Seeing with new ears

“I cannot solve the problem of life by losing myself in the problem of art”.
—Tina Modotti (1896-1942)

“Okay, now I’m gonna roll tape, and you can do it with feeling.”

Okay, seriously, this is one of the single best new pieces of instrumental music I’ve listened to in months (it’s actually been up on youtube for a year and a half!).

I put it on continuous loop with silence breaks of various random lengths, and played it on-&-off all day, and I found that it made an equally beguiling and energetically enhancing sound-track for virtually all the day’s activities: showering, asanas (though I never play music when doing yoga, per original purpose & profound effectiveness of Vedic yoga, not all that calisthenic modern American studio-style “yoga” with non-Vedic soundtrack “music” all those lovely x-cardio workout gym queens love to slather everyone’s ears with; but today I thought, why not? Let’s see what this totally whack sax-&-drum piece goes well with, today, for me)….

And with morning & evening meditation sessions & a few other silent or slower/quieter breaks aside,—I found it was great for showering; asanas; sweeping the floor; sorting laundry; boiling/steeping tea, boiling/steaming rice & chopping, stirring curried veg, drinking tea & eating rice & veg; washing dishes; driving to studio/office; sketching and painting; answering typical concerned-but-repetitive student email questions; dancing a little in total privacy; taking a walk around the lake…. Ordinarily, I strictly follow the wisdom of not dividing the attention by playing music when doing anything but listening to music, but today I made a fun exception.

Le seul véritable voyage….ce ne serait pas d’aller vers de nouveaux paysages, mais d’avoir d’autres yeux…
[The only true voyage… would be not to go to new landscapes, but to have
other eyes.]
—Marcel Proust (1871-1922)
‘La Prisonnière’ (published 1923),
À la recherche du temps perdu vol 5 ch 2

One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.
—Henry Miller (1891-1980)
Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch (1957)

“The famous line is from Proust’s seven-volume work, À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past -or- In Search of Lost Time). The quotation is from volume 5—’La Prisonnière’, “The Prisoner”—originally published in French, in 1923.

In chapter 2 of “The Prisoner,” the narrator is commenting at length on art, rather than travel. Listening for the first time to a new work by a composer he knows, he finds himself transported not to a physical location, but to a wonderful “strange land” of the composer’s own making. “Each artist,” he decides, “seems thus to be the native of an unknown country, which he himself has forgotten. . . .” These artists include composers and painters he knows. He continues:

“This lost country composers do not actually remember, but each of them remains all his life somehow attuned to it; he is wild with joy when he is singing the airs of his native land, betrays it at times in his thirst for fame, but then, in seeking fame, turns his back upon it, and it is only when he despises it that he finds it when he utters, whatever the subject with which he is dealing, that peculiar strain the monotony of which—for whatever its subject it remains identical in itself—proves the permanence of the elements that compose his soul. But is it not the fact then that from those elements, all the real residuum which we are obliged to keep to ourselves, which cannot be transmitted in talk, even by friend to friend, by master to disciple, by lover to mistress, that ineffable something which makes a difference in quality between what each of us has felt and what he is obliged to leave behind at the threshold of the phrases in which he can communicate with his fellows only by limiting himself to external points common to us all and of no interest, art, the art…makes the man himself apparent, rendering externally visible in the colours of the spectrum that intimate composition of those worlds which we call individual persons and which, without the aid of art, we should never know?

“A pair of wings, a different mode of breathing, which would enable us to travel through infinite space, would in no way help us, for if we visited Mars or Venus while keeping the same senses, they would clothe in the same aspect as the things of Earth everything that we should be capable of seeing.

“The only true voyage of discovery, the only bath in the fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is; and this we do, with great artists; with artists like these we really fly from star to star.”

~ ~ ~

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.                                         —Jesus Christ

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.    
—William Blake (1757-1827) English mystic poet and artist

An individual can only perceive others, can only perceive the world, can only assess the value of reality, according to the quality and expansiveness, the comprehensive inclusiveness, of his own consciousness. We see the world only according to the quality of what we ourselves are, our own experience of being, our own state of consciousness.                                                                                                          —His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (c1917-2008)

As a man is, So he Sees.                                                                                                                    —William Blake (1757-1827)

Reality is structured in consciousness; and reality is different in different states of consciousness.                                                                                                        —His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (c1917-2008)



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