Getting out of the Way - Becoming a
Once the invocation-transmission starts happening, there is a
recurring reflexive reaction within us... STOP IT AT ALL COSTS! There are many ways to
look at this reflex and all of them contribute to this occurrence. The human nervous
system and body is not used to high levels of subtle energy and it wants to release it as
soon as possible. The mind finds itself in unknown territory and wants to return to the
known right away. The ego rejoices at success... and messes it up in the process. We may
perceive the delicate balance that has lead to the transmission actually occurring... and
then we may try to intervene, so as to secure it. All of these can occur at different
times and may even occur simultaneously. All can be summed up in a simple expression: You
have put yourself in the way of the transmission! You are now blocking the transmission
and cutting it off.
We will work with 2 related ideas in this chapter. These go
hand in hand, and are simply two different approaches towards getting a handle on what it
really means to "get out of the way". The first we will call "perpetual
flux". The second we will call "infinite detail". Rather than try to
explain the theory of each of this, we will give a series of experiments to try with these
approaches. Then we will end with a more open ended discussion of both.
"Perpetual Flux" Experiment 1:
Get a piece of paper or, better yet, a brand new notebook.
Get a pen. Set your timer to 5 minutes. Now write non-stop for 5 minutes. Write anything
and everything. Don't, under any circumstances, stop to think or hesitate in any way.
Simply write everything that flows out of you. The crucial aspect here is that it doesn't
matter if what you write makes sense. It doesn't matter if it's "good" in some
metaphysical, artistic or literary sense. It doesn't matter if it's embarrassing or
contrary to what you normally believe. The only thing that matter is that for those 5
minutes you don't stop writing AT ALL. Write constantly and fluently. After the five
minutes are over you will be able to rest. But as long as the time is on, keep writing.
Don't stop to read what you wrote, don't stop to correct spelling or grammar mistakes.
Just keep writing.
Try this experiment every day for a week. If you want to
explore it further, add more minutes gradually. But each time you add a minute, do it for
a full week. If you rush to make it a much longer exercise, you will delude the
power of it and you will eventually turn it into a much different experiment.
"Perpetual Flux" Experiment 2:
Sit with a musical instrument (it can be anything at all... a
guitar, the piano, a drum, a wind instrument, some cheap Casio synthesizer, a toy
instrument... anything.). First spend 5 minutes in silence looking at the instrument,
feeling it, touching it... doing everything and anything you can do with it EXCEPT playing
it. Now for the next 5 minutes play non-stop just as you did with the writing. It doesn't
have to be beautiful, it doesn't even have to try to be beautiful... it also doesn't have
to be strange! It can be anything but it shouldn't be a piece you know or have heard. Just
play as you are moved to play but don't stop at all. For the full five minutes there
should be a constant stream of sound coming out of you and that instrument. When the five
minutes are up sit back and look at the instrument again... place your full attention on
it... for a short space of time.
"Perpetual Flux" Experiment 3:
Go to a very lonely place (unless you are extremely outgoing,
brave, exhibitionistic or all of the above... in which case go to the city square). This
could be your own room or living room, but ideally it will be a place far away from the
noises of civilization: a lonely patch of the beach, a mountain, a quiet glade in a nearby
forest, the desert, etc. Begin again as you did in the last experiment. Spend about 5 to
10 minutes listening quietly to the sounds all around you. Use your time so that you won't
get lost completely in the wonder and beauty of it all. Now set the timer for 5 to
10 minutes and begin to sing. Singing can mean a single vocal sound that changes in pitch,
it can mean a series of noises, it can mean a complex improvised poem... or all of the
above in combination. The only thing you can not do within that span of time is be quiet.
Make sound continuously and without interruption. If you stop to take a deep breath, make
a sound even while you do this. Incorporate it into the ongoing rush of sound. Continue
through exhilaration, panic, hallucinations or anything else that may come. When the time
is finished, spend another 5 to 10 minutes listening to the sound all around while you
take deep and quiet breaths.
"Perpetual Flux" Experiment 4:
Set your metronome to 60 BPM or lower. (If you don't have a
metronome, you can get one at any music store for around $20 or less). Take a few deep
breaths to clear the air and your mind. Set your timer to five minutes. Once you start the
timer going, start to say a syllable with each beat of the metronome. We will roughly
define "syllable" as a combination of a consonant and a vowel as a minimum. A
syllable can be more complex than that (involving various consonants) but it should only
contain one vowel so that that each sound is solid, percussive and short. (Examples: ME,
IM, JO, YA, ES, etc.) After each syllable take a very quick short breath and then say the
next syllable. Each syllable should land precisely in time with the metronome beat. This
will be more or less difficult depending on how much experience you have with a metronome
and musical timing in general. If you have trouble at first, you can set the metronome to
a lower speed. And just keep on practicing. As you progress with this experiment,
you can add more time to the 5 original minutes.
"Perpetual Flux" Experiment 5:
Timed Release 2
Set your metronome to 60 bpm or lower. Take a few deep
breaths and set your timer to 5 minutes. Now start "talking" in a very
particular way. Try to construct sentences but talk in such a way that each syllable lands
on each beat. The main emphasis should be on forcing yourself to continue talking and to
use words that you (as well as other humans) would recognize as words. A secondary
objective would be for the sentences to actually be sentences. This is not inmediately
important. What is not important at all is for these senteces to "make sense" in
any standard way. Simply let the words flow out in unison with the metronome. At 5
minutes, stop and take a few breathes and allow your mind to rest in total silence.
"Perpetual Flux" Experiment 6:
Start as before: metronome to 60 bpm or lower. Set your timer
to 5 minutes and take a few deep breaths. Now start the timer. With the first click of the
metronome, say a word. On the second click of the metronome make a gesture with your right
hand that somehow represents the word to you. This doesn't have to mean "drawing the
letters" in the air, although it can mean that if you want it to. The precise
relationship between the word and the gesture is completely up to you. But it cannot take
any longer than one click. On the third click, you say another word and repeat the cycle.
"Perpetual Flux" Experiment 7:
Metronome is on 60, timer is on 5 minutes. Take a few deep
breaths. Start the timer. This time say a single word on the first click. Then on the
second click make a sound that somehow reflects the word. The "sound" should not
be another word nor should it be something recognizable as a word in any way. Instead try
to make the sound as "visual" as possible. Imagine the shape in your mind and
make the sound reflect it. All of this in the space of one click! Then say another word
and the whole cycle repeats again.
"Perpetual Flux" Experiment 8:
In this experiment you will make single sounds. These sounds
can be a vowel, a vowel and a consonant or a more complex combination of letters. The
sounds can also be raw noise or a combination of noise and "letters". They can
be "words" but they don't have to be. If you do this long enough, the
distinction between "words" (as "signs") and "noise" (as
meaningless sound) will get more and more blurry... if you continue practicing you may
find it hard to speak! Then you will be forced to become a shamanic musician! Anyway....
Metronome on 60, timer on 5 minutes. Take a few deep breaths. Start the timer. You will
make 2 sounds for each click of the metronome. Take quick short breaths between sounds and
continue. Don't stop completely until the 5 minutes are over. Start with having the 2
sounds evenly spaced. Later you can try playing with the relationship between the 2.
"Infinite Detail" Experiment 1:
Sit and breathe deeply for a few moments. Now close your eyes
and visualize a particular image. It can be a scene from your memory or from your
imagination. Just make sure that you decide on one image in particular and visualize it as
clearly as you can. Now take a pen and paper, set your timer to 1 minute, and write down
as full a description as u can of the image within that one minute. After the timer
sounds, lay back and close your eyes again and continue visualizing the image for 1
minute. After that minute ends, go back and fill in more of the details in your
description for another minute. Continue this cycle for 7 complete repetitions. Do the
whole exercise for 7 days.
"Infinite Detail" Experiment 2:
If you have been recording your dreams regularly or even
sporadically, go back and pick a particularly vivid dream. If you haven't, but still have
a memory of a particular vivid dream then pick that one. If you don't usually remember
dreams, try for a few nights to record one as you wake up. As a last resort, simply
imagine what you would dream if you could dream!
Sit and breathe deeply. Set your timer to 1 minute and start
it. Close your eyes and visualize the dream. When the timer sounds, write down all the
detail that you can see in the dream. Repeat the cycle 7 times. At some point you may feel
like you are simply inventing more detail. That is OK! Just write down more and more
detail that you feel connects with the dream or enhances the quality of the images in the
dream. If you are in a room in the dream, write down the color of the walls, their
texture, the paintings on the walls (or any other markings), the doors or exits, etc. Once
you have run out of detail, write down what is behind the walls. If your response is:
"I can't see behind the walls!" just remember: "It's your dream!" and
then simply answer "What is behind the walls?"
"Infinite Detail" Experiment 3:
Set the timer for 10 minutes and sit in a place where you
won't be bothered for that long. Listen carefully to the world around you for a bit, as
you take slow deep breaths. Now start the timer and start to describe what you hear. Keep
on adding detail for the full 10 minutes. If you feel like there is nothing left to say,
that's when the real exercise begins. Start to find smaller, subtler detail in every sound
and find new ways of describing it. Discover relationships hidden in the cracks of the
vibrations. Break into the code of the multidimensional soundscape around you. Stop when
the timer sounds!
"Infinite Detail" Experiment 4:
"The Soundscape 2"
Start as before, by setting the timer to 10 minutes. Sit in a
place where you won't be bothered, at least for those 10 minutes and maybe 5 more. Take 3
deep breaths. Close your eyes and listen closely to the sound around you. Start the timer.
Now, as closely as possible, with your vocal cords and mouth, try to reproduce what you
hear around you. Of course it won't be 100% accurate... maybe not even close! But try to
reproduce it anyway. As you listen to the sounds and reproduce try to notice the details
of the sound and reproduce them as closely as possible. Don't listen just to the quality
of the sounds but also to their sequence, their relationship to each other, their hidden
harmonies. Try to make your mouth become an amplifier for your ear. Imagine that what's
coming in is simply coming right back out as it passes through your head. When the timer
sounds, stop inmediately. Take 3 deep breaths.