[Today’s guest writer Vishal J Singh is a record producer and founder of critically acclaimed crossover band, Amogh Symphony. The views expressed in this post are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the blog’s own]
The mind of an artist is like a poltergeist. It’s angry, it’s mischievous and it doesn’t stay in one place. Hence, it’s almost impossible to capture it to get it under control. It’s like a child. With a strong art-soul comes depression, self-destructive behaviour and sometimes, addiction. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. Madness is different. Vulnerability is different. With meditation, you can capture the ghost.
There are already many resources available on the internet that explain the basics of meditation. It’s easy to say with words but so not easy to practice it during the first few sessions.
In my experience, there are 2 types of people: people with the natural tendency to be calm and patient; and people with the natural tendency to be stressed and in a hurry.
The first type is usually able to learn the basic principles of meditation fast. The second type takes longer because their excessively stressful minds need some time to start following a disciplined pattern. But eventually, both types are able to get into it sooner or later.
Though there are several levels of meditation (followed by breathing exercises and alternate nostril breathing), meditation is a personal experience which cannot be 100% explained in words. The feel, the vision, the atmosphere varies from person to person and hence, it’s very personal. You may find some people boasting about “meditating more deeply than you”. Please avoid such people as a calm, meditating mind never gets into “boasting” or “competition”. These people are lying to themselves, and to you.
It’s basically the imagination of an “object” or let’s say third eye vision which tries to see something that makes your inner-self feel good. The imagination can be your guru or your little daughter or any candle or ocean or moon (Moon and Sun meditation require “diksha” or training from a practiced Guru).
From chaos, meditation creates a definite pattern of thoughts in your mind, much like a steady heartbeat. The flow of chemicals and fluids in your body becomes stable. As a record producer, I’d say it’s like midi quantization, or like “getting you to record tighter takes,” which of course requires practice. When you meditate, your blood pressure gets normalized. That can help to destroy anxiety and restlessness. You may feel lighter from head to toe. When this flow is pattern-less, the metabolism becomes disturbed which can later lead to anxiety, stress, panic attacks, mood swings, depression, low immune system etc.
Unfortunately, life isn’t the same every day and sometimes, the poltergeist gets out of control again. But like I said, like getting better and better takes on a recording, one must not stop practising, meditating and self-healing. Remember, if you don’t love yourself, nobody else will. Only you are responsible for what you’re doing to your life.
What you think is what you become. Our thoughts and our feelings, in the state of meditation, focus on one thing at a time. It works exactly like “re-arranging data by labeling and putting it into the correct folders.” It’s a major healing process to your thoughts, to your future activities, to your life and, most importantly, to your body. When your focus gets stronger, you will learn to prioritize things. When chemicals in the body are moving with a re-arranged flow, you feel better and your mind opens to think and consider things which you previously ignored. You start realizing that you don’t belong to this body — this body belongs to you. When reality is clearly and peacefully understood by your mind, will-power gets stronger and stronger. Panic goes out the window. Hence, you start appreciating the natural flow of life and the earth. This is where many people get rid of their addiction, anger, depression (and sometimes turn vegan).
Today, we have access to everything through the internet. Years ago, when there was no internet, information and concepts to learn and to get influenced with were very limited. Now, there is so much mixed information and data that it becomes almost impossible to differentiate between the good and the bad. It can be psychologically dangerous, self destructive even, or it can be a boost. But to differentiate and decide, the mind needs to be calm and in control. My idea is simple — we do not deserve to live a depressed, confused or miserable life just because we are artists.
During my childhood, I was exposed to art, cinema and music from a very early age. I observed not only music but also people and their behaviour. My parents told me about meditation when I was about 15 years old. But I wasn’t very much into it at first because my mind wanted to try out “risks”. It’s like riding your new motorbike with max speed on day 1, then slowly after an accident, you decide to ride it safely. I wasn’t too friendly with other kids in school. Others used to make fun of me, saying that I was weird and not like them. This used to make me very sad. But then my dad told me, “People are afraid of the man who is not only different but also believes in his thoughts and stands up for them. Their weapon is lowering down others, your weapon is art. They are always scared and insecure. You aren’t.” I took these words very seriously. Yes. But then, something was lacking that stopped me from pushing boundaries. I was not able to figure it out.
In 2006, I lost my dad. It was sudden. Even worse was a financial crisis for our little family, with no support from relatives or friends. For me, everything suddenly changed. I was out of my comfort zone. I felt sad and angry inside and started getting violent. I started picking random fights with people on the street — beating them, getting beaten up. But soon, I realized that I was just making things worse. I had a lot of things to say, a lot of knowledge and information to share but I didn’t know how.
I didn’t know how to write music that communicated what was inside my mind. This is when I started doing meditation again. Every day, for a minimum of 1 hour a day. It was very painful and difficult to focus but I didn’t give up. Slowly, after a month, when I decided to write something on guitar, I started imagining story patterns, without caring about my playing techniques and genres of music. I started thinking about the good times with my Dad and all the tough times we had been through. I remembered his words and told myself, “there has to be my own way to tell stories through music.”
This happened because my mind was getting focused and started taking the right direction without letting extra thoughts come in the way. Even though I still had a lot of responsibilities for my family, my head was clear: “I will make great music, I will take care of my family and my art will connect with people – special people.” Anger turned into physical strength. Sadness turned into hope. Creative blocks turned into bricks of inspiration from the universe. And hatred turned into love. The only thing that remained unchanged was my madness, when it came to art.
Meditation helped me in a massive way to start seeing things very differently with an open mind. If I stop meditating, I become cranky, because my artistic mind is very aggressive. Because it is often going through multiple emotions, it needs meditation to be arranged regularly.