This morning during meditation, I heard my phone ding and thought, “When the depth of my presence in this moment far outweighs even the best news that ding might deliver, then I will have made some spiritual progress.”
Truth be told, starting in the early days with the sounds of letters dropped through the mail slot, I’ve always had this sense of waiting for some wonderful news to unexpectedly come my way. Naturally, it was— and still is— most bills and advertisements, but occasionally, there was a surprising hand-written letter from an old friend and once, a genuine welcomed shock that had I had been awarded the Pro Merito Award, a deep honor given by the Orff Foundation in Munich that I would later receive publicly from Carl Orff’s widow Lisolotte.
Good news in snail mail is long gone, now delivered in small doses in e-mail, Facebook and select phone dings— though all of it more and more buried under the avalanche of political outreach, advertisements and scams. But sitting on my cushion, I wondered what would be the nature of any good news the phone ding delivered? What would give me that dopamime rush of happiness? Even as I knew that true happiness was not dependent on any outside news, but manufactured breath by breath in a habitual practice of gratitude and wonder, what would be welcome news indeed?
Well, on the political front and not too far-fetched if our political/judicial system was working as it should, here are some started fantasies:
• That Trump and his cronies finally get their asses thrown in jail where they belong. And not a cushy, white collar prison with privileges.
• That all Congressional election deniers be thrown out of Congress and the House and Senate become Democratic by a large margin. Opening the doorway to:
- Dismantling the Electoral College.
- Re-configuring the Supreme Court
- Creating aggressive gun-control laws
- Restoring rights to women
- Taxing the rich
- Dismantling Corporations as “persons”
- Creating aggressive climate-change action
- Creating affordable higher education
• That Putin and other international despots be deposed.
• That Stacey Abrams declare her candidacy for President in 2024— and win!
You get the idea.
On a personal level, there is much news my various family members could announce, things they deserve and should get, that would make me so, so happy. I’ll keep it private here, but the things I’m thinking of would be worthy of getting off the meditation cushion to answer the phone’s ding.
As for me, I’m always happy to receive invitations to teach, speak or perform somewhere and these all are still within reach. But as Browning once said, “a person’s grasp should exceed his grasp or what’s Heaven for?” So if the ding delivered the news that my Boom chick a Boom CD was nominated for a children’s music Grammy, the Secret Song film was accepted at ten more film festivals, my Jazz, Joy & Justice book was finally published and became a best-seller in its field, why, I wouldn’t object. If suddenly five thousand people started reading these posts and the number of followers multiplied by ten, well, that would be a nice surprise. If my group The Pentatonics was invited to perform and teach at various jazz festivals, I’d start making plane reservations now. And yes, thank you to __________ for the Honorary Doctarate and Terry Gross, I believe I can fit that interview in you requested sometime in my busy schedule.
Are you listening, World? But I’m not sitting around waiting— I’m sitting around meditating. And then getting up to teach the next class, play piano in the park or the Jewish Home, write my next blogpost that ten people will read. It’s all good.