Monday, 24 February 2014

Day 46: Sleeeeep

What went well? 

  1. Had an awesome singing lesson today. We worked on Mozart's Ach Ich Fühl's (Pamina's aria from The Magic Flute), and communicating and staging it. It was really helpful since I'm planning to sing it for my casting call for Opera Scenes this weekend.
  2. Intro to Buddhism was awesome and intense as usual. I've never had a professor who's been quite so...dramatic. Literally, he acts out all the stories he tells. And it is so effective.

What did I learn? 

  • Even one night of insufficient sleep (6.5 hours rather than 7.5 or 8 hours) is enough to give me headaches! Sleep is always important.
  • On the "acting" side of singing: If the audience can't see your eyes, they get disconnected. I was looking down because Pamina's pretty dejected in this song, but really I should be looking just over the audience (it's also awkward for them to make eye contact).
  • Various stories in Buddhism:
    • Kisa Gotami, a woman who went mad after her baby died and went from hut to hut in a village asking for medicine for the dead baby. Eventually she got to the Buddha, who told her that he had medicine, but she needed to bring him mustard seeds from a hut where the family had never experienced death. Kisa Gotami went from hut to hut and learned that there was SO MUCH SUFFERING AND PAIN in every single family, that everyone goes through it, not just her. The point was that it is difficult to show warmth (Karuna) when you are in pain, unless you can understand that you share pain with others, so that instead of creating two separate selves, you share a mutual understanding.
    • Some monk made a vow to meditate until he achieved awakening. He tried for 12 years, then another 12 years, then another 12 years. Nothing. Resigned, he left the cave and stumbled upon a dying dog with maggots eating out a wound. He wanted to get the maggots off the dog, but didn't want to spoil their fun either. So, he made a gash in his own shoulder and decided to transfer the maggots to his own wound, but then, it occurred to him that the maggots might get cold on the way. So, he transferred them with his TONGUE (ew!!!!!), and at that moment, the dog transformed into the Buddha (I know right, what?!), and the monk achieved awakening because the point was that you can only get so far if you only pay attention to yourself, if you only have compassion for yourself. Awakening requires serving others, no matter who they are. It requires indifference in this regard.
  • I want to cultivate Karuna (warmth/love). I think this is the element of kindness that I need to work on most. It's easy to be compassionate towards the "needy", but it's not so easy to be warm all the time to everyone on a day-to-day basis, without distinction of "worthiness".

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