Music to inspire presence in the Here and the Now. Inspired by vignettes from the life of Gautam Buddha.
Playing Indian classical music, on which this CD is based, is my favourite mindfulness practice. The intense attention on the form and feel of the raga I am playing is a way of disciplining my mind. It is a search for the innermost core of the raga, just as mindfulness is a search for the innermost core of my being, what Osho and the Zen masters call ‘no-mind’.
Outwardly the form of each raga is simply a set of rules about which notes may be used, which of these emphasized, and a set of restrictions about which way they may be approached from each other. Yet many great artists have commented on the curious sense that, rather than being created, a raga is something to be explored as if it pre-exists beyond the act of performance.
The musical exploration of a raga requires both concentration and receptivity, single mindedness of purpose and utter openness to what appears. The union of these apparent contradictions is echoed in mindfulness practices.
I invite the listener to join the sense of exploration. For this CD I have chosen to play only the rhythm-less ‘alaap’ that traditionally opens a performance and, eschewing fixed melodies, to freely improvise within the structure of each raga. That way the mind has very little in the way of signposts to grab onto to predict what will come next. As the music unfolds the listener stays in the present moment rather than anticipating the next.
In tribute to Gautham Buddha, originator of the mindfulness technique of ‘vipassana’, I have chosen significant events in his life as titles for the tracks. His enlightenment under the peepal tree, his preaching of the dharma, his annointment of a true successor to carry forward his innermost teachings and their spread after his death, are the stuff of poetic images throughout the East. They certainly inspire me in the knowledge that in my search for the innermost core of my own being, there are those who have gone before me.”