Moving Beyond Boundaries

We can't help but be a product of our upbringing, of our influences, and of the things we find enjoyable. I know for all of my musical endeavors that I am a sort of focal point for the things I have encountered over my life. You can find that with any artist. You can't be what you're not, unless you are seeking some artificial commercial success (some people call this selling out).

The Scope of All Things

For me, everything is focused through the lens of being a musician/percussionist, as well as a writer. While for the past 40 years I'm mostly self-taught (autodidact for you Europeans reading this) in both music and writing, my younger years in high school and university were filled with intense studying with a variety of teachers that gave me a solid foundation to build from. 

I still study today, but in a much broader context. My study in music is not limited to percussion, but encompasses many other fields that ultimately inform my percussion playing. After all these years, I see the broader perspective of art as being all part of the same whole. Thus my studies in science, philosophy and spirituality are really studies in percussion. I tend to eschew labels and erase boundaries that mostly compartmentalize what I/we do. 

Do you see labels as boundaries holding you back?

Labels And Definitions As Boundaries

It's not that I don't like labels—I too find them convenient to describe what I am/do, or what others are/do—but I don't want them to be limiting. And I don't want them to exclude everything else I am and do, because I think that all artists are really the sum of the whole person, not just 1 or 2 parts.

But it's not easy to leave labels behind. When talking to people, especially promoters, it's necessary to tell them that “I do X.” But then that excludes the fact that I also do Y, Z, and LMNOP. But for their intents and purposes they are only interested in X, and it probably doesn't matter to them that Y, Z, and LMNOP are not only a part of X, but are actually X itself! In an ideal world, I would just let my art speak for itself: “Here I am. This is what I do. Take what you want/need.” As my spiritual teacher, Singal Rinpoche, is fond of saying, “Everything is everything else.”

What Really Is Art As A Spiritual Practice?

For many, the context of spiritual refers to some sort of supreme entity/deity. For others, it pertains more to a cosmological outlook. I see the word spiritual in a much broader context to encompass any and everything (again focused through a lens of experience). Thus everything I do/am is spiritual, leading to my art and life as a spiritual practice, meaning that practicing my art/life is my temple, is my church. And out of this context I see no boundaries or definitions between the different things that I do, that I am.

I am me.

Be spiritual.
Be everything.
Be you.

~ MB


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