Archive for March, 2013

4′ 33″

John Cage wrote a landmark piece for piano called 4′ 33″. The performer sits at a piano and plays no notes throughout the three movements of the piece. All they do is turn the pages of the music at the appropriate times.

Where is the “music” here? Instead of the harmonies and rhythms we’re used to considering music to be, the composer is presenting the silence behind all harmonies and rhythms. During the performance you hear audience members coughing and rustling their program notes, whispering to each other, and some even getting up and leaving in disgust. The silence accepts all of it! Even the rumbling of a truck passing by outside.

That is the same silence that is behind all your thoughts and feelings, too. When your favorite pop tune replays itself over and over in your head, the silence is there as the backdrop. It accepts all – good and bad thoughts, music you like or hate, memories of the past and hopes for the future – all live within that silence.

What would happen if you started identifying with the silence behind those thoughts rather than the thoughts themselves?


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