Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy


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Forget Time and Be Here Now

I am going through “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle for the second
time. I believe that he is a living example of that which he talks about,
and is a great spiritual teacher.

Thank you for providing a wonderful example such as Mr. Tolle.

Get ready for what will seem to not make sense at all. It is an
experience.

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Our linear concept of time does not serve us well in many ways, but
I suppose there is a wisdom and safety in starting out with it. There is nothing
but a big fat now. I have always felt this, and when I read books with any cosmic
truth, especially lately, the resonance in me
is clear.

Ever since I was a little child I saw this problem with the clock.
Right now it is 6:19:40. Right now it is 6:19:55. Right now it is
6:20:15. And now I am proofreading at 6:56:45 am. NOW.

The right now is never the problem. It’s the projection forward or backwards.
I saw – the old ‘right now’ no longer exists, because all that could possibly
be is this ‘right now’. The old right now is an idea. And now becomes the old
“right now” if we think this way. Really it’s just now.

Now, the ‘right’ now has everything in it all at once. The mental boundaries
of past-present-future are fabricated, unreal, imaginary. Just the same way
a curled up rope can be taken for a snake.

Equate everything that you have, are and ever will experience to “white light”.
All the colors of the spectrum are contained within white light. If a
prism were held up to that, you experience “refractions” of that which seem
like different “now” points, or colors. A “now” point is simply a refraction
of the all-that-is “white light”.

This defies how we think. We think the past had to be back then, but it
is right now. The future is right now. The only place that time is a
linear series – is in our minds.

Imagine life as a huge infinite FM radio station. Any frequency can be dialed
in, and all are available to us at anytime.

Imagine the following scenarios as “stations”, for example:

Walking in the mountains
Sending Email
Eating pizza for lunch
Buying shoes
Meditating
Playing Guitar

Each has a certain vibe and feeling. When we experience these, it is that
we have “tuned in” to that station, so to speak. That “frequency” has
become active. A frequency is either active or dormant.

All things are rising and falling, active and dormant.

So when I hike in the mountains, I don’t perceive the string of time that
got me there, or the events that happened in between now and the last time
I did this activity. I simply perceive the feeling that I know to be the
mountains to be currrently active. I am tuned into the “mountains” radio
station. I feel like I am “back” at the mountain vibe.

How many times have you said “I can remember it just like yesterday”. Well,
“years ago” is closer than you think. Yesterday, years ago, now, and the future
are all right now. Only as humans, we see through the prism and can only
see the so-called “present” moment. To see further than the string of time, an
inner vision must awaken.

Have you ever worked somewhere, gone on vacation, and come back only to
feel that you “never left”? Here’s why: you are actually “tuned in” to the
“station” of your workplace again. Forget the line of time – think “radio
stations”.

How does the ocean feel about time?

If you run your hand under the water faucet and feel the flow, just think of
how many millions of past-present-futures are happening at once in the now.

Is the first word of this sentence in your past or present?

Is the next sentence in your future or present? How long will it take for
the next sentence to be in your past?

How does my grandmother, who died, feel about time right now?
Where did she go? Where was she before she was born?

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Aren’t you starting to see that the rationality of time – past, present
future is just another delusion?

This is evident in music. Go dancing and see what reigns supreme – the high
feeling from being in a groove, or did you count how many bars of music went by?

Stop counting, beats, seconds, minutes, days, years. Be here now.

Defy your own rationality, you’ll be happy you did.


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Some Mumbo Jumbo and a Music Lesson

Last Sunday I had a nice long shmooz with my father and mentioned to him that I was keeping a blog. When he asked what it was about (he figured it was all about guitar) I told him, “well I write what’s on my mind concerning personal development, guitar, spirituality, online promotion and law of attraction.”

“Stay away from the mumbo jumbo” he said. I think he had my survival in mind and figured I’d turn people off with other quasi-spiritual banter. I think he felt that my blog should be about guitar and music so that I can sell merchandise or links and help my survival.

I suppose if I was younger I would have been vibed out by a parental disapproval incident, but with a big fat smile on my face I said “too late!”.

The most helpful info that I got from my older music teachers often had no musical content, but was psychology and spirituality. As the mind and spirit fall into the right groove, great music and an abundant career pour out into your life from a whole different angle.

I have seen it time and time again in my own life and career.

=-=-=-=-

If there is one thing that I can say to you, with every ounce of love in my heart and every molecule of compassion that I have, no matter who you are and what you do it is this: you get what you think about, whether you want it or not.

So, this is in fact a music lesson.

I hear how some musicians see others who have made a big career and say “so and so isn’t that good” – and their career is in a place that they’d like to improve. I have seen musicians repeatedly take low paying jobs or even find that they can’t survive as a musician and say “gigs don’t pay enough”.

I have also seen musicians effortlessly soar and learn at warp speed and show brilliance too! I have seen musicians arrive in NYC with a goal and accomplish it faster than veterans who have been here for years.

What do they all have in common? They are using the same force in 2 different ways – the law of attraction. Everyone is getting what they are envisioning, and more importantly – feeling.

What are some things a musician can do to get better, improve one’s career, and enjoy playing? Here’s just a few tips:

1. Appreciate Yourself

Appreciate yourself and stop beating yourself up. This is the worst poison a musician can digest. Many musicians think that a self inflicted beating is good, right and will improve their music. No. That’s wrong, take it from me.

Whose approval do you want anyway? The feeling of approval only comes from inside, so give yourself some. It’s okay, and it doesn’t cost anything. You can do it all day if you want. Can you let go of wanting approval and just be? Yummy-ness awaits you right here. Let go of wanting approval, and be on the lookout for this state of wanting.

The more faults you see in yourself, the more you get. The more good you see, the more you get, so see the good.

2. Appreciate Others

It is such a trap to criticize others, and once you do – the self criticizing happens. The 2 go hand in hand. It feels bad. It’s weird – but when I have found fault with others, within a week I find the same fault in myself. It is a downward spiral.

The more faults you see in others, the more you get for yourself. The more good you see, the more you get.

If you are in a groove of finding fault with yourself and others it may feel “phony” for you to start making the shift. Just find one thing that’s good either in yourself or someone else. Don’t try to “stop criticizing” but “start appreciating”. Like “wow, they have a great tone” or “that melody is pretty” or “I appreciate how hard so and so had to work at that” or “wow, they play great in the upper register”. Any little good you can find will nourish you.

If you can’t find any good in a situation then think back to ANYTHING that you appreciate, like a pet. Activate your psyche into appreciation mode.

Rather than racking my brain and leaving something out, here’s a little list of qualities that will either get you in the right direction or inspire you. This is from a site I found online regarding “abundance” – which does not just mean money. It means fulfillment in all areas, music being no exception – composing, playing, career and all that.

The positive quality is the first one listed, and is followed by the opposite. Check yourself to see and use “appreciation” as a tool to get yourself on the positive side. I will leave you with this today.

1. Honoring your worth and time/ Not honoring your worth and time
2. Giving and receiving freely/ Not giving or being open to receive.
3. Opening your heart/ Closing your heart.
4. Expecting the best to happen/ Worrying that the worst will happen.
5. Coming from your heart/ Getting into power struggles.
6. Doing your best/ Cutting corners.
7. Wanting everyone to succeed, cooperating/ Competing
8. Focusing on how you can serve others/ Thinking only of what others will give you.
9. Telling yourself why you can succeed/ Telling yourself why you can’t succeed.
10. Coming from your integrity/ Compromising your values and ideals.
11. Being aware and paying attention/ Operating on automatic.
12. Applauding others’ success/ Feeling threatened by others’ success.
13. Embracing your challenges/ Choosing safety and comfort over growth.
14. Releasing things easily/ Hanging on to things.
15. Believing it’s never too late, taking action on your dreams/ Thinking it’s too late, giving up.
16. Giving yourself permission to be and do what you want/ Waiting for others to give you permission
17. Believing your path is important/ Not believing in your path.
18. Doing what you love for your livelihood/ Working only for the money.
19. Detaching, surrendering to your higher good/ Feeling needy or that you must have something.
20. Giving to other’s prosperity/ Giving to other’s need.
21. Doing your higher purpose activities first/ Putting off higher purpose activities until you have more time.
22. Seeing yourself as the source of your abundance/ Viewing others as the source of your abundance.
23. Believing in abundance/ Believing in scarcity
24. Believing in yourself, self-confidence, self-love/ Worrying, fears, doubts, self-criticism.
25. Clear intent and directed will/ Vague or undefined goals.
26. Following your joy/ Forcing yourself, creating “have to’s” and “should’s”
27. Surrounding yourself with objects that reflect your aliveness/ Keeping objects that aren’t tools to express your aliveness.
28. Expressing gratitude and thanks/ Feeling the world owes you.
29. Trusting in your ability to create abundance/ Worrying over finances.
30. Following your inner guidance/ Ignoring inner guidance.
31. Looking for a winning solution for everyone/ Not caring if the other person wins.
32. Becoming your own authority/ Not believing in your inner wisdom.
33. Measuring abundance as fulfilling your purpose and happiness/ Measuring abundance only by how much money you have.
34. Enjoying the process as much as the goal/ Doing things only for the goal.
35. Clear agreements/ Unspoken or vague expectations.
36. Thinking how far you have come/ Focusing on how far you have to go.
37. Speaking of abundance/ Talking about problems and lack.
38. Remembering past successes/ Remembering past failures.
39. Thinking in expanded, unlimited ways/ Thinking in limited ways.
40. Think of how you will create money/ Thinking of how you need money.
41. Focusing on what you love and want/ Focusing only on what you don’t want.
42. Allowing yourself to have/ Feeling you don’t deserve to have.


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Forget Results

Yesterday I had a delicious Sunday. I chilled out completely, meditated, allowed my apartment to organize itself and most importantly – let myself off the hook. That’s a scary thing to do here – in America, because the collective vibe here is that if you are doing nothing, you are lazy.

Partying with friends is not relaxation. Obsessing about career is not relaxation. Feeling that things need to get done is not relaxation. There is still an agenda, still a carrot in front of you, a tightness in the chest. To simply let things be, be totally completely happy with them as they are, be at peace and to breathe deep – is relaxation, or at least the beginning.

Relaxation is not easy to get to if you are wound tight. It’s like the transition from ice to steam. You can’t go right from ice to steam- first the water needs to melt and then get to room temperature. Then it needs to heat and eventually get to a boil.

So if we want to relax, we need to allow ourselves the transition time and we need to practice making these transitions within. The better we get, the more practiced the relaxed state is, and we can get there more quickly and easily. Meditation, breathing deeper, appreciating life – all help one to relax.

Something triggered a memory yesterday of something my mentor taught me, something I had forgotten. This thought enabled further relaxation so I thought I’d share it with you here.

“Don’t look for results” he’d tell me, as I tackled new musical territory. “Just put the time in”.

I needed to remember this because I found that I was looking at certain aspects of my music career with an urgency. Yesterday I had an agenda of who I needed to send materials to, gigs I needed to get, nervousness about survival – essentially I had all the necessary ingredients to ruin a perfectly great Sunday!

And then, I heard “Don’t look for results” in my mind and thought about it. When you look for results, you never get the full joy of participating in what you are actually doing because part of the awareness is looking to keep score, to see if there is a payoff.

This is akin to planting a seed and looking every 5 minutes to see if it is growing. Does a seed start growing 5 minutes after it’s planted? On some level it does. But isn’t it nicer to forget about it and be surprised by the flower that blooms out of it?

With enough practice a gardner knows full well that the seed will grow into a flower. Can we operate in our lives with that same confidence? Can we believe something before we seee it?

Why not try?

All at once yesterday, it came to me. “How could my dreams NOT manifest? They always have. I have dreamt and accomplished so much…surely the new aspirations will bloom by themselves, just as the old ones have.”

And I am not pouring pink paint over this for the sake of a good blog entry. It was true. I saw that there is no way that they won’t happen. Can I wait and be patient? Yes. Can I savor the journey? Yes.

Most importantly, the relaxed delicious journey is the goal itself. Your relaxed delicious journey is the goal itself. The manifestation of one’s dreams is nice too, but the experience of creating and knowing that your “flower will grow” is the joy of life.

Looking for the seed to sprout, the impatience involved, the anxiety that it might not grow, the digging it up – is all resistance. To know deeply that the flower is on it’s way and not look for it is the delicious “art of allowing”.

Simply allow your asking, your goals, your dreams – to appear in your life.


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Letting Go of Feelings

It’s official. I had taken the bait.

All my life I have added so much angst, drama and importance to my work, which has been mainly music.

It has been so much more than just music – it has been the basis of relationships with people, the needing approval from my father and father figures (usually teachers), fans – being a guitar god to the guys, being attractive to the ladies. I like ‘showing all those people’ who said I couldn’t do it that I can.

And then – the relationship with myself. I’m cool if I am playing with so and so musician, I’m cool if I have such and such a gig, I’m not cool if I have this other gig. If my chops are up, I approve of myself. If not, I beat myself up real good.

If am on tour I can say “yeah man I’m on tour” yet if I am not, I feel like a stay at home loser….

This is the biggest insane ego trip in the world, with many facets which stem back all the way to my childhood. The trip (but not the music) have made me miserable at times. The funny thing is, these are just feelings. Nothing to do with music, yet these psychic things surround the music.

As I embarked on this new acoustic guitar journey I felt the freshness of the rocket of a new desire, and I found it devoid of all this ego stuff that I associated with my experience playing jazz. The feeling was a detached playfulness – I didn’t care what anyone thought; no career was riding on these decisions, I could care less about the people in the scene…but slowly all these things descended into my reality.

It did not take long to bring my old mindset to this new music. It’s the idea that no matter where you move, you bring your baggage with you.

When I saw that these old feelings were here with the new career idea / music direction, something was in fact different than the last time I felt all these feelings. The last time, I thought it was the world doing it to me, the drama, the struggle and so on. Now I am seeing – wait a minute – these feelings are my creation, because they were not here before. I am responsible.

This is not a “beating myself up” in assuming responsibility. This is really hopeful – because if I can see a way out of these miserable feelings, I can move ahead in life.

I sat down to take a time out yesterday (and I will be doing this more) and really wanted to unlock these “tight” constrictive feelings. In the Sedona Method / Release technique there are ways to pose questions to yourself and stir up feelings, and then techniques to deal with those feelings.

I asked myself “Can I live without this music career? No more gigs, recordings, approval from others, tours, websites and all that. Can I let it all go?”

Upon asking, I had this feeling of letting go as if the weight of the world were lifted off my shoulders. I felt like “wow, it’s just me & the universe all over again”, and I could be right there in the moment, hearing traffic out my window, breathing in and out – happily. I felt like a kid. In my gut, I shifted from resistance to allowing things to just be as they are. Peace.

It’s not that I planned on quitting anything, but wanted to let go of these negative emotions. I was able to continue the work on my guitar website without the angst, importance and stress I was previously feeling. The Sedona Method and Release Technique go way further than what I have described, but part of their goal is to let go of the negative feelings so that the natural well-being of a situation can flow, unimpeded.

Now it’s clear to me. My goal in life is this – to be clear and happy. From this clarity, happiness, and serenity well-being and abundance will flow in whatever I do. Always has, always will. Whenever I have been in the right psycho / spiritual place, the world out there falls into place. And whenever I have had turmoil inside, I get turmoil outside.

(exhale….quiet).


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Rock vs. Jazz, Part 1

Rock and pop musicians can learn a lot from jazz musicians. Jazz musicians can learn a lot from rock musicians though – and this is what I find more interesting!

The rockers can learn about harmony, melody, rhythm, counterpoint, form, technique, practicing, swing, and great tunes of years past. I have taught many rock / blues / folk guitarists who soaked up this new knowledge and are amazed that it even exists.

Jazz musicians can learn about this though – that rock / pop musicians have to take responsibility for getting a following, having a mailing list and putting butts in the seats at gigs. Ok, the big jazz names like George Benson draw a crowd, but for the most part this is a foreign idea to jazzers.

What I am talking about is that even local rock bands & performers have to live with the reality of bringing an audience to a gig whereas jazz musicians usually don’t.

Many local jazz musicians are hired to play background music. Even if it is a jazz club, it is in a sense background music. Patrons go expecting to hear a great band, and maybe go because they are familiar with the band. Even at a jazz festival where bigger names play, the audience is built in, and attendance is not the performers problem. Big companies fund the festivals and record companies get their acts on as promo.

This situation allows many jazz performers to play music that may not be 100% appealing to people, since pleasing the audience is “not their problem” nor is a return crowd. They didn’t necesarily get the gig because of crowd appeal. There is the possibility for a disconnect here between “getting the gig”, “playing the gig” and “drawing / pleasing the audience”.

Ok – this is NOT true for all jazz performers. Some musicians learned in an environment where energy and entertainment value was supremely important.

What I am saying is this: for many jazz performers, even the highly entertaining ones, drawing an audience is an afterthought, whereas for a rock / pop musician it is everything.

It’s easy for a jazz musician to defend and say “my job is to play music – it’s the venue’s job to get the people”. And while I know nothing of promoters yet, I am talking about the nitty-gritty hands on, “getting people to a gig” work that musicians in other genres need to do.

I need to enter this realm of the butts in the seat being my responsibility. This is a rude awakening. Ouch. Is this fun? Am I looking forward to it? Is it my problem?

Frankly, I see this as a really cool challenge. Because once I have a following (in the acoustic world) nobody can take that away from me. I’m not thrilled with the busy work of mailing lists, phone calls and “it being my problem” – but in sheer dollars and cents, if I can draw a crowd – that makes me more desirable. Gigs can get bigger and better, and more people will want to hire me.

There is just a mercenary honesty to this that somehow appeals to me. An executive can’t flick an off switch and turn your following “off”.

When one considers the idea that CD’s are on the way out, (who knows what kind of pirating with Mp3’s will go on) – the concentration on live show, and the merchandise sold there is more important than ever.


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Letting Go of Wanting

The past few days, I have been doing what many musicians do. Non-stop self promotion, in the form of re-designing and working / coding my new website. This stirs up a lot of feelings.

In the “Release Technique” course that I am always studying and referring to – the founder Lester Levenson describes that you can get anything you want in life by releasing, (i.e. releasing negative and positive emotions surrounding the issue).

I (and possibly you) have been taught that we need to “work hard” to achieve our goals. Also we’ve never been taught that “wanting” can be detrimental to one’s psyche, and the achieving of those goals. We’ve been taught to accept disappointment when we don’t get what we want – or bulldoze the other guy if we really want something really bad enough (even if it means ulcers, being miserable, or killing other people)

I am fascinated by the process of releasing the surrounding emotions so that a goal can manifest by itself, the way a cool breeze comes in the window, without effort.

Lester goes further to say that when we arrive at what is called the “hootless state” where we don’t give a hoot whether we get our goal or not, – we are well on our way to getting it.

So, in the midst of my PHP / HTML coding fury (and I am still not done) I asked myself – “can I let go of the feeling of wanting that all of this is bringing up? The wanting of career, gigs, a better career, tours and the like?”

The further inquiry was “has this ‘wanting’ feeling ever achieved anything?”. No, it has only made me stressed and unhappy.

Looking back to goals that I have achieved, I see that the needy, “gimme”, wanting approval, security and control feelings, and the resistance – all actually had very little to do with the actual manifestation of the goal. Much of it is, was and has been self induced drama. One could seriously make a TV show out of all of it.

The only process that has ever gotten the goal is –

1. Ask – which ultimately has to be envisioning it in the here and now.

2. It is Answered

3. It is Given – so get the “wanting” feelings out of the way, and relax.

It seems to simple in the abstract – as you read. But to really inquire when we are in a charged emotional state of this “wanting” – to catch ourselves and allow the wanting to fall away – is where the next level (at least for me) is.

When I did ask myself the question “can I let go of wanting this?” I realized I was no further away from my goal. I saw that I have in fact achieved everything I have wanted to, and that it was from a state of inner peace that answers, people, results and happiness came – without any effort on my behalf.

Ironically, when I ask myself “can I let go of wanting this”, I feet closer to the achievement of it. My whole body relaxes, and I experience the true fact that I am complete, happy, serene, and perfect right where I am right now. I am at peace.

Our mental states are like different “places” we can visit. The place of serenity, clarity, peace, love and timelessness is a great place to be. In that place, we can receive what we’ve asked for. It is devoid of the wanting, the neediness, the urge to control.

And as I let the feeling of wanting drop away…

I can taste it. I can feel it here and now. I can see it. Thank you. It is given unto me.