29th May 2020
This is my first blog/ruminations/thoughts on this web page.
It has taken me a very long time to even feel ok about doing such a thing, as I’ve tended to subconsciously think that the inner spiritual world , creative life and the presenting oneself professionally into the outer physical world have lines of separation.
Even when intellectually I believe differently and in my inner processes they seem naturally mostly integrated, when thinking about presenting the entire inner process along with the creations ( ie. the end result of music) to a world of strangers, there has been massive resistance.
So, the reconciliation has come about for me , when I have more fully realised that expressing in this way to ‘the world of strangers’ should take place in the same way that the expression of ideas, experiences and realisations happen with my dearest creative and spiritual friends.
As we all would have experienced at some time, expressing ideas and experiences out loud within a feeling of safety, can generate a distillation of thoughts and a sudden precision of clarity in that moment , that seemed to be elusive up until that moment.
Having said all that , I’ll now get down to the nuts and bolts style of the ruminations specific to the craft , and it relationship to inner spiritual, creative and professional life , as born out of my particular life circumstances.
Firstly , looking back over the last 45 years , only in recent times did I truly take stock of the fact , that the discipline of the professional life as a musician ( starting in 1977) was only 6 years longer than the discipline of the inner spiritual life (1983).
The length of time in itself is of no consquence , what is significant , is the amount of time it took me to realise , in a deeper way that the inner spiritual life has been the most meaningful contributor to the evolvement and longevity of the creative and professional life.
In other words, that inner life has sustained the outer life by keeping it youthful, optimistic, meaningful, childlike and contented (mostly).
I say mostly, as I consider the confrontation against self doubt, trauma, comparison with others, quest to be acknowledged, analysis paralysis, jealousy , needing to belong etc.etc. , the real juice of the spirtual process. These will never go away, they simply become less powerful when effort is made to replace them with that which comes from my own centre.
So, I can honestly say that, even though I’ve felt the fruit from many years of at least, trying to have that balance between inner and outer, in recent times ( the last few months or so) I’m more deeply feeling a sense of thanks to the self relection, meditation and life style as the true contributor to the success of my creative life.
I acknowledge it now as the source.
Yes, hard work , practice, study, repetition, are necessary tools to master something, but it is the clarity and purity of mind enables it to run deep and to have longevity , within causing detriment to the soul itself.
In 1983, I stepped off the world for a while, living in a meditation centre, as something inside me said that I would self destruct if I didn’t do something about it spiritually. I somehow knew that there would be a price. In becoming masterful in my craft I would lose something. I knew I would lose my mind.
Probably a person in a mental institution who once was very clever.
Thus professionally , some things moved more slowly and carefully than they would have if I hadn’t ‘ stepped off the world’ , so to speak, but actually , other creative doors opened up that were more subtle.
Recording ambient music ( which led to some film music) helped me slow down a driven and fiery mind that eventually over the years has led to a fusing of musical creations that mean, for me, the boundaries are more blurred between the idea of ‘jazz’ or ‘classical’ of ‘ambient’ ( even tough we always have to label ourselves when presenting ourselves to the world).
That is my big thanks and so it gives me a much more hearty and unapologetic desire to share it with others in it’s entirety, and not compartmentalise my contribution into ‘spiritual’, ‘ music’ , ‘entertainment’ , but instead put it into one big banner that says ‘long live the soul and humanity’.
Thus my aim ( apart from making these ruminations shorter..:) is put up more recordings along with sharing of my process with those creations , as well as sharing my thoughts on the much longer processes that have occurred since those days many years ago, when I started to reflect more deeply.
So in finishing , I’ll end with a bit of news . The full recording of the Jazz Trio piece ‘Breaking the Code’ is now up on the site as a high quality WAV file. You can buy it.
I’ll talk on another page shortly about its meaning and process,
Michael Westlake. Ballarat Australia.