notes and just go, my fingers move and the brain does very little.

Instead of focusing on breath and sitting with my legs crossed,
I'm focusing on notes, and one foot is on a pedal.

When I was working, at some point, I was so busy that I was playing very little. When I moved in with Frank, there was no piano, so I almost never played. And then I burnt out, and I reconnected with myself and I knew I needed a piano in my home. We found a second-hand Clavinova piano. Old, but good. I named it Blackwall, and painted the parts where the dark covering layer had peeled off, using my acrylic paint. Looks as good as new.

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I had begun composing a good while back, but I got back into the trend when I got my own piano in my new home. And I played so often, it felt really good to be able to just let go, clear my mind and play.

The piano followed me to my new house, the one I've been in for the past 3 years. I may go a while without playing. If I've gone more than a week, I go eek! Literally. Some days I can play for HOURS on end. Others, just a few minutes, but even just a few minutes feel so good. It's rejuvenating. Some days I prefer to play what I know and just enjoy the melodies. That's ideal when I'm more tired. Other days, I want to use my skills and learn new songs, practice hard. There have been tough songs I learnt, then forgot because I did not have a piano, and relearned later. I was so happy to relearn it, it was a lot easier the second time because my fingers knew the notes to play, I just needed to remind them. It becomes like breathing. My fingers move naturally and I focus solely on the music that I am playing.

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I truly believe that having my own piano, being able to play when I want, however I want, has helped me heal in many ways. And I will always need the piano, I will always want to play the piano.

I am a shy player, so I use ear phones, but I pull them out to record. I much rather record so others can listen over and over again, than play in front of them. Recorded, I can also remove the errors and pretend they never happened. I'm not perfect, I don't play flawlessly, but playing the piano is perfect for me and puts me in a state or sheer goodness, in the moment, grounded, present, here, playing. The rest doesn't matter. I am content, because I am present.


This is my entry for the @NaturalMedicine #mindfullife contest. The original post can be found here: https://steemit.com/mindfulness/@naturalmedicine/mindful-monday-with-guest-editor-plus-a-chance-to-win-5-sbi

All images in this post are my own, screenshots from videos I made where I am playing the piano (Blackwall).

If you are interested in hearing me play, you can find my many piano recordings in these playlists:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYJgpNPN4f3S6l7ZVKXXEU_XcUspdaTBL
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYJgpNPN4f3RgQkM8Djh_QlJIYVDnZjSA

I also have original compositions you can purchase to support me if you like:
https://gumroad.com/l/SD1music
https://gumroad.com/l/clahriaharp

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I find it inspiring and truly beautiful to hear of your healing through meditative practices involved in creating music. All great artists of different mediums recognize a state that brings them in to the moment, the common euphemism of "being in the zone." I really appreciate the way you have described your experience and process of going into this state and how it has affected you. Thanks for sharing! Great post!

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Thanks :) "In the zone" indeed.

I know that feeling when you play piono and it just puts you in the here and now, letting go and letting the music flow!
As a teenage I had entered a dark spot in my life and it was playing the piano, with the focus and joy of playing that broke through the darkness and shone some light in my life.
I can see the joy when you are playing! Thanks for sharing!

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Thank you for your kind thoughts :)

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Thanks!

This is beautiful @binkyprod x my meditation has always been through dance, that is when I can disconnect from the world and just be present in the now, where I just let my body carry me along with the music. Music is so healing and such a wonderful gift that we give to ourselves and also others xx

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For sure. I used to dance too. Hip Hop dancing. It was so much fun, it allowed me to externalise some emotions, but it never fully allowed me to be present like playing the piano does. It came close, though.

So what kind of dance do you do? Do you share any of it on Steemit?

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I have always just danced for me, I can't really say what style, I just put some music and let it take me away xx

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Oh, improvising and going with the flow. That's the best kind.

Such a beautiful reflection on a tool you use to keep present and the joy it brings you xx I went through a stage of (badly) learning to play the ukulele and was struck by how concentration on each note keeps you present. My Dad gets a lot of pleasure from playing guitar and my son ADORES his music, so much so he is doing an audio and sound engineering course.

Hubby finds his presence or Zen tinkering with mechanics in the shed. For me it's surfing or drawing Mandela or as you know, yoga.

Loved this post, @binkyprod, and so happy for you that this brings you so much joy xxx

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Thanks! My mother spends so much time in the garden, that's her thing. One day, I think I've mentioned in the past, I need to take pictures of her garden and maybe a video and share it here.

Thank you for sharing your great work with us!
Your post has been upvoted an resteemed manually by WiMusic (@pasle). Your Steemit Music Source.

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Cool. Thank you.

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