Exploring Mindfulness through the Blues
A live interactive session of music, creative discovery and listening meditation for healing with songwriter and author Martin Booe.
As any authentic Bluesmaster knows, the only way to fight the blues is with the blues—to take the hardships, insults and catastrophes of life and encase them in a sound so sublime that suffering dissolves on contact. Thus, “the blues” describes both the disease and the cure. The disease is despair. The cure is courage. Blues music itself is the sound of defiance, the physical and sonic expression of heroism in the face of catastrophe.
My ability to rely on music in general and the guitar in particular during that first year sped my emotional and mental recovery up immeasurably. (In fact, it was thanks to the loan of a guitar in rehab that I regained my sense of purpose through music and with it.)
During that first year, I kept finding new ways to express long pent-up feeling through the guitar, returning to the primeval blues styles I’d started learning in college. I was also relying heavily on the Buddhist practice I’d been cultivating for several years, and meditating so intently you’d think my life depended on it, which it did. And somehow I got the idea of bringing meditation and the blues together in a context of eastern philosophy. Learning to channel the blues through voice, instrument or written words is a highly creative way of practicing the Buddhist tradition of lo jong, which teaches us to transform adversity into the spiritual path by learning to regard our difficulties as fuel for spiritual growth.
I’m currently looking for recovery houses to partner with as I hone my Bluescovery Program, which will go something like this: We’ll start with a zen listening meditation, maybe try writing a blues song together, vocalize a bit if I can get people warmed up to it. All of these are activities to stimulate the cortex, get those endorphins pumping and to help process those difficulty feelings of remorse or regret. And maybe I’ll talk a little about my book-in-progress, How to Unkidnap Yourself: Escape from Alcohol.
Please contact me if you’d like to book a Bluescovery session in your rehab facility and be my creative partner in this exciting adventure.