It’s been a year and a half of regular meditation practice and I’ve noticed that naturally, I’ve begun to gravitate toward experiences that I suspect are serving as compensatory developments to the zen. I think that I was getting too deep, too quickly with the meditation for my conscious mind; I always had this strong feeling of my everyday consciousness always scrambling to catch up to parse, digest and integrate new experiences, of always lagging behind and standing on the brink of being overwhelmed. For awhile, my solution was to basically avoid meditation outside the sangha group in an attempt to slow the pace down – not avoiding mindfulness mind you, but any kind of extended, deep concentration. However, lately, I’ve begun to ever so slowly to try to get back into it while balancing it all out with compensatory practices that I’ll call the anti-sage meditations, because none of these practices support the cultivation of wisdom.

OBLITERATION OF THE EGO THROUGH SOUND

via society6/BLCKBTY

Enough preamble. Last night, after a particularly gluttenous omakase meal at one of TO’s top three Japanese restaurants, I stayed out until 3am dancing to Daedelus, whose music I have adored for a decade. He’d tweeted earlier in the day that he was going to try a new sound – I had no idea how different it was going to be. His tracks last night were just as dense as they had ever been, but so much fatter, just a tsunami of sound towering over you to completely own you. His usually clever and whimsical tracks took a darker turn, and with the volume so high, it was almost unforgiving, dominating.

The preeminent Daedelus

Daedelus didn’t take the stage until half past midnight and I had already had a long day at work coupled with an unusually short sleep so I thought I might just call it an early night, but the music refused – every time I thought I was just too tired to move another muscle, these sick beats just resurrected me. Like the girl in the demonic red shoes, you might just dance yourself to death. The sensory overload obliterates all. Your body moves in ways you never realized it could. The music consumes you, feeds you, possesses you, frees you. You think that the dj has complete control over you, but you look up and see that his hair is disheveled and matted to his face with sweat, you see how his body is just a physical extension of the beats he’s laying down, you catch that irrepressible grin on his face and realize that there’s no master, there’s no slave, there’s only the music, the music, the music…

This kind of total mindlessness seems like the opposite experience to the silent seated zen practice, where sensory input is ideally brought to a minimum. But in a strangely enantiodromic way, I felt so pure by the end of the night, like all the accumulated dross of the day had been drummed out by the beats, sweat out on the dance floor. Raising your arms to the sky and letting all that sound strip everything away from you. Completely spent in the taxi ride home, I moaned and felt like I couldn’t move my legs. I thought, if I did this everyday, would I reach a different kind of enlightenment?

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