When Less Is More!
I have a new meditation album out - you can buy it here - but it took me five months to finish it! Writing the scripts for the meditations was fairly straight forward, once I'd decided on the topic for the album, as was recording them. The music for the first tracks came easily but for some reason I just couldn't find the muse for the long meditation.
The way I write the music relies on meditating on the subject and sitting at my piano noodling until something feels right. My feeling about meditation music is that it shouldn't be intrusive. If you're there listening to it and you say "ooh nice key change" - or something similar, then to my mind it's not done its job effectively. It needs to be there filling in the gaps but not distracting you from focussing on the task in hand. It would be very easy to do the generic sweep pads and sustained strings that many meditations use but everyone does that! I aim to write simple, (hopefully) pleasing melodies that enhance the meditative experience. I am also aware that some people prefer ambient noise or no noise at all when meditating, which is why I offer these as a special order...but I digress!
On my first album (Meditations For Winter Celebrations) I orchestrated the music which took a while - and upon listening again recently, while I'm very pleased with what I produced, I do feel that it's perhaps too much. Stripping back the music to just piano I think has made a more effective album...though of course time will tell when (if) I get feedback from the album.
It occurred to me that sometimes, in life, we just need to get back to basics. We over complicate things by doing too much, overthinking, over indulging and so on. That is not to say that we should do the bare minimum, but I believe that we should also know when to stop. Going above and beyond that which is expected is a decent thing to do, but continually adding stuff to it isn't always going to be effective.
The trouble with modern technology, being what it is, every gadget and gizmo needs to do a million-and-one other things in addition to that which the item was first designed. You need to ask yourself whether you need all these things and if you don't then is there any real reason for going for it, when there is another model that will do what you want to do and that's that? Of course a lot of us buy the latest gadget because it's fashionable and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that if you want to have a fashion statement on you at all times - as long as you're doing it for you and not to show off or impress people - which is a whole topic of conversation for another time perhaps!
One of my favourite pieces of music is Spiegel Im Spiegel by Arvo Part - a piece written for Piano and Violin. It is truly relaxing - mesmerising even. A string quartet did a recording of it and while it is very good I can't help but feel that the original is so much better because of its simplicity. Adding too many elements loses its innocence for me. I'm all for experimentation - after all how else do we discover new things. But I think that one needs to be candid and not be afraid to cut stuff out if it's too much.
Getting one present of a 24 carat diamond ring from someone who had it made especially for you because they love you, is perhaps worth more than the same amount being spent on lots and lots of items. Less is more - especially when done for the right reasons!