Miles Davis was a luminary figure in the world of jazz music. His distinctive phrasing and muted playing are hallmarks of his singular sound. Through his music, Miles expresses the unique talents he possesses and the result is a sound unlike any other.
What I love about Miles is the expansiveness in which he plays. His songs are both rich and deep, yet he can seem to play sparingly. Still when he does play, it is done impeccably and elegantly. Miles can often create more emotion in his few notes that another player can by playing a more complex riff. With Davis and his music, often less is indeed more.
Much of what I find so appealing to his sound is that he often is pausing, doing nothing and making no sound. It is from this place of silence that his notes resonate so well when he does play. The contrasts in sound and his use of silence for his muted trumpet are exquisite to my ears.
Unfortunately we often do mot have enough silence in our lives. We become focused on whatever role we are playing, whatever we are desiring or not, and the resulting music we make with our life becomes scattered without much melody or rhythm.
Our roles we often play in our lives include our jobs, our relationships, our health issues, etc. If our sense of identity becomes wrapped up in these activities or roles, our ego dominates our consciousness and we appear to lose our connection with the divine. Instead of just being, our focus is shifted on doing. Instead of allowing for silence and space, we try to cram more and more into our day. The result is a frantic, jumbled sound.
If a musical measure where an analogy for your day, how would it look and how would it sound? Would it be monotone (one long note) or perhaps many, very fragmented, dissonant notes?
If your day is filled with one long note or if there were so many notes crammed on top of each other into the measure of the day, it would not be pleasing to listen to. The measure would be full, but there would be no space for our ear to process the music. The resulting notes would not be very appealing musically speaking, probably a dull hum. Melody, rhythm and harmonies are keys to a good piece of music and the same is true for us and the measures of our days.
Space between the notes is needed to create music.
Wayne Dyer in his Getting in the Gap book described the space between our thoughts as the gap. Dyer further called the gap, the “exquisite” place where miracles occur and what awaits us there is the experience of activating the higher human dimensions of insight, intuition, creativity, and peak performance; as well as coming to know relaxation, enchantment, bliss, and the peace of making conscious contact with God.”
We need our downtime – a time of pause and rest.
More and more research points to the importance of sleep. I confess to having some Type A personality traits and that the phrase “ I can sleep when I die” was a type of mantra for me in my driven, early days. Today I am much more mindful of the need for and the restorative benefits of sleep. The sleep state is an extreme example of the space between conscious thoughts.
Meditation and prayer allow us to connect with our higher power – allowing the creative genius that reside within us the ability to come out and play.
Measure your measure – open up and allow your creativity to come forth. Make room for your self to breathe.
Like Miles Davis said – “Don’t play what’s there; play what’s not there.”
As a practice – begin to focus on what is not there.
The gap – the exquisite space that can lead a greater connection with God.
What is not there is the un-manifest – the divine creative energy from which all things emanate.
 Dyer, Dr. Wayne W. (2012-12-03). Getting In the Gap: Making Conscious Contact with God Through Meditation (Kindle Locations 76-78). Hay House. Kindle Edition.