Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I had an astonishing moving-vocalizing meditation yesterday at a friend's earth listening. It was just four of us for just over an hour at the peninsular sundial in Berkeley Marina. One could see, if one looked, far in the distance in every direction: downtown SF, downtown Oakland, Richmond refinery, El Cerrito.

I didn't look. I spent the vast majority of the time glued to the prickly dry grass and occasional stone, listening, echoing. Sometimes I pulled my shirt over my head so the wind wouldn't be so loud in my ears and to reduce sight, smell, and the sense of anyone nearby. I was an audience of one, though others (including innocent passersby) heard me. Once my friend even responded freely, adding her own echoes and echoing mine.

But I rarely noticed the music of it. I reduced as much as I could to my lizard brain, listening without filter, letting my echoes wander with my attention, repeating freely. I shed all self-consciousness in minutes and attained such peace at the end.

It was not unlike my lovely 3-1/2 hours at Piedmont's Garden of Memory, where musicians set up in every nook in a spectacular mausoleum and performed like sound installations. Audience members wandered at will, stopping for as long as they pleased, often chatting enthusiastically with the performer between improvs. Sound spilled and poked across exhibits. The professional performances of soft, sensitive pieces on one stage were occasionally punctuated by a honking stationary bike installed just outside the entrance. It made me giggle. I didn't hear anyone complain.

I've been appreciating the most recent RadioLab that my dear friend Kerrick shared with me. It has recast my concept of the lizard brain in artistic context and references a 2007 neurology paper:

For those who are interested, I've included my real-time notes from the meditation below.

Life repetition vocal echoes of what I hear  --> classes of simple voice

sounds I never listen for as music waves, wind, & rush-hour traffic become one
dogtags, marsh sparrows, one mess of kiss

The long moan of wind in the pinnae

Slow technique: I can take the pain of burrs and dry grass that blody my knees a little & forget where I'm going, what I wanted shortly after I strt crawling, one hand, weight shift at a time

Music! Focus on self-consciousness! Lose language, just repeat. Repeat what feels good. Repeating bits of speech like music


breath patterns sound diff w diff breath! --> morph

track a blade of seeding grass moving in wind  --  a composition I improvising is this less than a composition how why I need remember Tom's inability to compose teaching relying on language loss let it lose be lost let it

BREAK like a dam letting the high potential contentsspill out!

a child's voice a bird's voice the voice of my skin sensations wind lifting reaching under my skin sensations wind lifting reaching under my arm to lift me it doesn't care a reptile doesn't care about outcome it repeats, takes in all senses

we can't take it all in

breakneck pace -- here to there, A to B straight line  fart!

unrecognize language of social exchange unrecognize humans as same or similar

unrecognition, retreat into lizard consciousness but language is instant, I can't un-understand the sounds they make as language

What I hear, not what anyone farther, not in my skull -- that's the music. How can you be in my skull now?

lots of noise! can't move w/o making more noise! busy. Rest.
try --> no complete sentences ?

Don't try  silly pages. Turn pages.

Stay on lines. these rules of basic human interaction this is how we investigate ourselves: break. Remove.
César Chávez Park. From Wikipedia, the free 

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