METTA MIND JOURNAL: PAUL MASVIDAL’S MEDITATIONS FROM SLOVAKIA AND PRAGUE
Cynic are currently on tour in Europe, so vocalist/guitarist Paul Masvidal has decided to revive his Metta Mind Journal MetalSucks column in the form of a tour diary. Earlier this week we published the first group of entries from the U.S. portion of the tour and the first few European dates, yesterday we published Paul’s meditations from Vienna and Budapest, and today we follow with Slovakia and Prague.
Meditation location #25 – CBA tour. Slovakia – We rushed out of the bus and I went into a cafe / bar connected to the venue. Tobacco companies are making a killing in these parts. Across the board, folks of all ages puffing away. I couldn’t hang in the smokiness, so I walked further down the road and found a cafe that was warm and had some ginger tea, in a non-smoking room. Across the street was a park with a large sculpture of a poetically shaped human. Just behind it, underneath its ‘behind’ I sat on my behind and meditated. Surrounding me was a busy city, while various pedestrians made their way across the park. Considering the rough and seemingly dirty aesthetics of these city streets, I found it balanced by a general attractiveness amongst the Slovakian people.
As I walked back to the venue, I passed an older lady in her mid to late 70’s. She looked rugged and exhausted. As my mirror, I recognized my own rugged exhaustion through her as we both walked slowly in the bitter cold, one step at a time. I can smell the car exhaust fumes from that stretch of road even now. She was my teacher today, reminding me of my own impermanence and the fragility of life. Touring provides one with an accelerated flow of life experiences bundled together. Routines aren’t useful here, just enjoying the rollercoaster ride. Sometimes it gets really bumpy and other times it feels like I’m sailing a gentle ocean. Life is unfolding on a moment to moment basis, am I paying attention? Is there a story of me worth validating here? Can I simply be the witness and trust that the universe always provides, without holding on to anything? Yes, I can. I can take this as an opportunity to step out of a personal comfort cocoon and taste life at hyper-speed. The child of wonder is just beneath even this story line, ready to witness it all. Jump off the cliff! No parachute needed.
A Zen teacher said, ‘The person at the end of the rainbow is yourself, and the experience you seek exists within your own heart and nowhere else.’ I find comfort in those words today.
Slovakian brothers and sisters, thank you for your direct, uplifted presence this evening. Maybe next time the UFO will appear and beam us all up.
Meditation location #26 – CBA tour. Prague – Little town outside of the city center. Found a beautiful spot to meditate along a river. The water’s surface had a silvery shimmer and a soft visible current reminding of my own mind. In the distance, across the lake were beautiful homes, and an occasional dog walker. We performed in a ‘Kyje’ cultural center. It was like a neighborhood event spot, not a rock venue in the least but somehow we found a way to transform the space into something workable by show time.
The day was filled with funny mishaps and reminders that nothing can be taken very seriously. Our soundman Jarrett in particular wasn’t thrilled with the PA situation, but eventually we found the humor to get through it, (and it actually sounded ok in the end). So, by the time we hit the stage, the performance took on a lightness that couldn’t be manufactured, it was truly the result of a nutty day. Anything could go ‘wrong’ on this day, and it’s ok. We danced with the problems that arose, trusting in their greater purpose. Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to imagine that any good could come out of a set of circumstances that are not going our way, but if we hang in there and don’t get too caught up in the drama at hand, matters usually work themselves out of their own accord. It’s just a matter of staying on point with what’s before us.
Last year, I sat and shared with my meditation instructor a difficult period of my life. She replied with “oh good!, a Tibetan view of this would mean your light is getting brighter so darkness will approach you more often, because you can handle it.” I smiled at her wisdom, she saw an underlying dynamic to my circumstance that I needed to hear. It changed the whole shape of my perception and suddenly the struggle became an opportunity to look and work with what was happening. All my anger and pain that was arising could be used constructively.
The true nature of reality is constantly moving, not static or frozen, but changing from moment to moment. It’s the mind trying to freeze or hold onto any particular circumstance that’s setting up the foundation of a hell realm. Who wants to add more ‘hell’ to life as it is? Puking our negativity into the world, is like an unconscious child, screaming, ‘Pay attention to me, I’m miserable and it’s all your fault!’ Many of us live in this space, and I can’t help but feel some compassion for those who spend much of their time in such a terrible place. I know it all too well.
I appreciate Cynic fans, since many of ’em feel like old friends. It’s wonderful that you’re opening up and sharing your hearts post-show, it’s what it’s all about. Let’s get down to it and talk about the juicy stuff. We’re all in this together and are here to help each other out.
At the end of the night, I walked down the street to a spot outside where I found some wifi to send a couple emails. On my way back to the venue I met a familiar small white dog. There was a lady nearby, and she confirmed that its breed was a West Highland White Terrier. She said his name was ‘Max’. My first dog, whom my mother acquired for me in early adolescence, was of the same breed. He was aptly named ‘Dandy’. I felt the little boy in me arise as I bent down to pet Max. The moment nearly brought me to tears. I flashed back to my childhood, as a little boy with a world of magical possibilities ahead. Life was my friend and yet somehow along the way into adulthood, I forgot that simple truth, and began a journey into fear and suffering. Well, here I am again, tuning into that wisdom of life with an open heart and an open mind. Trusting in life as it is. It’s like making a full circle, except this time we’re entirely aware. We engage in living without reservation. We live the life we were meant to live. Onward my friends, onward.