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The first time I ever sat down to play the piano again – after years of not playing, and after beginning on my journey of exploring spirituality, yoga, and qigong – I experienced playing the music in a way I’d never felt before. It was the first time I had played since I became sensitized to feeling qi/prana.
Being someone prone to perfectionism, I had always been more mechanical in my music playing. My focus was on the notes, the timing, the tone – always making sure that everything was ‘right’.
This time when I played, I felt the music. I felt the vibration and the energy of it, and I felt how my own energies were affected by what I was playing.
I didn’t pay any attention to the timing or all the other details that usually clouded my mind. Instead, I simply surrendered myself to the feeling and played the song as it should have been played – as it felt right to me. I’ve never played a song so effortlessly or passionately before.
William Hazlitt’s words here reminded me of that experience. Both the quote and the experience itself, I think, are great examples of the zen concept of ‘no-mind’ – a state of spontaneity where initiation of action is taken before thought has a chance to rise up with its bothersome intellectualization.