“A Week of Zen Guitar,” by Philip Toshio Sudo, Day 4

1540307_614763558578162_151401801_oSo A Week of Zen Guitar is being dragged out a bit.

This book , one that I recommend for ALL musicians, no matter your skill level or resume, begins with a simple premise: We ALL carry a song inside–the song that makes us human.  We are all born with a song, but often don’t know how to unlock it.  This little book has really helped me a great deal the past year as I have coped with vocal fold paralysis as a singer and vocal pedagogue.  Talk about unlocking a silent song!

Today’s quotes are from the chapter called Teacher and Student.

“It is said that in any given situation, someone is doing the teaching and someone is doing the learning.  This thinking is central to the Way of Zen Guitar.

We are all students and teachers in everything we do, and we are both at the same time.  When a child learns from the parent, the parent learns from the child.  Each imparts different lessons.  We teach the child about the ways of the world while the child teaches us the innocence and wonder of learning.  There is nothing more fundamental to life.

In this dojo, you have an obligation to fulfill each role…Seek out knowledge and thirst for it wherever you can find it, letting all things be your teacher…The further you advance on your path, the more you become ‘sensei’-one who has gone before.  And as ‘sensei,” you must share what you’ve learned on your journey with those coming up behind you, and realize that everything you do, even unconsciously, teaches by example.

…If you take this responsibility seriously, your teaching will inform your learning, just as your learning will inform your teaching.”

I, Cate, have lived every day of my  life like this.  This way of living has been especially important in helping me move through this past year, since the diagnosis of the paralysis, with grace and purpose.   I have learned beyond what I could have imagined possible, from my singing voice specialist, energy healer/therapist, life coach and many others.  I have learned from my students, and in turn, have had one of the most gratifying teaching years of my life, with the promise of more wonderful opportunities in 2014.

And one of the things I have learned from my students, is that my voice is heard.  It has not been silenced, and it still calls out to heal and guide and push and inspire and let people feel their own selves buried under far to many expectations, duties and worries.  I truly believe that this dojo, put into practice daily over my 50-something years because of who I am, is a spiritual path that can not be taught from ego gratification and instant satisfaction.

And that is what much of music has become.  In everything from opera to pop.  Ignorance and mediocrity have turned Youtube dribble into a badges of honor.

Following the path of zen guitar has become an act of rebellion.  Start your own movement.

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