Two kinds of processing

When a musician can play the notes accurately, making music is a procedure. The notes remain the same every time and playing them can be done with mechanical proficiency. When that musician can play the notes with feeling and express a mood with those same old notes, making music has become a process. It's different every time in spite of the notes printed on the sheets of paper or computer screen. The feeling tones are far from straightforward for the player expressing them and the listeners feeling them. When that musician loses him/herself in the music, a second kind of processing takes over. The musician experiences being a musical instrument getting played while playing a musical instrument. The music plays itself superbly. There's no doing to make it happen, only not-doing to let it happen. It takes lots of proficiency in procedures for this to occur so using those techniques do not block the flow of inspired music making.

This experience of two kinds of processing occurs in every imaginable advance beyond mere procedures:

  1. The leader of a meeting can facilitate the dialogue in a meeting so everyone has their say -- but sometimes get out of the way for phenomenal synergies, responsive creativity and inspired contributions to take over. 
  2. The therapist can gain tons of insights into a client's issues, history and aspirations by listening, questioning and exploring -- but sometimes be amazed by what gets said, realized and owned by the client when the therapist becomes silent, fascinated and respectful.
  3. The designer of tools can develop oodles of useful innovations by observing users, debugging routines and providing additional functionality -- but occasionally reverse the onset of annoying feature creep with an amazing transformation of the premise for using the tools in the first place.

There are many patterns that have been observed in our states of mind when we switch from the striving to effortless kind of processing.

  • being full of ourselves -- being emptied, egoless and fully receptive
  • striving to impress others with our contributions -- resting on solid ground with no need to impress
  • identifying with using our tools proficiently -- identifying with being used as a tool effortlessly
  • clinging to processing as superior to procedures -- losing oneself in the overwhelming complexity of the processing 
  • using the processing to become more confident -- embracing the chaos inclusively so as to become an insignificant drop in the ocean
  • making a thing of trusting the process -- making nothing of things that might mistakenly concretize the intangible mystery
  • processing ad infinitum as if it's never good enough -- letting the processing dictate how much, how often and when

My process of writing these words (and being worded in that process) has come to the place of "enough said" for today.

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