Where Had The Energy Gone?

Very good comments over lunch. One question, from a Crafty who was very active in the early years and we have not seen for some time, asked “where did the energy go?” He was referring to the energy once available for him to invest in hours practising the polyrhythms used on courses at that time. Those polyrhythms were now established in his body. Yet this morning, facing new and different polyrhythms, there was no energy for him to apply himself to the challenge, as in earlier years. So, where had the energy gone? This is a good question.

The energy went to three places, RF suggested:

Part to the Crafty, in payment for his honourable work, and available to invest in his future, or to go on a spree; part to the course/s on which he worked; part to Guitar Craft, the larger construct in which we are engaged.

More generally, this is a question that the Lifers on this course are addressing. Questions of energies are addressed primarily at stages four and five of the overall process of acquiring a discipline, or interior architecture, and come under the main headings of:

Stage Four: letting go of bad habits.
Stage Five: acquiring good habits.

A discipline aims to make our habitual responses efficient. “Good” habits are efficient. “Bad” habits waste energy. So, letting go of “bad habits” addresses the release of energy locked in physical, psychological, and emotional patterns. Many of these are the result of inappropriate experiences in early family life and contemporary education. Some patterns manifest as stage fright and may be experienced as survival issues. But who is afraid?

We also look at plugging leaks, such as fidgeting, daydreaming, anger, and the expression of anger (the American and English approaches are very different, for example). We also lose huge amounts of energy to attractions from the outside world. News-stands provide a whole battery of visual delights, fears, and excitements to attract our attention and suck us dry.

Acquiring good habits: the aim is an efficient practice regime where nothing is wasted. This does not arise by accident. Craft information is needed, and a teacher or instructor. Physical relaxation and the development of bodily stillness; directing the mind, for example by counting and visual display of a piece or repertoire. In this way we learn to see integrally, and to have a better sense of the whole. This facilitates an expansion of our present moment and we learn to see a process through. The cultivation of goodwill is also necessary, and to be regularly practised. When successful, our energies begin to cohere, and we have a taste of effortless effort.

Obviously, this is a very brief overview of a subject capable of infinite refinement.

Both these stages fall within the larger middle of the larger process, known in Guitar Craft as the Great Divide. This is a perilous place to be, and confusing, where the process may unwind and everything may be lost. We may even have to return to the beginning.

Robert Fripp
January 24th. 2003
Los Molinos, Spain