Finding Compassion Behind the Drumkit

In between all of the band time, I have been taking a course in Contemplative Psychotherapy. My version of fun. This year, we study Compassion. One of my favorite subjects. Lately we’ve been learning about the difference between what Buddhists call relative and ultimate compassion.

Relative compassion is a creation of the mind and of the false self. Therefore, it is subject to all of the confusion and danger that comes from attachment, craving and aversion. We want to help and that want, that desire, immediately clouds our vision in the way that desire clouds our vision whether we are desiring an object or desiring a feeling. We want not just to help, but to see ourselves helping. Desire carries with it aversion, and relative compassion puts our conditioned and biased experiences onto another’s situation. The ego can never truly be compassionate, because the ego is only ever looking to solidify itself. read more

Deeper Feeling

We’ve been shut in all week, the pug and I, due to the terrible Northern California fires and the subsequent sinus infection from the air quality. It’s been harrowing, watching the notices come in about the beautiful areas overtaken by firestorm, and the neighborhoods burning daily. It is paralyzing, watching and not being able to help beyond donation. It feels callous to participate in life going on while so much suffering is so close at hand.

That is a heavy feeling, this guilt of being momentarily spared. Each of us are assured of suffering in life. Suffering is happening right now, all around us, possibly within us, or within the people we are sitting near as we read this. Maybe the suffering is not as tangible as that of a home burning down, or of losing loved ones in tragedy, but in the minds of many, the anguish is just as real. It is the human condition to suffer, as long as we identify with the ego and its preferences and emotions and attachments. As long as we are in duality, we suffer. Light has its opposite. Just by shining bright it deepens the darkness of shadow on the other side. It is the human condition to live in both light and darkness. We will live in both, that is unavoidable. read more

Ten Ways to be an Awesome Studio Musician

One of my songwriting partners asked me to come into the recording studio for a couple of days and play drums on some songs that he’d been itching to get going. It’s been a while since I got to record anything but Zeppelin on the kit, so I was excited he asked.

The studio where we recorded is one of my favorite places in the world. I have been working there for 16 years, the whole time that I have lived in San Francisco. Nearly every project, every record I’ve made, it’s all come out of this place. The reason: Robert Preston, owner and engineer. He is my dear friend. I could never describe the depth of my delight in this human. Because of him, the studio is my happy place. read more