The arts have a central place in the integration of meaning as an aspect of Middle Way practice, and amongst the arts, music has a direct emotional impact on us that it is difficult to match. We have always intended to make music (used mindfully) a central part of our retreats at Tirylan House, and we have a piano in a large light sitting room that will be at its best in midsummer used as a space for musical activities. In addition to making and sharing music, on this retreat Robert (who is an amateur classical pianist) will lead discussion on the role of music in Middle Way practice, and as usual on Middle Way Society Retreats, there will also be meditation and free time.
No particular ability or experience in music is needed for this retreat, but you will need to be willing to focus on music as a practice used mindfully, rather than as background noise, and to join in the shared creation of music – even if only simply by banging a drum in time! There will be opportunities both to jam and to share music that inspires us either through performance or through recordings. Please bring a portable instrument if you play one (we have a guitar and a flute), and also if possible scores and/or recordings of music that you have found particularly integrative.
A wonderful metaphor for music and the Middle Way can be found in the Buddha’s parable of the lute strings: here is a version of that story in case you haven’t encountered it.