This stage is my life (and yours). Only there are no rehearsals, and there is no dialog I can learn by heart. I may have various acting coaches that can inform my decisions, my dialog, my actions and my movement on this stage. But they are peripheral to my position on the stage. These teachers stand on the sidelines, while I am in the spotlight. And, unlike a movie which could theoretically last forever, my performance has a deadline called death.
The impermanence is the key, because it makes every moment and every decision I make on that stage (life) count. It makes the whole experience more precious. Just as a blossom that opens for a few hours only, seems so much more precious to us than a flower that blooms for months at a time.
The teacher can only point at the moon – if we stare at his/her finger instead of finding the moon not much can be done… except to try again, and again.
I had a great weekend. On Friday I met Genpo Roshi and a couple of friends for lunch at Maria’s. From there we went to Temple Beth Shalom, where he gave a quick demonstration of the Big Mind process, which he is offering to facilitate in Israel in order to improve the dialog between Israel and Palestine. Watching Roshi facilitate the Big Mind process is especially fun when one can observe people who are skeptical or resist the idea, because in the end everyone gets it… From the temple I took Roshi to my acupuncturist and then about five of us ended up at my house with me trying to throw a quick dinner together before Roshi went to Upaya for the first part of the workshop.
On Saturday I attended the Big Mind workshop at Upaya, which I enjoyed very much.
At lunch-time I rushed home to practice guitar before returning to Upaya for the afternoon workshop. In the evening I took Roshi and a couple of friends to Andiamo, another local restaurant I like.
After that we drove back to Upaya and I played guitar in the Zendo, which was a rare treat for me. No microphones, no speakers, no stage – just a guitar, myself and around 60 people sitting on the floor, listening. I played 6 or 7 songs, including Silence: No More Longing of course. I also played a Solea Por Bulerias (from Winter Rose), Snakecharmer, a new Buleria, and Santa Fe among others. Then I asked whether anybody had questions and we talked for about half an hour before I ended with Bombay. The encore was a medley consisting of Querencia, Spring Rain and a little improvisation.
Of course there is no way to do something like this on a large stage, but I started thinking about the dialog with the audience. Two things came to mind: I have never enjoyed talking during my shows, claiming that it was difficult to switch between music-mind and talking-mind… that much is true, but I suspect it shows my own inability to switch perspectives and that is something that I should be able to learn to do. If I can switch between little self and Big Mind I can switch between music and talking. The other thing that came to mind was that one could facilitate a dialog with our audience as follows: have a whole lot of little index cards at our merch table and encourage people to write down any questions they might have for me – this would be encouraged by the folks at the merch table and I could mention it before the intermission as well… during the second half of the show I could select two or three of the indexcards/questions and could answer them between songs…
After my concert the roshis (Genpo Roshi and Joan Halifax Roshi) and three friends ended up in my kitchen again for drinks and talking. I sat on the kitchen counter top, because I don’t have enough chairs (note to self!!) and had a wonderful time listening to my guests. Joan Halifax Roshi is a truly captivating person. I encouraged her to start a blog, because she travels so much and in November will be a panelist at the Investigating the Mind 2005 conference with the Dalai Lama – you can ask him a question for that conference HERE. She could blog straight from her Blackberry, which would be fascinating…