the value of values

It was really helpful to start thinking about 'beauty' as a value in ACT terms. It has given direction and focus for my practice today. I have been thinking conscientiously about how to create beauty, and this mind map sets out which elements I think maybe I need to focus on to take me toward my value of 'creating beauty'.

The poet David Whyte says that beauty is 'an achieved state of both deep attention and self-forgetting'. I noticed again today that the way to consistently improve these elements is to sharpen my concentration. In the past, I use the imagery of sharpening a pencil. Each attempt I sharpen the pencil to a finer and finer point. The more difficult the entry - usually a high exposed note for most horn players - the 'tighter' the concentration required. Easier notes usually do not require what I have called 'life or death' type focus, but if you don't really give these notes a sharp stare, they have a higher probability of splatter.

Especially under pressure of course. Which is when it matters. When you care about creating beauty for others.

Even an audition panel.

With regard Whyte's 'self-forgetting', this might be that sort of losing ourselves thing? A state of flow that we hope for but rarely attain? We forget where we are, who we are, we are just enjoying the ecstasy of the beauty?

Could this also be a result of what the Buddhists call 'sunset mind' -  you can't fix a sunset, you can only sit back and watch it happen. Sit back and watch the music unfold, out of your own body, like watching a sunset?

And this is what it often feels like to play a piece that you know so well, you could play it in your sleep. And maybe this is an element to playing with beauty? Sitting back and watching yourself playing? Allowing your music flow? Getting yourself into the flow state?

Does it happen when you 'get out of your own way'? Take away the layers of thinking and worry and get back to a natural musicality?

Who knows. Just thinking aloud. 

Deborah HartComment