On Stretching Out

Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 7:00:15 AM Eastern Standard Time

Words often do not suffice for me to adequately address feelings. This is especially true upon waking when in a not-entirely conscious state. In order to go from unconscious to conscious, the best path for me invariably requires some sort of musical expression. No, I do not mean listening to a piece of recorded music, nor do I mean sitting down and interpreting what some person has written or composed previously. And yes, I do not equate written and composed, for they are not entirely the same thing for me. And neither of them is the same as a spontaneous, extemporaneous outpouring of how one feels at that moment in time. And that can not be simply a snapshot, for it is an evolutional outpouring, not a static instantaneous depiction of a moment. It is a time-varying evolving series of snapshots integrated into a movie in the same manner our visual cortex integrates still images into the perception of movement, only better. 

The movement from unconscious to conscious is not like throwing a switch. It takes time to get there. And yes, it can be a short time, and most people are not in the habit of taking the time to breathe their way into being conscious. At least most modern Western people generally awaken to the call of an alarm clock. There is a lot of space between being unconscious and conscious, and I find it helpful to explore the blissful in-between state in a calibrating manner by staying in it a little longer. Sometimes as long as an hour or even longer.

There are many spiritual traditions that encourage practitioners to do this in a spiritual community called sangha, where they meditate together early in the morning before the crush of the day’s responsibilities come down on their shoulders. These groups can spend an hour or two in the morning getting in sync and collaboratively calibrated. 

I do it by playing a musical instrument. Or at least I should say when I do it, I use a musical instrument to explore the space between unconscious and conscious. Over the years, I have used many different instruments in many different ways to accomplish this and have found it to be a most useful way to enter the day. It brings me a kind of blissful, unhurried clarity, and sometimes some good music comes out of it as well, but most of the time, I do not capture this by recording, for even that act requires me to prematurely become conscious enough to record, as there are generally physical connections to be made and processes to be initiated. 

I suppose it would be possible to pre-connect everything the night before so I could just come to the capture process without needing to set anything up and wonder why I have not taken the time to do so.

Perhaps because I have not taken the time before today to concretely acknowledge the tremendous benefit of stretching out that period between being unconscious and conscious when you are on the way from one to the other?