*Giving Up “Intelligence”

February 15, 2007

One of my all time favorite books was The Way of No Thinking where in Kunihiro Yamate pointed out from at least 20 different angles that it was thinking that was the problem and it would be no thinking that would take us to the next level of human evolution. I believe it was written in 1995 and that is the year I read it. It smacked of truth from beginning to end. It struck every chord in me, but it was perplexing to me because I had worked long and hard to become the intellectual giant 😉 I was and damn, I LIKED thinking — I liked it a lot!
It was exactly how I felt when Apple came out with an easy to use computer after I had spent so much time and effort becoming a DOS jock. Pissed off! Then Windows came out and who the hell needed a DOS jock any more. Really irritating.

My violin teacher, Kato Havas, a child prodigy from Transylvania, trained with the power hitters in Budapest, played her Carnage Hall debut when she was 17, got rave reviews, “perhaps the greatest hope of the new generation” and gave it up altogether not long after that because it was just too hard. You see, she had grown up watching Gypsies play inferior internments, with no formal training, playing with glorious tone and heart wrenching beauty. She knew there was something horribly wrong with the way she had been trained. She got married, learned to cook, had three daughters then once the daughters were off to school she started to work with the violin from a totally different perspective from that which she had learned. She started working with the natural balances of body and mind then fit the violin into that balance. Once she started teaching what she had discovered in working this way it caught on immediately because it was coming from truth and it worked.

Though the wonderful results of what came to be known as The New Approach to Violin Playing were immediate and astonishing, the opposition started raging immediately! The Strad magazine for violinists had angry letters from people all over the world telling everyone who would listen why this approach to violin playing was nonsense and then there were the relatively quiet responses countering the attacks. So much ANGER generated by this simple discovery that we had taken something which was essentially a natural and easy joy in our lives and had made it difficult to the point that only the very few were able to bring the promise of beautiful music to fruition on the violin.

The battle still rages 40 years latter. Amazing! Those who have worked so hard in the entrenched system are not going to give up their medals and citations of battle for anything.

I too had worked long and hard to become a professional but mediocre violinist. But I saw the truth when I read Kato’s books and it was inescapable. I was in such pain over not being able to make the music that I was hearing in my head that I left home and family and country to go study with her. It was my first great manifestation of a dream but that’s another story. Here we are discussing letting go of that which is difficult when the simple truth presents itself.

Now here we are, those of us who are in various stages of awakening to the “all that is” in ourselves. What I see a lot of is the reluctance to give up the hard way for the true way, partly because of uncertainty but a lot, I expect, from the reliance on our poor brains (our “intelligence”) and the interest in using all that we “know” in forming complex and fascinating puzzles in explanation of truth as we see it. There seems to be so much enjoyment in mulling it over and over and over… People so enjoy doing acrobatic intellectual feats with concepts that are incredibly interesting, sometimes mind boggling but never quite enough to drive them out of their minds — which is what is necessary to find a life in All That Is.

I’ll leave this offering with my favorite quote from Kato, “The violin is not a difficult instrument. It’s either easy, or it’s impossible!” Trish

P.S. If you like, you can learn the New Approach to Violin Playing by visiting one of my previous lifetimes 🙂 here; Flying Fiddles


8 Responses to “*Giving Up “Intelligence””

  1. Very interesting and beautifully written post! Must read for bloggers. thanks for sharing!

  2. Mia Says:

    I really like this article, I think you are hitting on something pearl of wisdom that is really profound but it is difficult to tease out the precise meaning. Say I was to switch off intelligence, what would remain…intuition, love, will? Can you elabourate a bit more on how Kato suggests we stop thinking or letting our minds dominate our action or prolong our procrastination?

    Many thanks,
    Mia Eisenstadt

  3. scottfree2b Says:

    Hi Mia,

    Thanks for your excellent question.

    Here is what I am getting at about how to approach life in a simpler way. Stop figuring things out – not all things, you can still figure out how much money is in the bank account and what to fix for dinner and how to get from point a to point b in the car – that sort of stuff. But for the BIG picture, like what is love what is beauty what is balance what is the meaning of life, where do we come from, why are we here, why is there evil, what is wrong with this picture, that sort of thing, thinking just isn’t up to the challenge.

    We love trying to figure these things out but really it doesn’t get us anywhere. I speak more of this in Butterfly Truths https://scottfree2b.wordpress.com/2007/04/23/butterfly-truths/ and How Reluctantly the Mind Consents to reality https://scottfree2b.wordpress.com/2007/06/23/how-reluctantly-the-mind-consents-to-reality/ They address this from a few different points. Really though, like the Kato Havas example in this entry, to get past the stuck places we have to let go of everything we think we know about it and approach it from empty space. You can’t put anything new in an already full cup. So empty the cup and move from there. You can just wait in emptiness for a time and see what comes to fill the cup. Feeling, intuition, love yes. When there is a question quiet down and listen to your heart.

    Kato questioned the difficulty of violin playing, stopped altogether then came empty to listen to her body wisdom, her simple god given innate wisdom – that which the Gypsy violinists never lost through rigorous study as she had. Imagine a baby going to school to learn to walk. More about that in Innocence https://scottfree2b.wordpress.com/2007/02/03/innocence/ and from Marianne Williamson there is this entry, far more elegant than my own, https://scottfree2b.wordpress.com/2007/02/14/the-journey-toward-simplicity/ I hope you find this helpful in answer to your question. It is really the aha moment you are after, that heart leaping moment when you find the truth of your own heart. The answers all lie in that chamber. Anything you are told about truth is useless unless it leads you there.

  4. scottfree2b Says:

    Suresh, I must have missed your wonderful comment the first time around. THANK YOU. I just visited your site and it is fabulous! Love your photography and your take on things.

  5. […] certain that for me, trying to figure all of it out is an excersize in mental masterbation and that The Way of No Thinking works to make my life a nicer place to spend […]

  6. Thom Says:

    Very interesting take on the idea of intelligence vs what it seems like is an overall intuition. It seems the string world is very snooty overall and are very quick to stand up to change. How many people turn their noses are carbon fiber bows and instruments- yet they tend to outperform more expensive wood models!

    Its a highly traditional art and society that will slowly adapt to the new ideas over time 😀

    Just look at all the young violinists now who are realizing they can get into jazz, rock, or any other genre other than classical!

  7. Trish Scott Says:

    Thanks for dropping by Thom. Are you a violinist/musician?

  8. Trish Scott Says:

    Ah, just visited your site. Guess the answer is yes. I’ll go there now and read up on your take. 🙂

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