02005-08-28 | Uncategorized | 15 comments

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…


  1. Jorge

    This post has been removed by the author.

  2. Loteus

    Great update, sounds like loads of fun and I love the picture of you and Roshi. Keep that – you two look marvelous.

  3. Jorge

    I didn’t know you are a smoker. I am very surprised.

  4. Ottmar

    I don’ t mind smokers and never have. But, you are jumping to a conclusion. Do you see me smoke? But, and this is even more interesting… what difference would it make, if I did?

  5. salma

    It seems like a very productive weekend, busy but fun!
    The concert at Zendo seems so intimate and I am not surprised that you enjoyed playing in that setting. I am sure you were very inspired. Hopefully some songs from that evening will be available on the Listening Lounge.
    Ottmar, thanks for updating us about everything.

  6. Adam Solomon

    Hmmm….I don’t see how he jumped to that conclusion either…

    Fascinating post–and I love that picture!! The expression on your face is priceless–it gives me the impression that now you know how a ‘Menco feels when they meet you! :) Interesting what he’s trying to do with Israel…I’d love to see what happens with that.

    Was it just you performing, by the way, or did you have any of the rest of the band playing with you?

    I really like the idea of people asking questions in one form or another during intermission/before show, by the way, and it would indeed me very nice to see you talk a bit more during the show. You’re very minimalistic with the talking, of course, usually a little speech before finishing off the first set, then introducing the band before ending the second. At rock shows, I’ve always found stage banter and talking to be great in between songs (a jam or talking between each song is a lot more interesting than just playing one song after another, no?), but I don’t know how much “stage banter” would befit an OL+LN show…haha. But more talking, maybe once or twice more during a show, would certainly be nice :)

  7. Adam Solomon

    And word verification–way to crack down on those spammers!

  8. Eno

    the scariest thing in life is also the most exhilerating. letting go.

    what’s interesting to me is how people (including myself) define that moment…or moments.

    for me it’s been letting go of myself to simply be myself. the me that is the whole me not the part of. with practice and the right attitude it can be the most enjoyable experience in life!

  9. Jorge

    No, I don’t see you smoke. And I did think that maybe it’s not your cigarette and lighter. That maybe you sat in someone else’s chair to get the picture. I figured if it wasn’t yours you would say so. And you haven’t. As far as the difference it makes, it makes none. The act of smoking would not change my opinion of your art or of you as a person. I just thought you were a very heath-conscious person and it didn’t seem to fit. The idea seems to bother you more than me.

  10. Ottmar

    I figured if it wasn’t yours you would say so.That makes it two assumptions.

  11. Loteus

    I think Ottmar is smokin’ – cigarette or no cigarette. :-p

  12. Eno

    …in some form anyway…

  13. Victor

    Sounds like a great weekend – Big Mind and Ottmar solo!

    From having watched the Big Mind DVD I can say that it is truly a unique experience in shifting perspective! I hope others will give it a try. Of course, sitting there with Genpo facilitating might be even better!

  14. Jorge

    OK two assumptions, whatever. Three if you count the “I thought you were health-conscious” line.

  15. v2or

    Hi I think you have a wonderfull idea about how to connect with your audiance. I have done some seminars and lectures and what we did was pass our small index cards and told the folks to write down theire question and then we would pick the good ones and share with the audiance after the main lectre so we would not get side tracked. I think I would be wonderufll to connect with the fans this way and let us in on maybe how some of the songs are created, what you were maybe thinking and feelings as well as some of your views on life. just a thoght. v


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