Spoken notes for a piano presentation 6/4/2011:
The Western world for the last several centuries has been dominated by very left-brain thinking, in which everything has to be ‘figured out’ and put into its proper pigeon-hole, whether that be our world, each other, God, or even ourselves. But as useful as the left-brain and its simplistic categories can be, it isn’t the only way to approach Life. The Contemplative/Mystical tradition of all religions reminds us that there is also a compassionate, holistic, non-judgmental Path as well.
Consider this flower. Right away I’ve already categorized it: it’s a “flower”. Maybe it’s even a “pink flower”. And I could stop there and hurry home to the next episode of “Dancing with the Stars”. But consider: in all the universe, for all time, there will never be another flower exactly like this one. I play a note on the piano—and there will never be another exactly like it again.
And in all the universe, for all time, there will never be another you, or me, or anyone else.
It gets better! Everything comes into being, is here for a time, and then passes away. Like notes of music. Even the cells in your body are replaced about every seven years—we are all literally different people than we were seven years ago. The Greek Philosopher Heraclitus said “You can’t step into the same river twice.” But it’s much worse than that: you can’t even put the same foot into the same river twice!
Everything—every creature, every rock, every planet sun and star—like a piece of music—arises then passes away. Even this moment, this next breath—arises then passes away. [Take a big breath.]
So the Contemplative person takes time—makes time!—to remember the preciousness of each fleeting moment and everything and everyone in it. From that point of view it is natural to approach the world with compassion, with a kind of openness and vulnerability to the miracle of being alive in this magical universe.
That’s what we’re trying to do tonight. A lot of Art comes from this Contemplative Heart, hence the music I’ve chosen for this evening
Finally, please please please no applause! This is NOT “the William show!” I want us all to go on a journey, and applause will absolutely break the magic spell. So as each piece ends, let it reverberate in our psyches for a moment, before I take another breath, and begin the next.