METTA MIND JOURNAL: CYNIC’S PAUL MASVIDAL ON LETTING GO OF THE MIND
“When you really understand that you are what you see and know, you don’t run around the countryside thinking, ‘I am all this!’ There is simply all this.” —Alan Watts
The end is near; the end of a cycle. We just rehearsed today for the first time since our last European tour that ended in mid-June. It was like putting on an old pair of jeans. We slipped right in and felt comfortable; relaxed enough to loosen up completely and just have fun. It was the kind of rehearsal I enjoy the most, if I had to rate them.
Today was hot and muggy in Los Angeles. Our rehearsal room was even hotter and muggier than outside — and it worked. The clam factor forced us to give in to the discomfort… and rollick. We said, “Fuck it,” and the music flowed out of our biology like tadpoles consuming life. A raw, uninhibited quality took shape and found a way to be heard. It was pure instinct alongside a carefree sense of humor. We detached and let the music do the work.
I’m thrilled about the upcoming tour [with Dysrhythmia and Intronaut. So are we! -Ed.]. The moments that filled today’s rehearsal gave birth to a unique energy. We got to engage completely in a divine process. It’s not intense with anxiety or anything like that. For me, it’s intense because it stores imprints of what feels like past lives coming to fruition. A full circle engaged and ready to be set free in the wondrous ether…the 5th element that’s invisible and yet permeates everything… “subtler than light.” This past life is emerging now and demanding my full attention.
What’s fun is that the music indicates something not here, not past, but just is. It serves itself and is realized in itself. It doesn’t really need us, but if we are to give it our full attention, it holds tremendous density and strength. It’s rich in harmonic content and dynamics. I don’t know much about what makes music interesting, but I do know that it has to work somehow and there is a way to that path, and the somehow is not calculated or able to be deliberately “created.” All we can do is completely show up and occasionally assist in the process by using some external tools (instruments) to excavate a sound that’s natural and effortless.
Music radiates its own energetic field whether it has a listener or not. It’s everywhere and in everything heard and unheard. I understand the idea that a song isn’t finished until someone other than the writer listens to it or hears it. But who is the writer, really? Is there an actual writer? I’m not sure.
As humans, we take on roles of self-importance to give life “content” and a sense of order. We construct a sense of self-validation by externalizing our identity, as in: “This job” allows me to become “X person.” What a trap! But it’s all we know. Occasionally I swallow my tears and open fully into the anguish of not having a self, and suddenly everything shifts. But this is just a game of concepts I’m discussing, and even this language has no value. This is the dream world we’re talking about here. And waking up from the dream is very much like being able to see the dream with complete precision — as in permanent ambiguity, no walls. There’s nothing to be done with the dream because it’s happening as a constant, without our interference. In other words, it does itself as it’s seen now, as it is.
Do we have the courage to look at this dream and allow it to unfold? This, however, doesn’t imply taking a passive stance in our lives. Instead, we still take action and participate in the dream as active dreamers. We keep both feet in and yet we learn how to slow down when a sense of control is lost. We don’t destroy ourselves in the name of making the outer world agree with us. Sometimes I think I’m done chasing the drama… and then life reminds me the work is never finished. We’re students until we lay our heads to rest and I trust that the reminder to wake up and “STOP” is becoming gentler. Or, at least my ability to see that reminder doesn’t feel like the harsh blow it used to be. It’s in these moments of cognition that allow the dream to be seen…it’s all we’re ever seeing.
But if I just can’t see this dream as it is, then I have the opportunity to enter the unexpected or the unwanted and touch the edge of my pain. When I reach this edge I do some investigating and discover that there’s no place to turn except inward. And when I really get in there, I see all the encrustations of the heart, all the mercilessness I’ve heaped onto myself, all the fear of letting go of who I think I am. It’s not something to judge, but just notice — as if the mind itself is always dreaming. These words may sound like someone who’s trying to understand the nature of reality, but what’s happening here is an attempt to eliminate my understanding altogether.
I have to forgo the idea that a mind can contain the answer, or that some intellectual process will ease the pain. The intellect is useless here, but it takes a great undoing of the mind to see this.