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Ron Bracale's Music
... Improvisation: Bliss and Ecstasy ...


    One is Consciousness, luminous awareness. One's thinking mind may be like a noisy-houseguest or like a household member. A noisy houseguest mind is heard chattering away in self-absorption, but hides from one's conscious awareness by claiming to be the self, the 'I'. A household-member mind contributes without the need to be seen, for one's awareness is conscious of the contribution. Playing Shakuhachi (and other fretless instrument) improvisation requires the clear-mind of the household-member offering help and advice synchronistically without seeking recognition. If one seeks to improvise with the thinking mind as the noisy-houseguest, one will be regurgitating what is known in modified form and with clever variation, but not embodying spontaneous creativity. If one is improvising with the clear mind as a household-member, one will be open and the essence of Consciousness will be receiving true creativity by harmonizing with the Mystery and the clear mind will assist with the manifestation of the art music.

    As an example if one is improvising in the Dorian mode, the clear mind has a framework to assist with the manifestation of the music, but is not determining the path by preconceived notions, allowing one to be totally present in the creative experience. If one plays Ro, Tsu Chu Meri, Re (S R m; root, second, forth) and then flows naturally with a tri-tone to Tsu, Chi Meri, Re (g M m; minor third, flatted fifth, forth). The clear mind provides the way by hearing the interval of the minor third (Tsu chu meri to Re) and follows with the minor third of the tri-tone series from Tsu to Chi meri also utilizing the fact that a half step between Tsu chu meri and Tsu is a natural movement. The clear mind as a household-member is not heard speaking any of these thoughts, but is silent and listening and is naturally facilitating the flow in the background. The thinking mind may be trained to be quick enough to recall this as a plan, but that would not allow for the spontaneity of what comes next, always racing to interject what has been previous learned, rather than allowing for the new to freely enter the expression. What would one play next? Would one stay into this mode as an expanded Dorian or travel into a Blue mode enhanced by Dorian flavors or go in many other potential directions? The thinking mind can come up with answers, but the clear mind can be ready to assist as Consciousness receives the flow from the Mystery to express the feelings radiating form one's being as improvisational art.

    The Feel is the expression of the player when creatively expressing the feelings which the player is holding with clear mind. Feelings are a higher dimension of being than thinking. Improvisation is the art of stabilizing one's feelings to a specific set of emotions, a pure Rasa, with deep and rich qualities and holding those qualities within one's Consciousness as the primary experience, while the playing is a secondary level of being guided by the clear mind. Feeling one's emotional state and honoring it with conscious acknowledgement requires refinement embodying a meditative state of total awareness. The thinking mind's noisy-houseguest mode would interfere with Consciousness' total absorption in the present instant. The household-servant clear mind allows the transmission of improvisational art and accepts the vulnerability of being totally revealed, humble and empowered by holding a pure Rasa worthy of transmission.

    Improvisation is meditation flowing as a verb: being totally present in the continually transforming present instant. Meditation can take two pathways: Yin and Yang (In to Yo), Bliss and Ecstasy. Bliss meditation is peaceful receiving of the Universal Sentient Mystery which enters one and dissolves one in the Bliss of one's own Sacred Mystery. Ecstasy meditation is the intensity of becoming the channel of transmission for the Universal Consciousness' spirit of creativity through merging one's personal Consciousness in a greater unity. Bliss meditation connects one to one's astral dream form and is the receiving of healing energy through inner peace and serenity. Ecstasy meditation connects one to one's luminous energy body and is the revealing of healing connection through intense lucidity. In the place where Bliss and Ecstasy touch and merge in active union there is only pure ever transforming experience. Magical improvisation occurs where the Bless and the Ecstasy touch and experientially transcends these words.

    One may say sacred receptivity potentiates divine creativity, yet divine creativity unlocks and opens sacred receptivity. One might say Bliss potentiates Ecstasy, yet Ecstasy also impassions Bliss in a spiraling resonance. The Bliss touches Ecstasy and the Ecstasy touches Bliss and there is only the unity of touching. There are no nouns, only the ever transforming experiential one song unfolding from the inextricable into the ever-changing manifest present touch of Consciousness and the Mystery. The listening mind recalls the notes that have gone past and creates the song from the expression of present tones embraced by the infinite silence of the clear mind's constant awareness. The living improvisation is continually dancing on the present edge of time. The nature of the harmonic sequence and the implicate order underlying the natural phenomena of sound are held by the well trained clear mind and the reception of the present current of energy is communicated in the unfolding of the Explicate Order of the improvisation.

    One might contemplate the nature of the Implicate Order of sound and the implications for the Explicate process of musical creation. The Explicate Order of manifesting music is an ever evolving stream that runs parallel to human evolution, therefore we might view some of the flow through time to gain insight into the sacred Mystery of the Implicate Order which holds much greater potential than we can imagine. Pardon my simplification in this summary and focus on the essence of what I am expressing. Music began as people listened closely to sounds they could produce, through the voice and through interactions with natural elements. Tuned flutes have been recovered from forty to fifty thousand years ago and so music is implicit in human activity. No bamboo or cane would have survived that long, nor drums with hides, so the origins are much more ancient. The deep history is lost but people listening heard pure intonation. In the last thousand or two years as instruments became more complex and had more octaves, tuning became a mental process and the paradox of the mismatch of tuning across octaves and fifths became a focus of many different schemes. During the European classical era many comma systems were employed to allow that musical expression. In the last century the first tuners allowed for Twelve Tone Equal temperament and the musical expression became Jazz, Chromaticism, and Zen Harmonic tunings. The underlying essence of the harmonic intervals of sound inherent in the Implicate now may allow us to truly transcend and take Pure or Just Temperament away from a root limitation and into a natural interval based harmonic music.

    The Shakuhachi is hollow bamboo receiving breath and transmitting sacred, divine song. Clear mind is the when the noisy guest of the thinking mind surrenders to become the servant of the host, the One Song. In Shakuhachi improvisation one experiences the Sacred Bliss of the receptivity of the synchronistic grace of the Sentient Mystery of the Implicate Order of the harmonic intervals of the One Song. In Shakuhachi improvisation one experiences the Divine Ecstasy of the intent of the Consciousness of the Creative Spirit. In harmony with the One Song, the sound radiates through one's being, transmitting one's Rasa through one's breath, through the vibrating bamboo, and through the air to touch the spirit with unfathomable feelings and transmit a healing vitality and nurturing love. In Shakuhachi improvisation the boundary realm of explicate form is transcended and a resonance of the healing Implicate Unity is experienced. In the harmonic improvisational mode the dreamer merges with the dream as the musician merges with the pure music of creation.


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