Personal Life Philosophy, Insights & Wisdom

I have always been seeking for the deeper truth within our being. In this space I would like to share some of the key insights and wisdom I have gained through my life's journey so far. Morever, I want to explain how my understanding of music has ultimately been informed by my developing personal life philosophy.

I started my spiritual journey in my early twenties, a time when I became increasingly aware of the immense power of the mind/thoughts. It was then when I somehow stumbled upon my first spiritual book, which has had a huge impact on me ever since: James Allen's As A Man Thinketh (1903). In this book, Allen makes a convincing case for how the cultivation of positive and constructive thoughts (while at the same time rooting out negative and destructive ones) brings about inner and outer prosperity and peace. At the time, I totally agreed with the logic and remedy implied with his conclusion that "we are/become what we think about." However, as I got older, it dawned on me that Allen's answer for reaching a condition of bliss and peace by means of 'right thinking' was incomplete. Considering the full depth of human existence and experience, his approach seemed too simplistic. And while I was able to attest to the beneficial aspects of 'right thinking,' its application didn't lead me to experience lasting or profound inner peace.

Many years later, I finally came across Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now (1997). His book has opened my eyes on so many levels. While Tolle basically agrees with Allen's premise of the extraordinary power of the mind, his teachings guide us on how to achieve inner peace by transcending/silencing the mind through present-moment awareness. This, of course, is very different from Allen's approach. After all, Tolle identifies the mind itself as the main problem (a "monster," as he calls it) which stands in the way of reaching inner peace. Thus, it cannot be part of the solution. And speaking from my own experience, I have come to wholeheartedly agree with this key insight.

Going deeper into this subject, I extensively read up on Eastern philosophy and Eastern religions (Hinduism, Buddhism including Zen). In this context, I found Allan Watts' Out of Your Mind (2004) very enlightening. I have been especially fascinated with the deep wisdom that lies underneath the basic Buddhist teachings, which are as follows:

  • The Three Marks of Existence (1.Impermanence, 2.Suffering [through craving/desire/attachment], 3.Non-self)

  • We are ignorant about those three marks, which leads to suffering in the first place

  • The Four Noble Truths are there to open our eyes to above facts and thus ultimately end suffering (1.Suffering, 2.The cause of suffering, 3.The end of suffering, 4.The Noble Eightfold Path [A guide on how to reach the end of suffering])

  • Nirvana as the ultimate goal (The joy of completely extinguishing our ideas and concepts)

 

As I was increasingly grappling with the question "Who am I?" or rather "Who is this Self?," I immersed myself into Jiddu Krishnamurti's Reflections on the Self (1998), and to gain still another perspective I read Carl Gustav Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1963). Moreover, I extensively studied the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and his more recent disciple Sri H. W. L. Poonja. Last but not least, I listened to present day 'gurus' and spiritual teachers, such as Sadhguru and Mooji.

What really fascinated me is how most of above teachings arrive at similar ideas and conclusions about life and how to live in the most blissful and meaningful state, which is by experiencing and accepting life as:

  • Impermanent (As life is constantly changing)

  • Non-self (The self/ego is just a concept of the mind, it is impermanent like thoughts)

  • Non-dual (Examples: the observer = the observed / the analyzer = the analyzed)

  • No-mind (Our true state of being; thoughts are not real but illusions of the mind)

 

What is more, my search for truth has culminated in this maybe most hopeful and supreme revelation of all:

Self-realization makes anxiety, doubt and fear disappear; it is like coming home after a long journey; I am that one I am, and I've always been; the true Self is the formless, universal and eternal consciousness itself.

In conclusion, the insights and perspectives I have gained throughout my ongoing spiritual journey have fundamentally transformed my view of the world as well as deeply informed how I experience life these days. In particular, I discovered the crucial role of the state of consciousness when it comes to creativity since it seems to be the key to accessing the source of creation. Following this logic, it is not surprising that the underlying principles for the creation of my music – as a pianist, composer and singer-songwriter – seem to be in perfect harmony with those profound spiritual insights:

  • Follow its flow

  • Be in the 'here & now'

  • Be fully immersed in its process

  • Keep an open mind ('beginner's mind,' i.e. free of preconceived notions)

©2020 by Bastian Maier. Connected websites:

www.soulpiano.com

www.pianotime.de