Music and Chess

It occurs to me that composing music and playing chess share something in common: In neither one is there room for “oh, for no reason,” or “just because.” In chess there is always a best move. And not seeing it can cost you the game. When composing, everything you decide to play, record, edit, or in any way manipulate is a conscious choice. Not paying attention to every detail is the difference between a “successful” composition and not.


I don’t believe in Karma in the sense that what goes around comes around in a knowable way. But I do believe in living life as if it did.

Within You and Without You

Here’s another one. This time a George Harrison lyric. I think of this when I focus on my breathing. I think the reason I think of it is because breathing is an internal bodily function. Yet we only have partial internal control (through the mind.) Breathing happens with and without our attention. What is the force that causes us to breathe? It seems to me that the life force which causes us to breathe and our blood to flow is something greater than just our own body, but is maybe something that we participate in. Maybe the act of breathing itself is symbolic in itself as the air is within and without. How separate are we really from the rest of creation?

The Mind Is a River

For some reason, when I meditate, certain things keep popping up – like every day. The above lyric by Screaming Headless Torsos is an example. It usually pops up after I have spent time working of the disposition of the body and the breath and turn my attention to the mind.

Recently a friend relayed to me a simile she had learned regarding Zen meditation and things that “bubble up”: One can liken the mind to a brook with leaves and other things floating downstream. The goal is simply to observe these things as though you’re are watching from the bank. Of course I often find that I am not observing from the side, but am sucked in by whatever should be floating by. I am on the leaf itself. Practice, practice, practice, I guess.

Anyway I should listen to the whole tune again because I wonder if this is what SHT were referring to. (Probably not.)