I came across some notes I wrote last summer when I was thinking about processes. Take, for example, the process of writing a song.
The more songs I write, the more songs I write.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the songs will get better.
Certainly some aspects of songwriting that at the beginning may have been daunting or tedious become easier, but I never believed in the saying “practice makes perfect”. More accurately - “practice makes permanent”, so I always try to think about what I am practicing and which direction it is taking.
What I have found to be an interesting aspect in writing songs and a place in which I experiment is in the extent to which I engage the intuitive mind versus the actively thinking, technical mind.
How do I react when an inspiration enters my mind - the seed of a song? In the past when this happened I became very happy to have been inspired and then I promptly let my thinking mind out of its cage. It took over and the intuition suffocated under musical theory and knowledge, as well as ideas of what good music should be and how I should achieve it.
The results were not good.
So…when I started composing again a couple years ago I decided to take a different approach and let the intuitive mind suffocate the thinking mind during the initial compositional process, trying to improvise as much as possible and document the best things that happen.
I then allow the thinking, technical mind out of its cage once I feel that I have captured the essence of the song, at which point my musical theoretical knowledge may or may not lead to changes in the composition of the song (but probably).
In this experiment I have been surprised by how big of a percentage of the final song the intuitive mind decides. It is almost as if when I just relax into the observation of the improvisation I am making, set aside personal gains or worries as much as possible, and let the process just occur, the process gets steered perhaps from a more subconscious place in the brain or from some other mysterious place.
I wouldn’t find it so interesting except that it makes me so much more enthusiastic to compose - it is fun! It minimizes frustration and the feeling of being out of control. It is the paradox - I relinquish control and then I feel in control.
Because this intuition vs. active thinking experiment went so well in songwriting, I started trying to use it in other areas of life. In this life there are so many things that we must learn that sometimes I think we let our intuition rust.
Here I go again about happiness! But I think having a rusty intuition is a danger to happiness. With our clever brains, we can convince ourselves of anything - we can build a facade to convince ourselves and / or the world of things that are untrue.
I can ask the cliché question: what is reality, anyway?
I do believe that if I can ask myself a question and let my intuition answer before the analytics of my brain begin, that this answer is a piece of reality, of truth.
And for me, the more reality and truth the merrier! So I will continue this experiment to try to use intuitive thinking as much as possible and see where that takes me...