Centre For Creative Aspiration, Atlanta.
The Level Three is underway.
The breakfast room, when I entered at 08.05, was quiet, and silence approached. Something like, quiet met silence half-way; quiet acknowledged the primacy of silence; and gave silence permission to speak.
Silence is a very high frequency range, outside the audible range of our physical hearing, but quite tangible. The question, for anyone seeking to acquire a discipline, is how to take advantage of a moment when silence speaks? How do we listen to silence?
In Guitar Craft, a good beginning approach is to bring our attention to part of the body and strengthen our sense of the presence of life within that part of this human animal that we inhabit. This quality, of direct contact with the livingness of being alive, is not a thinking that we are alive. It is a knowing that we are alive by directly contacting the life within us. I have known cerebral people, good people, who had little contact with their bodies: the focus of their experiencing of living was mental. Better to be aware that we are alive; then, we'll know when we have died.
There is a great benevolence available within silence, a healing power. May we take advantage of what is freely available when it walks up, presents itself to us on a plate, and hopes that we accept the gift that is on offer.
At 08.27 I was aware that the course had begun two minutes earlier - the Course had chosen not to wait for the formal Inaugural Meeting this evening - and, acknowledging that this was so, at 08.28 Curt formally declared that the Level Three, the first for a long time in the United States, is underway.
And since the course had begun, one of the Team, who I had noticed in a guitar meeting yesterday, was invited to present to us the operation of their right hand. This particular hand operation was probably fine for pulling the wings off flies or other small flying creatures; perhaps even holding a pecker; but only marginally more effective for playing a guitar than striking the strings with an over-ripe banana, peeled.
Now, beneath the floor of my second-floor (US) room in the Palazzo Rushin, the sound of guitars. Curt is sharing the joy.
22.33 Inaugural Meeting at 21.00. The Team presented themselves, stating who they are, where they come from, what brought them here, their aim for the course, and a little history of their course attendances.
My own interest in being here is to support the beginning of the Level Three. Curt asked me to write an introduction or presentation to be read at the Inaugural Meeting, as on occasion in the past. This didn't resonate for this particular course. And there are several exercises to be introduced that are, properly, only presented in person. Currently, best that I present them. These address the beginning construction of an interior architecture.
It is very easy to believe, as small people well aware of their insignificance in the larger scheme of things, that we have no contribution of value to make to the world; and that the little that we do is without effect, particularly in these strange & uncertain times. This is, however, quite untrue. It is a lie of The Great Deceiver we are told, the monarch of this world; the instructions are to hold us to the earth, that we might serve its purposes. Heaven, under this scenario, can wait or take care of itself.
The little that we can do, in honouring our personal aim within this course, is global for us as individuals. As part of the course, this makes a contribution to the course as a whole: my work supports the work of others, as their work supports mine. This Level Three acts as a focal point & energy generator for Guitar Craft, Crafties & Guitar Circles around the world, and provides an energy that is available for them to contact, draw upon, and to use in their own work. This work, in turn, then becomes reciprocally available to the Level Three.
Guitar Craft is building a small room within the creative world. The room with Guitar Craft on the door is small, but it is part of a larger house and has its own distinct contribution to make. The constuction blueprint is available, the materials given, all we have to do is build the room.
Probably, we can never & will never see the full repercussions from any action we undertake. But, acting rightly, we may trust that those repercussions have rightness.
In 1974, seeing that the world was mad, I despaired. Sherborne House gave me faith that something was possible, even in a crazy world. Today, the world looks as mad as it did in 1974 to the extent that --
a reasonable person might despair. but hope is unreasonable; and love is greater than this.
Now, my response is rather different to that of a young guitarist some 30 years ago: I persist in good faith.
Earlier today: this morning Rob took Glenn & myself to a CompUSA, then an Apple store, to acquire new software that this mature beast of a G4 might enter a new age of re-discovered youth.
When the hard-drive crashed, the question presented itself: how to turn this seeming disadvantage to an advantage? Well, clearly an opportunity to begin again, again. The collapsed 20-gig HD is now replaced by an 80-gig HD, formerly the object of some drooling on my behalf. My i-Tunes music library was taking up half of the 20 gig, even before i-Photo began to fill. My attitude & approach to computing is now refreshed and, while not a nerd of consequence, I am better able to look over the shoulders of those that are.
After lunch, a meeting with Curt, Debra & Tony. Many interesting & arising matters. Then to loading new software.
At dinner, good questions were asked beginning with -- in the past three days I have had a lot of energy. What do I do with more energy?
This is a large subject, and is more fully addressed at Stage Four: observing where we lose energy & plugging energy leaks; and Stage Five: generating energy & accessing available energy sources. But briefly, a rush of energy is rather like an eruption of water pouring downhill: it moves through established courses. So, a twitchy kind of person is likely to become more twitchy; a cerebrally-oriented person will have lots of really interesting ideas; an emotional person may gush with feelings; and a physically-centred person run for miles.
What we might do for now, if we find ourselves energised, is to set ourselves a task that we cannot discharge automatically. Perhaps, a division of attention exercise, or cleaning a bathroom.
Within a GC course, we are geographically focused & centred: the external world is kept, relatively, at bay. There are less immediate distractions from those who seek to attract our attention. For example, the opportunities at news kiosks to become absorbed in the affairs of the world, and for the eyes of young men (of whatever age) to fall upon the cover of Hot Babes. Notice the outflow of energy through the eyes.
So, within the defined boundaries of the course (physical & otherwise) there is a concentration of available energy that is, in any case, likely to increase. There is also something made available from Guitar Craft, and from those sending goodwill to the course & its participants from around the world.
But now, tired.