Wednesday 29 July 2009

Monasterio Nuestra Señora De Los Angeles / Monjas Dominicas


Monasterio Nuestra Señora De Los Angeles / Monjas Dominicas
Mare de Deu del Roser, 2.
Sant Cugat (08174),

Rising at 07.20.

Morning sitting at 08.30.

Breakfast at 09.00. Work for the morning announced:

Hernan is working with The LCG;
Martin is working with The ESP Performance Team;
Paolo is working with the Support Team.

10.25      A connection-exercise to England.

11.49       A personal meeting appeared unannounced at 11.00 by my door, in response to the question at breakfast: what is required of me?

14.06      T’ai Chi at 12.30. Lunch at 13.00.

Meeting with Hernan to discuss various arisings amd plans for future approaches.

14.31       Toyah has just called from Seattle. Beric flew away at 10.23 this morning. Barbara and Nicola’s husband, Frank, sat with Beric through the night.

14.50      On the board…


Four Questions From A Crafty

First Question

Is there a book title on plugging energy holes? 


Somewhere, somewhere, there may be.  Until then, a pretty good guide is the aphorism: honour necessity, honour sufficiency.

A second useful aphorism…

the necessary is possible;
the optional is expensive;
the arbitrary is unlikely.

This gives us actions that are necessary and unnecessary, intentional / volitional and unintentional / non-volitional, all discharged either efficiently and/or inefficiently.

doing things we need to do, efficiently;
doing things we need to do, inefficiently; 

doing things we want to do, efficiently;
doing things we want to do, inefficiently.

doing things we don’t need or want to do, efficiently;
doing things we don’t need or want to do, inefficiently;

Doing things we don’t need to do, and not wanting to do so either, falls under the heading of compulsive behaviour; and/or habits so deeply entrenched that we have no volitional capacity to change or modify them. These are personal triggers or mechanisms that we have no ability to control; rather, they control us.


In Discipline & The Act Of Music we have this…

Craft Techniques:
practising the person
doing nothing
die that ye might be born
letting go of bad habits
acquiring good habits
the new Crafty
doing something efficiently
being someone efficient
being where we are

Below an excerpt from my notes; with the provisos that:

these were not written to be read, but presented in person;
within that context, responses might be tailored to address particular questions from the audience;
the notes only touch on the outline of a practice;
are ongoing & developing, not a final presentation;
developing a practice, or discipline, requires an instructor; or, if we are fortunate, a teacher.

But, reservations aside, sometimes it is useful to speak roughly and present the gist of what is involved; and leave the details to when a practice is underway and becoming established; at which point what might otherwise be a series of formulations, propositions and/or statements perhaps have practical value.

die that ye might be born

This second larger stage of the process is where we address the energy supply.


i                 quantity of energy

Energy is required for each of the instruments (the hands, the head and the heart) to function. A discipline addresses right use of energy; that is, the quantity, quality and intensity of the energy supply; and how it is used: taken together, the economy and ecology of the energy supply.

The quantity of energy:

how much is naturally available;
how much is necessarily used on specific tasks;
the acquisition or generation of more energy when and where needed;
wasteful and expensive habits;
plugging leaks.

The key injunction:

honour necessity;
honour sufficiency.

ii               quality of energy

There are different kinds of functioning. There are also different qualities of energy.

Traditionally, a discipline differentiates between four qualities of working, of functioning, with which we need to become familiar; we learn to recognise when these qualities of working are present.

The four qualities of working are sometimes called the automatic, sensitive, conscious and creative.

iii              intensity of energy

This is governed by intention.

Intention defines the boundaries and contains the action or task that is being undertaken.

Define the space;
organize the space;
protect the space;
hold the space.

iv              subtleties

When we begin to experience the materiality of thought and the tangible effect of feelings, as if they were material actions (and on their level, they are), more subtle work can begin for us. We begin to address the distinct qualities of the energy available to us.

We can’t do this through books, although books are useful when we know the way. The aphorism here is: signposts are useful when we know where we’re going. This implies that some books are written for those who already know their direction. They may also be written as a flag to wave to anyone who might be attracted to or interested in that direction. If we are interested, but don’t know, the next step is to find someone who does:

firstly, we are ignorant;
secondly, we know we are ignorant;
thirdly, we acknowledge our ignorance;
fourthly, we move to address our ignorance.

We find someone who has been there before.

letting go of bad habits


i              The automatic world is the world of habitual responses, of mechanical activity.

Briefly, we have good habits and “bad” habits.

“Good” habits are efficient. An efficient energy economy makes it more likely that we can achieve in our lifetime what is possible for us. That is, our lives may serve the purpose for which we were born.

“Bad” habits, in this context, waste energy. Having “bad” habits does not necessarily imply that we are a “bad person”, nor unworthy, nor immoral, nor nasty, nor that we torment small animals. It means that we are at risk of failing to meet our life potential. This is a quiet tragedy but, more usefully, it is alarming.

A discipline aims to make our habitual responses efficient. Our mechanical and automatic processes are conditioned, or programmed, through training. When our functions operate efficiently, we need invest little attention and energy in the activity of our functions. Our volitional attention is then freed to supervise the task in hand, which includes holding an overview of the three functions; that is, the operation of the three instruments, working individually and together.

ii               The different parts of the body, working mechanically, lock each other into the same habitual pattern; eg the hand-mouth lock; the frown-hand lock.

Almost all our activity in the everyday world can be conducted by the body on automatic, without reference to thinking or feeling. This is both impressive and terrifying.


iii              The feelings on automatic: like and dislike; prejudice.

iv               The head on automatic: idée fixe.

v              The three instruments work together automatically, each triggering the other/s in a series of mechanical operations, all of which are related to the past.

If we wish to see where we are, where we live, our station, our normal centre of gravity - change the tempo of any habitual operation / function.

iv              freeing energy / blocked energy.

The release of energy locked in physical, psychological and emotional patterns. Most of these are a result of inappropriate experiences in early family life, and formal education.

Blind spot.
Stage fright. Who is afraid?

(On the course, in Sant Cugat July 3-11th. 2009, the term resistances appeared several times in comments and observations).

v               plugging leaks

Reacting takes energy.

Internal and external patterns reinforce each other as internal-reacting moves outwards to behaviour and into the social environment, causing repercussions.

Anger. Expressing anger; cf the American and English approaches.
Unnecessary talking: motor-mouth & the talking machine.
Daydreaming, fantasy.
Worshipping at the shrine of St. Onan.
Fidgeting and twitching: boobyism.

These are wasteful, destructive and spoil our lives.

Attracted attention - energy is sucked out of us; eg at newstands.

Hostility and ill-will:    an inevitable consequence of public life.


Fidgeting and restrained breathing is met by relaxation.
Anger is met by the cultivation of goodwill and compassion.
The whirring of mechanical or monkey mind is met by “stilling the mind”.

Those with a background in meditation, or a sitting practice, are aware that the mind is never still. However, our attention need not be where the mind whirrs away – in the Basement.

Our associational thinking never stops while we are alive. It is always running in the Basement: this is necessary.

But, it is not necessary to sit with it.

vi              once-centred working.

Different parts of one centre affects the other parts of that centre;


one part of the body has effect on other parts of the body:
Les Bouches de Paris.
The playing-faster mouth: mouth-hand lock.
Hand-eye lock.
Hand-frown lock.
Behavioural link: clean sheets and tidy.
How we live our life is how we practise our guitar; and the corollary.



the heart:
Anger and holding goodwill.


the head:
Whirring mind: holding an image; intentional mental exercises.

vii            two- & three-centred working:

Work on one centre affects the working of the other centres.
When one centre loosens up, the other centres loosen up in response.
So, we enlist the aid of two centres to act on the third.

Physical habits: the wish to change, and the information held in front of us in what to do, while physically relaxing.

Emotional habits: dislike or anger. These are harder to maintain when we hold a relaxed physical state, a picture of someone we love or a sacred image, while cultivating a feeling of goodwill.

Monkey-mind: the whirring of mechanical mind. We set the mind a particular task, while holding a relaxed, present physical state, and cultivating a sense of goodwill.

viii           shock:

external shock. Learn to use it. Turn it around.

But we can’t rely upon it.

Opportunities: A crying baby. Someone who irritates us. Traffic noise - a horn. 

internal shock. Challenge. A pointed stick. We create our own shock by setting ourself a challenge.

Lower levels of functioning are best addressed by:

A small, repeated or ongoing challenge.
A series of small, varied challenges; eg what is possible + 10%.
Hair shirt.

Higher levels of functioning are better addressed by a large challenge, one that can only be addressed by a change in state.

ix              drugs

The human instrument has in-built protection devices for when downloads from a “higher” world (a world where the information content is greater, faster, and more intense) takes place, when our receiving is in a lower state. We pass out, for example.

The degree to which we are able to manage information downloads is governed by our being. Some drugs open doors to quality information files, but they also suspend our capacity to close the doors when the download is too great, or the light is too bright, or the experience too intense to be borne and absorbed.

An established practice prepares us psychologically, emotionally and physically for times of high information-download. Otherwise, perhaps our system crashes. In serious cases, default programmes don’t reactivate. Re-booting loses a lot of information and time. In the human system, when fuses blow they may be irreplaceable.

Drugs are incompatible with a personal discipline. I have met many who contest this statement. I have met no-one, with an established personal discipline, who contests this statement.

x               the great divide

Experientially, the period of letting go of bad habits, before there are good habits to take their place, lasts forever plus a year.

Acquiring good habits

i                 Craft information is needed. A teacher or instructor. Otherwise, we’ll replace bad habits by other bad habits. The joke:

I was taught by a fool who didn’t know what they were talking about.
Who was that?
I’m self-taught.

Life is too short to learn only from our own mistakes.

We aim to establish an efficient practice where nothing is wasted. There is no end to this.
Our practice is progressively refined.

ii               exercises


Relaxation. Development of bodily stillness in repose and motion.
Moving while maintaining a sense of our personal presence.
Independence of the hands, the eye and the mouth.

Effortless effort: our energies begin to cohere.


“Stilling the mind”.
Counting and playing.
Image-formation and pattern-holding.
Seeing integrally: this confers a sense and expansion of the present moment.


Cultivation of accepting, compassionate goodwill.

Balanced functioning:

seeing a process through to its completion involvers all centres.

Other exercises:

Division of Attention.
Assumption of Virtue.
Job Of The Day.
Exercise of Qualitative Endeavour: we set ourself to do one small thing, superbly.
The principle is: a quality is ungovernable by number.
So, a small act of quality is as large as a large act of quality;
eg the Widow’s Mite.
Play: develops spontaneity.


iii              generating energy

a) Intentional work:

The higher acts upon the lower to activate the middle.

Where we honourably complete an intentional piece of work, energy is released from that work; perhaps to be sent to the bank accounts of others.

We confront habitual behaviour with a demand. This creates a friction, a tension, from which a kind of “heat” is released. Part of this “heat” is available to us as a form of payment. We may then put this in the bank, invest it for the future, have a party, or throw it out the window.

b) There are also specific exercises and practices to this end; eg.

breathing exercises.

iv              accessing energy

There are places and people who are reservoirs of energy, if we know the places, if we know the people.

16.05      Centering and sending good wishes on the hour, I feel something very good is happening; the sense of rightness.

16.08      Cars are being loaded. Encircling is beginning in the support team.

Departures upcoming.

16.58      The SergyMobile is waiting…

Front door call for 17.15

00.39    Punctual departure I…



Dressing Room of the English Star…

Solar Voyager I…


… with programming updates, of a kind.

Soundcheck: The LCG  I…


The Guitar Circle of Europe I…



Major re-programming of the midi on the Solar Voyager, immediately prior to a show, was a mistake: it didn’t allow for the possibility that the whole system would be upset. It was. I lost 95% control of the rig, eventually walking onstage without even one reliable programme.  As a result, there was no introductory SoundSculpture; the arrived-audience kept waiting for 25 minute; The GCE became part of the performance, rather than part of the play-in.

Overall, the evening was a triumph for The Guitar Circle of Europe. An uneven show for The LCG but with high-spots. Low-spots: the Circulation was awful; this LCG can’t circulate. The inclusion of Flying in the set-list didn’t work: it was played too slow, and was too down a mood for the sequence of sound-flow. We lost the audience at this point, the largest audience of the series so far. This contributed a lot more energy in the room; which had to be moved, shaped and contained: we couldn’t rely on the goodwill of the audience alone. So, not quite crowd control, but certainly shaping the audience-energy. We lost them in places, but won them back at the end.

The sound of leads being plugged in- and out-, very loudly in the house, despite repeated rehearsing, continued. I am very forgiving, even accepting, of performance mistakes. The sound of a lead being plugged in / out indicates: this person is asleep on their feet and should not be standing on a professional stage. Also problems walking onstage and timing.

My assumption is, the audience know this is an amateur operation presented in a professional context, and is forgiving. Tonight, we needed forgiving for many things, and my own contribution was significant.

Subjectively, an awful evening.

None of this has any relevance to the overall performance event: something happened which would not otherwise have happened; it went better than we deserved; it was unique; it was a multiplicity of performances; the possible was challenging; the impossible was available.

Returning to the monastery…