Intuition in Daily Life and in Music
Lecture given by Markus Stockhausen 2nd June 2016 at the congress “Spirituality in Life“ at the Academy Heiligenfeld, Bad Kissingen.
In music and especially in the intuitive music which for some time I have been predominantly playing, it is the spontaneous intuition, the immediate perception of a situation and the creation of music which is essential. For this to come about certain prerequisites are indispensable: command of the instrument so that nothing can impede the flow of ideas, a quiet, perceptive and tranquil spirit, a serene concentration as well as absolute faith in one’s own inner guidance and the intuitive process.
Experience helps considerably. One day I realised that the next step for me would be to play a solo concert and one dedicated completely to intuitive music. I had never considered this before. It was the mid-nineties. I soon realised that this was feasible, that the source of ideas is inexhaustible and that I needn’t worry about finding myself in the embarrassing situation of not knowing where the next idea, the next note would be coming from. Crucial was to remain focussed, not allow myself to be distracted and maintain a high level of concentration. This was something that I had constantly practised over many years playing the demanding works of my father.
Similar to those of the composer, the processes of the intuitive musician are the following: one endeavours to be rested and to have stored enough physical energy before the conscious act of gathering oneself. One begins with an initial emerging idea. If none is present, then wait. A first note is enough. The second will arise, a third, a melody… One sound follows the next. When playing with other musicians a woven pattern of inter-changing ideas arises and one is challenged to the utmost. An inner and outer listening occurs, without which the numerous impulses cannot be transformed into intuitive music.
One’s own feelings, one’s own fantasy, intuition, perception of other sounds, the space, the people present… all these aspects resonate with each other and lead to the next note. In comparison to the interpretation of composed music, in improvisation and especially in intuitive music the moment is everything, everything comes about in the NOW. For this reason I sometimes refer to this form of musicality as Yoga which leads to a higher level of consciousness and attentiveness.
All this does not mean that each time we start at the beginning. The complete range of our personal experience remains unconsciously available. What a blessing! This also applies, however, to the collective wealth of experience which enables us to discover music which otherwise would never have arisen in any single musician. This music is clearly inspired by others who have gone before us. One thinks immediately of the morphogenetic fields. I have occasionally experienced this in jazz: in a particular atmosphere, playing with highly talented musicians I have begun to resonate with a style alien to me but one to which I could respond and immediately express.
Everything that I have learnt, my musical knowledge and ability, my aesthetics that have developed over the years, the skill that I have achieved on my instrument – as long as I remain fit and healthy and endeavour to improve – this all is available to me in the moment, in the now. Also the process of thought plays a helpful role and is an instrument of recognition, knowledge and action. The existence of a higher intelligence, which guides the music as if by an invisible hand, is of central importance as well. Here lies a wonderful mystery and it is as if higher beings desire harmonious musical situations which are interwoven with impulses of light and strength, provided the musician desires this, too. These are powerful words but words that attempt to describe reality.
How does intuition come about in daily life?
It is the connection to a higher consciousness in us and a renewed perspective which elevate us above the day to day occurrences which are bound in time and space.
If we deduce our answers and solutions exclusively from external circumstances and from everyday situations, then these answers will be limited and we will repeat only what we are accustomed to. This is something that is clearly visible in the modern world where old and hardened structures are compulsively repeated through fear of anything new. Collectively we strive for progress. However, if we detach ourselves from external constraints and connect with the infinite, timeless consciousness within us and which, after all, is our very essence, we arrive at completely different insights, conclusions and results.
Only when all constraints are overcome does a higher and more expansive viewpoint unfold itself. This allows a flow of perception and information fed from an entirety, always fresh and always tailored to the respective situation in everyday life. This sounds momentous but in reality is unspectacular and often happens spontaneously.
Let us consider mankind’s development of consciousness on earth: how long it takes until we have developed individually…how short a life on earth is! It is only with the help of boundless experience and recurring existences that we develop and achieve differentiation in feeling and thought, enabling us to grasp complex structures and be nourished by noble feelings. A purity of heart and deep-felt motivation is crucial or one will find oneself on the wrong path, after all.
The greatest thinkers, artists and scientists have always had a complex and mature personality enabling them comprehensive intuition and the creation of things which remain ground breaking for us all. But even so, they were not always immune to false or imperfect action. Being human needs to be learnt. A simply structured mind will receive and reflect simple ideas while a highly differentiated mind can access completely different realities and make them visible. Goethe, Johann Sebastian Bach, Einstein and many others have shaped our culture. How highly developed must those beings who created such a breathtakingly complex ecosystem and continue to maintain its balance actually be?
Intuition finds its source in a higher consciousness, a spiritual verticality that stands out from the horizontal dimension of the collective consciousness surrounding us. I would like to elaborate on this theme. The horizontal represents the time and space of worldly matters while verticality stands for all that is timeless and the active influx of cosmic power and intelligence always taking place in the now. The symbol of the Cross. In the body, or more poetically expressed, in the heart, these two dimensions – the physical-material and the spiritual – meet. An awakened heart lives and feels in the world and is inspired by the supernatural intelligence which guides creation with immeasurable goodness and wisdom. And we are part of this intelligence.
It is the same intelligence that keeps all life constantly in motion and brings renewal; the source of everything living. How can I become aware of this other, fundamental dimension within me? How can I become permeable for it, experience, apply and integrate it in my daily life and thus recognise my true nature, always accessible, always present? All spiritual paths have attempted to answer this question. Ultimately it is an individual process of becoming conscious.
It is therefore a question of a shift in consciousness away from the constant and exclusive coupling with the needs of the outside world – to which our thoughts often belong – and towards our ever-present, silent inner space. It is the balancing act of being equally aware in both our inner and outer beings. Only through constant reminding and practise can this succeed and be more and more perceived as natural and even effortless – because this dimension is always available, always direct, spontaneous and always right.
A clear, silent mind leads me to intuition. How do I achieve this clarity? By calming the mind, by purifying it of all ideas and distractions, all forms of identification. This needs to be practised. It is not easy to escape from the allure of collective thought and emotion and in doing so begin to really experience one’s own spiritual impulses. The preparation involved encompasses an inner orientation towards the higher aspect in us. Mental activity – our ability to think – needs to be broadened and also our capacity for feeling must become more differentiated. A spiritual path of learning is prescribed, an integral Yoga which encompasses all areas of life and which prepares us to absorb higher resonance and, of course, to perceive this resonance in the first place.
Meditation, yoga, singing – there are many ways open to us today. Even short moments of quiet during the day can help us connect with our inner being until eventually we are continually permeable, connected and conscious. As a result, intuition can then arise from within and becomes a flow of inspiration and this is instantly recognizable.
A quiet mind is at peace with itself. True work in the service of peace is transformation of one’s own nature. Intuition is a trusting acceptance of our own spirit-wisdom’s guidance, a guidance free of all external influence. Then the small things in everyday actions are felt to have the same standing as those significant and far-reaching decisions that lead us and our lives in ever new directions.
Finally, the words of a beloved teacher which apply to both everyday life and music in the best possible way: It is sufficient to comprehend the next step and act accordingly. Applied to intuitive music: the next note. And then the following occurs. In deep trust we move into the stream of a comprehensive, spiritual intelligence which wisely shapes and inspires our existence. The source in me, in you, in everything.
Translation: Jeremy Deacon