<            >



Music is an excellent means of communicating ideas and emotions, and is an ideal tool for creating a transcendent state. I have become fixated on the latter. Over the past two years I’ve been developing this meditation program that integrates music as a primary point of focus. What has been distilled out is a musical performance of an hour or so of electronic ambient music, sequenced and performed live, within the structure of a guided meditative process.

Eleven years ago I had the good fortune of being introduced to a very pure form of meditation:  Vipassana. Pure in the sense that it is not loaded with sectarian or cultural baggage, no symbolism, no projection, nothing to imagine, no blue light shooting out of your head. The practitioner simply sits and sharpens their awareness of the sensations of the body. The retreats that I participated in were very powerful experiences: 10 days in the mountains in complete silence, meditating 9 hours a day. It was grueling. I was impressed at how beneficial the process was, but was discouraged in that the extreme nature of the technique and training limited the palatability to a very small audience. I kept seeing the same “types” of people at these retreats, and they represented a very narrow cross-section of the population. I was left with a concern that kept nagging at me quietly in the background.

I wanted to create an experience that would allow people to be introduced to the benefits of the meditative process, without the extreme commitment that intense practice requires or the sectarian vocabulary or symbolism that can conflict with their personal beliefs. I come out of a creative background – and therefore understand the power of art as a means of communicating and creating a transcendent state.

I first became fascinated with the idea of creating an animated “painting,” something akin to Rothko color-fields that slowly morph over time. I wanted to create a meditative piece to be projected onto a gallery wall. Then it occurred to me that combining the imagery with ambient music would help to overwhelm the senses of the viewer, pulling them more deeply into the moment. But the gallery setting is so uncontrolled, so full of distractions, that I felt the best way to execute this would be as a performance. That way the viewer is committed to being there, committed to the process. Since my motivation was leaning towards creating a meditative environment, I felt that I should simply take the final step and guide the participants through the meditative process – using the animation and music to help focus their attention, then guiding them through by voice. Thus, sugar-coating the meditative process in the guise of a performance, in order to introduce a broader audience to the technique. In the end I abandoned (for now) the first seed of the idea, the animation, due to technological limitations.