Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation but has also found its way into modern Western psychology. When we bring our attention into the present moment, our mind takes on a neutral, non-critical position. In this non-analytical state, one finds peace as life flows from moment-to-moment. It isn’t so much about controlling our attention as it is going with the flow.
Mindfulness Does Not Need to Be Static
Mindfulness is not a stationary experience but rather a relaxed, inquisitive, and accepting state of mind.
In the PianoZen Method for beginners, students use a simple technique called “softening the mind”. When a piano student softens the mind, it creates a relaxing, ripple effect on the physical body which allows the student to adopt a more lucid state of awareness as they practice the piano. Some find the act of “softening the mind” easier to accomplish then trying to “quieting the mind”; a common phrasing associated with mindfulness.
Softening the mind encourages an expansion of awareness which help the student become more present in the moment while practicing the piano. Softening and slowing down the mind alter's the frequency of the student's mental activity. The student is often more lucid. In PianoZen, when your practice the piano in a mindful state like this it is called "Lucid Learning".
In the lucid state, playing the piano becomes fresh and dynamic. This is due to the fact the mind is operating at a higher frequency of awareness and these results in fascination with minute details often overlooked in the normal waking state. Details such as the breath, physical awareness of the body, the fingers touching the piano keys, the unique sounds that emanate from the vibrating strings of the piano, etc.
Eckart Tolle's Concept of "Awakened Doing"
Eckhart Tolle explains mindfulness as “awakened doing” in his book A New Earth. He goes on to say,
“Awakened doing has three modalities, depending on circumstances and the nature of the activity. They are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. If there is not acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm in what you do, you are out of alignment with universal purpose. You are creating unhappiness, that is to say suffering in one form or another. One way of defining the ego is simply this: a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment. What I refer to as the "new earth"—the outer forms created by awakened doing—arises as more people realize that their purpose is to allow consciousness to emerge through whatever they do.”
PianoZen Embraces Awakened Doing
For students that embrace mindfulness in everyday living, the PianoZen Method offers a way to apply this “awakened doing” for beginners that want to learn the piano.