Tag Archives: stream of consciousness

Pick it

I get so tired of my dual-ness. Always one thing or the other. Always vacillating. Loud:Soft. Isn’t it one of those things we learn as toddlers? Opposites. We are trained in opposites. Ugh. Such conditioning.
We can’t have a clear path to growth. Always bumping up against the wall of duality. I am of course grateful to Krishnamurti for enlightening me.
So it starts in childhood, this duality. But it doesn’t end. It goes on and on. It permeates everything. The trouble is, it’s not natural. Nature is not dual. Nature does not chop. Nature doesn’t need these words, for instance. These words are here to redefine the categories we impose on everything. I need these words to find my way through. What a bloody nightmare. It is a nightmare of our own making. Good and evil. Nature doesn’t need that.
When I watch At Close Range it gets me thinking about good and evil. I try to live my life with awareness of good and evil. I love both sides of myself. I hate having to pick sides. Pick a paint color for the bedroom wall. Pick a mattress type. Pick a school for Cody. Pick a religion to subscribe to.
The idea is that if I pick the wrong side, or attempt not to pick one at all, I am destined to bring evil into the world and into my life. If you’re not good, you’re evil. What other choice do you have? You have to pick a side, right? There have to be opposites, right? Republican and Democrat seems to be a common one these days.
One of the lovely outgrowths of duality is judgment. I can say that pretty much every single time I cast a judgment, great or small, I feel something dirty. I feel soiled inside. And the only way I can ever hope to relinquish that dirt is to cease seeing everything as chopped up into two parts. Judging is contagious, by the way. And attracting. You feel good if you see others doing it, since you’re doing it – it validates you. I can’t believe how deep it runs through our culture and our societal development.
Maybe the hardest thing is to stop judging yourself. From there you can release judgment of others.


I kind of decided enough was enough tonight. It’s not worth the pain. It’s not sensible or necessary. So then I really, seriously thought about the possibility of quitting. No more. Zip.

Then I thought, do I have a reason to be a cellist? Or to continue being one? An answer wasn’t immediately coming to mind. I guess I don’t really think deeply about that question. I just kind of do it. Maybe moreso in my old age? But I think I couldn’t even begin to address that question when I was younger and more naive. Life has given me some wherewithal to engage in productive contemplation.

So the meat of this thought process was occurring during the Brahms first piano concerto, with Grimaud and Andrey.

You see, last night’s concert found me in a different place at that moment. I was absolutely connected, in a semi state of nirvana, musically. I was in my typical state of discomfort cellistically, but I was soaking every bit of the Brahms into my pores. I don’t know if that gave me something in particular to draw on tonight. But I had been thinking this week about how I have spent much of my life as a listener to music, with the week’s program of the Brahms and the Schumann 4th Symphony as two of my favorites for cranking on the stereo. During the parts of the Brahms that the cellos rest, I was able to go into that state of immersion that I do when I listen off stage. I actually meditated to exactly that slow movement when I was in high school, during lunch period I think. I would lie down on the grass out in front with my walkman, and let Ashkenazy’s endless lines wash over me.

I wondered if the reason I am in this field is actually an extension of my love of listening to beautiful music, not really because I adore participating in its creation. This love has many physical and emotional side effects, mostly positive, but some negative, and I have frequently wondered if they are always an asset for the purpose of performing. Tonight I may have found a way through that question. It’s about passion. Finding my true passionate nature. It seems to be possible that my passion for letting music wash through me in fact touches a different part of my soul than the art of playing.

At the moment when these ideas streamed through my consciousness, something changed. It’s ironic, because the thought of quitting opened up something in myself that was trapped when I was supposedly sustaining my level of dedication, feeling I would never quit.

I have been trying to raise the bar on my overall level of well-being and happiness. Tonight was one of those nights where I felt the price was too high. The pain outweighed the pleasure. It’s possible that having now experienced the musical differentiation described here, I may find a way to live in tenuous balance with this art and craft.


Fits and starts. All or nothing. And when I say nothing, I mean, nothing. I probably mean the all part too. All or nothing. Do I have any choice in the matter? Will I forever be trapped, imprisoned, in this manner of existence? How many years left do I have to try to make some headway in another direction? I’m 44. I’m 44. If I live to 94, that would be a miracle. Largely due to this problem of which I speak/write. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, I live to 94. That is indeed 50 years. Is that really a long time? Hmmm? Let’s be honest. Not really. Unless I do something with them. Those years. One year passes. It passes. I can mark it in a variety of ways. The passing of Cody’s birthdays, the passing of my birthdays, the passing of calendar years, the passing of orchestra seasons. Anniversaries. Summer festivals recurring. All these things mark a year. How do I gauge my imprint over the course of that year? How do I gauge my progress, my growth, my accomplishments? This is one of the ways. By working on myself. I can see and sense if I have come any closer to being able to reach a higher level of myself. Of being.

Does this qualify as fourth step work? I feel, yes. I think honesty seems to lie at the heart of the program. This is how I express my honest self.


Venting. Airing. Not trapping. Not contracting. Living. Loving. Being surrounded. Being alone. Being inhibited.
I’m like a moth. Involuntarily drawn to things. Drawn away from the truth, drawn to vacuousness. I exist in hieroglyphics. I am nomenclature.
No. Don’t. If you doubt it, then go.
A lack of discipline. Of all things! Difficulty integrating ideas coming from different directions. Assimilating. Star Trek put a bad spin on assimilation. Ha. Is compartmentalizing so great though? The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.
Everything I do erroneously is for safety. For protection. Ha. Maybe I’m just protecting myself from being alive. I am nearing death. Here I come! How bloody ironic. To think I have any say in death’s inevitability. I remember thinking that Buddhism seemed obsessed with the subject of death. But isn’t religion generally like that? Is Judaism? Depends which denomination. But Buddhism seems to be very direct and honest about life and death. Very, very direct.
Since I’m now delving into my religiosity and spirituality, it causes me to notice how other lifelong practicers have journeyed through and beyond questions such as these. It turns out I’ve only just started scratching the surface.
The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know, like Sebok noted.