When I go on stage, two parts of myself present themselves to the audience: the master and the ego. The ego says : "Look how well you play this work and how talented you are !" Or "It doesn't sound good enough, you're not capable, it's bad..." The master says : "It's playing, it's being done, and it's good ! Let the magic touch those who want it... Let it happen, feel it, accompany the movement".
A musician's life, without exception of any human being, is built around the ego. Even when I make myself believe in humility, it is often just one more trick of the mind, that conjuror ego.
In our modern society, our education taught us that the intelligent part of our being is high up in the head. Yet the brain is just a control tower. Neither the plane, nor the pilot, nor the passengers, nor the runway...
With the quantum revolution and various scientific discoveries, we know that neurons are just as important (if not more so) in the belly, heart, body, tissues (skin). We know that perception of the heart precedes the brain, that emotion or feeling precedes thought*. For this reason, a person may be fully aware of a trauma and have analyzed it in all its details during years of psychotherapy, but remain frozen in the parts of the body that maintain the memory of it at least as much as the most intelligent of brains, constantly recreating a reality in the image of this memory, until these freezes can be released, digested, evacuated. This cannot be done through the mind or even through only emotion. Delivery is not achieved by conceptualizing it but by surrendering oneself to the whole body, to the archaic and wise impulses that have had knowledge since the dawn of time. There is no longer any question of good or bad in this act of pure truth.
At the conservatory, this elite school, I was more than ever led to focus on my mind. Like all the high schools, intelligence is over-represented by the only tool of the well-thinking brain that becomes the alpha and omega of any interpretation of the world and of one's own world. This own world is then interpreted according to the cartography of the outside, conditioned, and risks leaving a lot of messages without a recipient. The image of this would be that anecdote told when Christopher Columbus arrived in America with his ship and the Indians, having never seen such a ship floating on the water, did not see it ! This reality surpassed their usual interior patterns, not even being able to believe it, the image was not visible to them. It took only one, more sensitive, to feel something, a vibration, then begin to perceive, letting go of all his beliefs, to finally bring to this possibility until the moment when the boat actually ran aground on the shore, leading everyone to realize that this "miracle" was very real. By staying on a single gateway, it is likely that many perceptions no longer pass from one world to another through its own channel. One then becomes aware that the brain is the link between the inside and the outside, processing information. For all that, is it still the guarantor of truth ?
So, it is impossible to go very deep within oneself when the whole focus remains on the top. Impossible to summon the wise when the intelligence is looping around like a hamster in its cage. Anaesthetizing the body, intuition as well as emotion. And the mind loves to turn ! The more you feed it, the more it spins and the more it feeds you (and makes you feel dizzy !) ! Until identification becomes so absurd that some people unfortunately experience what is called "burn out" or lack of meaning or depression.
What is worse than our sufferings is the mourning of our sufferings. To become aware of the illusion of our suffering, that is to say to put down the ego, is the most subtle, the most vertiginous and the most powerful realization of all. The first impression is to no longer exist.
I am not talking about the denial of those who forget that they have a body or emotions and unconscious memories as a child but about the process of accepting this story before becoming aware that its experience, the attachment to it is only the fruit of a conditioning.
At that time, even the emotion in me went through the top, through the mind. In our beliefs, we unconsciously think that truth, spirituality and grace are at the top and that the bottom is only illusions, desire, savagery or lies. However, animals have the wisdom that they never lie. They do not feel the need to lie to others nor to lie to themselves. This mental manipulation makes us believe in a superior talent when it is only an oblivion, a break with our vital senses, with an ancestral knowledge when we knew how to listen to our body, our antennas. So, often our body langage says "no" while our mouth says "yes" - or vice versa. And the mind swirls to find meaning ! Because it is so finely intelligent...
For dancers, the upper body is the heart. A dancer cannot be guided by his head, even if it is used to locate or learn certain things. So it's through his body and, above all, his heart, like the sail of a boat, that they lead their steps. However, we say of a passion that we immerse ourselves in it body and soul. The intention is true, simply we have forgotten the path and the mind in spite of it prevents access to this natural process. The hamster in its cage just needs to rest, to welcome the space and to be silent.
The master is not a head full of intelligence. On the contrary, he is rather an empty, bare, silent space.
Surprisingly, I believe that if I offer music to the world, it's to connect to its own silence. Music offers to the void its contours to reveal this space where the breath of life penetrates, the vibration of this immobility in movement.
Classical works, instrumental mastery, all this pushes me towards a fine intelligence, it's true. But intelligence is not wisdom. Riding all one's energy into the top of one's head sometimes leads one to forget the love of the heart or the intuition of one's gut.
Nothing is incompatible. Unfortunately, we believed in an imaginary hierarchy, in a separation of senses, worlds, being, having and doing. Comparison, judgement, which are only the guards of ancestral fears, of frozen terrors that we dread to approach and then transcend.
One learns a lot, young, to master, to be "virtuoso" and to constantly judge if this is good enough or how it could be better. Not accepting applause or identifying with applause is the same. The heart hardens, paradoxically, in a field where sensitivity is required. At the first notes of a colleague, one knows - or rather one thinks one knows - from the outset by expressing an opinion that one believes is necessary ! "Good or not good".
The desire for perfection, to always seek better in order to reach the unattainable, that Grail that would make us holy among the saints, that would allow us to rise at last from this tortuous world, that desire that makes us devoted to an art, hides behind this parade an illusory attachment. The master knows that everything is already there, that it is being done or even that it is. He needs nothing else. It seeks nothing.
Like spirituality, art, if it is an escape route, risks not being fully embodied.
The pure state of presence leads to the greatest of perfections, because it no longer seeks it. And to congratulate oneself on this is to return to the game of ego by going back to the merry-go-round ! Only when the attachment to identity fades away, disappears, all the doors of knowledge are opened. Does one have to die once in order to know ? The path of the warrior seems to me to be crossed only in humility. Not the one that consists in demeaning oneself nor the one that advocates believing oneself to be omnipotent. Beyond this duality lies a secret, that of the master capable of putting one knee to the ground while raising his chest to heaven. Knowing that I am nothing, everything passes through me.
To say that one knows is to cut oneself off from knowledge, because in "knowing" I myself prevent myself from welcoming, I close the door by "grasping" precisely instead of being in the receptivity of life. To live is to learn to welcome. Nothing is to be done ! Like listening to music, it listens, it opens, it feels, it evolves, it crosses, it learns...
In the heart of enlightenment the master realizes that there is nothing to know ! And what disillusionment !
Yet, everything is to be known. Knowledge comes through experience. Knowledge through mind. Then the doors of wisdom open with bliss, simplicity and immensity. Wisdom receives through the heart. Intelligence through mind.
Mind is also good and useful ! But from this tool we have made an end in itself, without taking into account the infinite capacities of the whole being.
The ego holds the pen to write down the master's experience. Both of them allow one to evolve.
True art is nothing but space, the liberation of any interference that may occur between that and life, between me and reality. Then alchemy operates, lead is transformed into gold, the skies open up and the most incandescent lights offer themselves to you.
Since I surrender myself, I am free !
True joy comes from the deepest depths of the entrails. In the depths of oneself, and nowhere else, emptiness offers ecstasy. Fear often crosses the womb and it is precisely there that it transcends itself as well. That is where the entrance is and not the escape. We have learned in the modern world to escape this emptiness from the outside by trying to entertain the ego, but it is exactly the other way around that the most precious treasure, the most extraordinary experience that can be given to live : deep inside ! Then the master can present himself, as it is, or rather be present to what is there, and be nothing more than a witness and experimenter.
In the depths of oneself : the divine, the master, knowledge, wisdom !
Life is pure enjoyment ! Neither before nor after. Only love exists. Of course the ego is clever enough to make you doubt such simple words. That's what it's all about ! There must be something else, everything is good for -once again- turning outward, looking elsewhere, documenting, perfecting, and hiding from oneself. The experience is introspection. Pure intimacy. The master goes through his fear, alone, within himself. The ego experiences a movement of retreat and then feels the need to talk about it, to analyze, to grasp it. But there is nothing to grasp.
Where does grace come from ? In this endless cosmos, is it the sound that comes from the vibration or the vibration that comes from the sound ? It is often said to listen to your heart... But do we think of making our hearts listen to our hearts ? No longer listen through the ears but through the chest, through the millions of neurons in the belly, the plexus, the sex, the pores of the skin, which receive, memorize and transmit even before the mind realizes it.
When the audience comes to congratulate me, the ego is touched. The master plays the role we want him to play. Some people project a virtuoso, so he plays the virtuoso. Others project an unspecified or unbearable pianist, so he plays the unspecified and unbearable pianist ! Some felt touched in the heart and project this on my person. Then the master plays this role. But once the backstage door is passed, the master takes these costumes off and knows that he is nothing of the sort. He knows that he's nothing. And all at once. In this theater of illusion and dreams, the ego comes back, panicking at being abandoned, still preferring suffering to nothingness and clinging to what it can ! A few tricks, then extinction. Pure consciousness is at the end of the road. Where there is no more path, where everything is path. Neither light nor shadow. Nothing is to be reached. Then the master and the ego make peace. In unity there is no master and no ego. The sound resonates and the universe vibrates the song of the soul.
Why do we remain so clinging to our sufferings, asks the ego ? Because the mourning of suffering is worse than the suffering itself, answers the master. Worse because it is unknown, totally unknown, and at the beginning, the unknown is the crossing of our greatest fear. The real fear is not that of death but the awareness of the illusion of death. The redefinition of our mental conditioning sounds like the disappearance of the ego, of the I and all its history as I lived it for so many years until the realization of the I. As if time was still something intangible, existing, real. Last illusion... Exit identity, beliefs, there's nothing left. It is precisely from this nothing, from the void, that everything springs forth !
The privilege of the master is to see in each one another master. And even beyond that, at every encounter, whatever it may be, I meet my master at that moment, the one who teaches me and allows me to reveal each time under a new prism my reality, my experience, my conscience and my love. Like universes that meet each other and marvel at each other, the symphony is created and the planets dance !
Thank you for your presence in the world !
Tribute to the music of your hearts,
*HeartMath Institut, researches on heart intelligence (cf. The Power of the heart, movie)