PATHWAYS FOR LIVING • by ANDREW EALES
setting our piano journey in its living context.
The Autumn months can be so very busy!
• For students, there is the return to school, college or university – in many cases starting in a new setting, or beginning new courses.
• For teachers, many of us are still fine-tuning timetables to adapt to unexpected last-minute changes, while doing our best to tap into the enthusiasm which greets a new academic year.
• For parents, as the summer holiday disappears into the past, new routines kick in, and the workload can be different at least – if not more daunting,
It can all get to be too much. We can feel overwhelmed.
And we need to make some space for ourselves, so that we don’t implode from the demands and commitments which face us on all sides.
Silence provides that space, that essential moment of calm. And however shortlived, I have found that oasis can be truly transformative.
Here is a beautiful quote:
“As one progresses on the path, one seeks silence more and more. It will be a great comfort, a tremendous source of solace and peace … you will feel adoration of silence. This is the peace that seems to elude so many.”
Deng Ming-Dao: 365 Tao Daily Meditations, 261 (Harper Collins, 1992)
There is no true silence while we breathe, while our heart beats, while the wind blows, the waves break, the rain falls, and while the planets continue their orbital arcs.
What we seek, first of all, is to begin to notice and hear those things above the din of our own thoughts. It can be very hard to step into that quietude where our minds are stilled, our anxieties subdued, and our imaginations placed on hold.
And it seems to me that the need to seek out silence is still greater for those of us who are musicians and piano teachers. For so much of our time, we are intently focussed on sound.
Silence – the absence of sound – offers us a very special opportunity to switch off from our working lives and often noisy headspace.
And we can find silence without travelling far!
Whether by stepping outdoors for a few minutes in the middle of a busy day, or by closing the door, unplugging the technology and committing a short time to mindfulness practice, stillness can be found, and is waiting – free for all.
Returning, we can pay closer attention to sounds, whether attending a person with more care as they speak to us, or listening to fresh notes emerging from the piano.
Silence is the antidote to our busy lives…
It fortifies and nourishes our souls.
We find in the eye of the storm the replenishment that we need, the inner treasure that will allow us to return to our busy lives feeling alert and refreshed.
“Once you find deep solitude and calm, there will be a great gladness in your heart. Here finally is the place where you need neither defence nor offence – the place where you can truly be open. There will be bliss, wonder, the awe of attaining something pure and sacred.”
I urge you then, to seek silence for a short time every day throughout this coming week, and to consider the difference it makes to you!
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