A Week of “Zen Guitar” by Philip Toshio Sudo, Day 1

IMAG1247-2“Zen Guitar,” by Philip Toshio Sudo, is one of my favorite “artist’s inspiration” books. I’ve read through it many times. But the collection of quotes by famous guitar players, followed by Sudo’s commentary, appear brighter and more poignant than ever after my past year of working to heal vocal fold paralysis without surgery.

I am posting some of the wisdom from this little book with the hope that it will help you on your artistic journey, no matter your age, stage, accomplishments or non-accomplishments!


Stages and Plateaus

I’m only 49 years old. I’m still in the middle of this whole thing. I don’t feel like it’s finished at all. I’m still planning to write better songs. –Paul McCartney

“The path of Zen Guitar is like scaling a wall with no visible top. To progress, think like a rock climber. At times is may become necessary to move laterally before moving upward. At other times it may be necessary to rest and regroup, or even move down a step, before continuing. Remember, a pattern of two steps up, one step back is still progress. Do not think of these moves as anything other than part of your overall path of advancement. Sometimes you attack, other times you tack. The spirit is always the same; only the strategy is different.

Over the long haul, the path of development consists of stages and plateaus…Be aware that the farther on the path you go, the longer the plateaus get. During these times, you may feel like you’re in a rut. The way out is to stay focused on your training…what you are doing, right now. Don’t look ahead to where you want to be, and don’t look back thinking, “I’ve only come this far.” You can not make long-term progress conform to your timetable. Let it be.”

Thank you, Paul McCartney and Philip Toshio Sudo!


I, (Cate,) painted this modernist bass guitar on our son’s bedroom wall after he went to college.


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3 thoughts on “A Week of “Zen Guitar” by Philip Toshio Sudo, Day 1

  1. “The way out is to stay focused on your training…what you are doing, right now.”

    Thank you for sharing this. It´s easy and hard at the same time, and we can´t get enough encouragement, can we?

  2. And I’ve learned that if you are focused on your training, and it is not working after a reasonable length of time and patience, it is time to get more information, new teachings, broaden the horizan and work with the new information and skills for awhile. It’s about being so tuned in to your Self that you are lead in the best possible ways.

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