I was blogging even as it happened, turning phrases over in my mind. This great gift of being able to communicate clearly is also a curse. My attention shifted between Vaughan Williams, sung by Richard Walshe, and myself and my reactions.
I had doubted it, but it seems true. One cannot be conscious and self-conscious; when I was self-monitoring, I was not listening, so in the moment I asked “Am I paying attention?” I made the answer No. I sit as I would in worship, to listen, to bathe in the music, and then notice how I am sitting for that purpose.
At least I am conscious of the self-monitoring. It is not as panicky as it once was, or as constant. Seeking stillness and presence, I achieve it more and more. There are moments when my attention is forced outwards: dancing is best for this, but sometimes conversation works. I pay full attention to the other person. Yet my concern is my own speech. I cleanse my mind for aftersight and foresight, and in the process dilute my perception of what is, now.
It was beautiful. I am hungry for such experiences of beauty. I forgot myself long enough to be moved to tears, and then noticed that and was pleased, and drew my attention to the music again. Perhaps I am hungry for the state of presence, sensing where I am in the moment, and hope that Beauty, outside myself, will take me to that state.
It was interesting to hear music I did not know from a composer whom I so love. In “Songs of Travel”, words by RLS, I was familiar enough with the conventions to supply the word “Hope” after “farewell to…” How strange that a man so young, only 32, should write so movingly of love and loss, I blogged. “A star had come down to me.” That is complete and perfect loss: no lover, no safety, no property: it seems peculiarly Scots to me, finding the strength to carry on without hope. Either Vaughan-Williams did not set all the verse, or Walshe did not sing the whole cycle. For my post, I read the verses page by page.
Where the old plain men have rosy faces, And the young fair maidens Quiet eyes;
I have heard that before. My father used to quote it, I think. Now I am just blogging.
I got this quote from John Welwood on One Spirit, and shared it on Facebook: Forget about enlightenment. Sit down wherever you are and listen to the wind that is singing in your veins. Feel the love, the longing, and the fear in your bones. Open your heart to who you are, right now, not who you would like to be. Not the saint you’re striving to become. But the being right here before you, inside you, around you. All of you is holy. You’re already more and less than whatever you can know. Breathe out, look in, let go.
H commented Or stop ‘trying’ and allow it to happen by itself. (Like the breath does). When I allow, sometimes I am in the beauty, conscious only of it; and sometimes I am self-monitoring.