Music and Fantasy.

I wonder if anyone remembers a time before iPods?

I never had one in Tokyo, despite the seduction of all the new and improved technology. I didn’t have one. Walking through that city is like living inside a video game. You don’t need to fantasise. The city is your  f a n t a s y .

When I moved to Melbourne everyone had iPods. People actually made fun of me for not having one. Which was funny to me, cause little did they know…

Virtually overnight I was surrounded by earphoned zombies, each marching to their own separate tune. F a n t a s i s i n g .

A friend of mine moved to London a couple of months ago and gave me his iPod as a thank you present for taking him under my wing and showing him the ropes when he first landed, all fresh faced in the City of T.

I was grateful for the gift. It made my main mode of transport– walking– somewhat swifter. Hills weren’t as steep. Nights weren’t as dark, trapsing home, and depending on my choice of soundtrack I’d move through the city a hell of a lot faster. Marching to my own beat. And f a n t a s i s i n g .

Have you ever noticed the looks on peoples faces as they walk through the city, listening to music?

They walk taller, the feel more important. Some pose. Some smile. But only ever to themselves. It’s a private march. A secret world. A fantasy world.

I was discussing this yesterday with a friend. She let me talk for ages, which was flattering. She said that she wasn’t quite sure what I meant at first, but eventually came to agree with me.

“You’re right!” She said. “It is a fantasy! And all of my suffering comes from fantasies.”

Nice point.

Thanks friend.

She then asked me how we switch the fantasy off. How we come to be aware. Pay attention. Walk with our eyes open.

I mentioned that I’ve been reading and working my way through Julia Cameron’s second installment to The Artists Way.

Cameron’s book changed my life. It’s since changed the lives of a lot of people I know. My mother actually always keeps a copy wrapped and ready to offer as a gift whenever necessary, which I think is kind of cute. And very much in line with my mothers generosity. She also keeps baby boots wrapped in the event someone suddenly gives birth or falls pregnant, which may be a blog for another time.

Cameron’s second installment: Finding Water– The Art of Perserverance– is another 12 week program in harnessing your creative goals. One of the first exercises she get’s the reader the complete is a one hour silent walk.

The time, she writes, is to be spent meditating on your ambitions. Thinking. Not fantasising.

I’ve found this tool incredibly useful. Empowering even.

I was discussing this book yesterday with the same friend I mentioned earlier, who’s actually come to have quite a few mentions over the last few days as we’re both working really hard on our writing. And, you know, ’cause she’s 6ft2.

Anyway, she asked me how I managed to switch the noise off in my head. How I managed to turn off the daydreaming and tune in to the really serious business of thinking and workshopping.

I said my answer was simple:

My answer is savasana.

Savasana (or Dead Body pose) is a Bikram yoga position all unto its own. It’s performed at the end of the standing series and then in between every single posture completed during the floor series.

It’s functions are as follows:

  • Returns cardiovascular circulation to normal
  • Slows heart rate, reduces blood pressure
  • Teaches complete relaxation
  • Stills and focuses the mind. , etc.

When I first started Bikram yoga, about three years ago, I found this posture to be one of the hardest to complete with  i n t e g r i t y .

The instructor will always advise the student to quiet the mind, focus on a single spot on the ceiling and think of absolutely nothing for two minutes.

This is more challenging then it may seem. Anyone that engages in as much as yoga as I do will know what I’m talking about.

Initially the mind wanders.

You think about your day. Your job. Money. Your lover. Your family. The load of laundry you forgot to hang out. Your five year plan. Anything but nothing.

But that’s cheating.

It’s also lying.

You’re lying to yourself about your ability to have complete and utter control over your mind.

It’s only two minutes and even in the ‘hot torture chamber’ two minutes of doing nothing seems harder than a lot of the other postures you’re required to complete.

So why are we so utterly shit at being still? At quietening our minds? At savasana?

I’ve thought a lot about this and have learned through my own practice that modern man, or at least modern western man, get’s a real kick out of being busy. Seeming useful. Appearing frenetic.

But it doesn’t serve us.

Worrying and fantasising and wondering don’t serve us. They just busy the mind and distract it from the real subject at hand. Our bodies. Our health.

This particular posture is actually fairly similar to the entire philosophy behind Vipassana meditation also.

If we can successfully stop our mind from wandering. Harness our innate ability to meditate, to breath and to focus on the sensations in our own bodies we can actually solve any problem. ANY problem at all.

But we seldom do.

Because it’s hard. Because it seems futile. Because it looks like we’re doing nothing.

Bikram Choudhury says his way is the the hard way and the hard way is the right way.

Try it sometime.


“A woman watches her body uneasily, as though it were an unreliable ally in the battle for love.”     – Leonard Cohen.


Finding Water: Julia Cameron.

4 Responses to “Music and Fantasy.”
  1. Papa says:

    You know what I found on Hydra?
    And it was sweet.

    (past resident of a household of 9)

  2. Simon says:

    I have to say that I don’t have an iPod and I kind of find it weird to have one. Ironically, or actually maybe not but I had one in Melbourne and it was great!

    I think you are right about the fantasy side of walking to Music. Instead of dreaming about what I am going to do I am now thinking about it and I find music is too distracting!

    I actually think that savasana has helped with this process as well, though I learned the practice through Iyenga Yoga. I have found that it has given me the ability to process my thoughts more clearly instead of them being a chaotic/frantic mess. Though it is strange as you would not know it from a conversation with me.

  3. Haha. Funny. I did not know you were in to Iyenga. Learn something new every day. x.

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