Concentration

Concentration: (n) the action or power of focusing

Pain is insane.

Especially when it is self-induced.

It is an automatic thought that springs into our head: if things aren’t difficult, they’re not real accomplishments.

This is certainly one of the greatest pieces of human foolishness.

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I need to concentrate” without frowning. They are communicating that they are so damn mature that they must go into contortions funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
to acquire achievement.

What the hell?

If life was intended to be difficult, yet we are all universally intended to live it out, how cruel is our Creator? For we are not all suited to the same regimen.

Of course, a certain amount of concentration is necessary to alert the brain to turn off all phones, ignore other messages, and place focus on the project at hand. Undoubtedly.

Yet if that experience is not rewarding–and dare I say, joyous–we will run away from concentration in favor of erratic behavior.

So I taught all of my children, and those who ever came within my earshot, a very simple principle, which both initiates concentration and provides fulfillment through it:

Wherever you are, be there.

Don’t split your attention. Don’t be considering lilies and weeds at the same time.

Allow yourself the glorious blessing and luxury of inhaling the atmosphere which has drifted your way.

 

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Bassoon

Bassoon: (n) a bass instrument of the oboe family with a double reed.Dictionary B

If the goal of every endeavor is to gain fame or money, then we will end up doing very little in our lives–for fear of ending up with something that fails to deliver the goods.

I learned this early.

I made a decision to pursue things that made me happy, giggle or feel inspired. Whether other people found them to be equally as inspirational or entertaining was only secondary to my deep-rooted concern for entertaining myself.

In the process of chasing that philosophy, I found myself in Tennessee working with a partner to begin a symphony in a town that probably was completely uninterested in even learning how to spell the word.

Intelligently, we held our first concert very near Christmas and because of that and the basic human nature to be curious, we had a huge attendance, which seemed to bode well for the project.

I was so excited about the event that I wrote a special composition called Christmas. This particular piece of music began with a sprightly bassoon solo, establishing a bouncy, joyous melody which to me personified the uncontrollable anticipation of a child at Christmas.

We hired a bassoon player who just happened to really love playing the instrument. He didn’t get to perform very often in Tennessee, since there isn’t a high calling for bassoonists among the populace. So when he discovered he was going to get to play this delightful ditty, he practiced and practiced–and by the time of the concert, he literally exploded the musical magic off of his double reed.

When the audience heard the tune being played, they giggled like school children because it was such a pleasant representation of childhood memories.

I love the bassoon because it cannot hide its true personality. It is a growly, jubilant tone foretelling of grandfatherly wisdom … with just enough mischief.

 

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