When you are a single, childless man at my age, you learn to improvise. Many of the freedoms I have do tend to get a little commonplace, so it helps to spice things up a bit. That’s where Monk comes in. One thing that is suggested in my new way of approaching life is a morning meditation. Now, “meditation” doesn’t mean you have to contemplate the lotus for 8 hours until you achieve Enlightenment (though if that does happen then hey, good for you). If you live in the same world as the rest of us, a morning mediation can be a very small thing, but it can do worlds for your equilibrium. When I have the time and inclination, I settle down with Thelonius Monk and sit on the floor (I can’t do this on my bed. I’ve tried. I find myself taking a DEEP meditation. With my eyes closed. Breathing deeply).
Jazz is the only thing that works for this because I can’t have somebody else singing in my ears when I’m trying to calm my soul. I end up meditating on their problems. Other meditative states are great for other music. Rage Against the Machine or Guns ‘N’ Roses are perfect for the quasi-meditative state of working out. And the right Stevie Wonder or Barry White can be excellent for the sort of mutual meditation that is “pillow talk”. But for that down and dirty, bare bones, “What is the Spirit Thinking About” reflection, Jazz is the only thing that works for me.
It’s true for writing too. Once again, I can’t shoulder the burden of Zach de la Rocha or Axl when I’m writing. I’d come out of it homicidal. Coltrane or Miles are necessary to get in the place I need to be in to truly look inside myself to find out what I am thinking. That truly is one of the greatest and most significant points of meditation that makes it so valuable. I mean, I suppose you could wake up watching CNN or Fox News or the Today Show or Good Freaking Morning America or something, but I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be facing the day with anything approaching peace or serenity.
I guess that’s why Monk works for me. When I’m done spending 10 minutes with him, I come to the world at peace. I forget to be afraid.