Saturday, February 11, 2012

REVIEW: Hariprasad Chaurasia - Raga Darbari Kanada

I've gone through many philosophical changes in the last year, and I'm starting to wonder; isn't this the sort of existential crisis people pull in their early twenties, or midlife crisis stuff they go through when they realize they haven't done everything they want to do? Maybe having a son and my upcoming career change are affecting me, but for whatever reason, I've been reevaluating a lot about how I see the world. One of the byproducts of all the life changes I have been making was an introduction to mindfulness.

My wife read a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, and unfortunately it went back to the library before I had a chance to read it, but I got the Reader's Digest version from her, and there were so many things that were interesting to me about it.

I am not a very in the moment type of person; I'm often multitasking, thinking about the next thing, etc. One story my wife told me from the book was about a guy eating an orange. He would pop an orange slice in his mouth, and then while he was chewing, peel the next bite. Hanh pointed out that he was not eating an orange, because he wasn't devoting his attention to actually tasting the orange. Holy crap, have I ever eaten mindfully? I've tried it a few times since then (tough to do with a toddler at the table), and I have to admit, food actually tastes better.

The other night I was doing dishes while my wife read books to my son upstairs, and I tried to enjoy the task, be in the moment, recognize that what I was doing was something that I might be really missing a year from now due to my work schedule. It really made me happy to be doing dishes and allowed me to be entirely in the task at hand. Maybe I don't get the whole mindfulness thing yet; I should really read the book. But I heard a recording at work the other day that put me in a headspace that seemed perfect for mindfulness.

Artist: Hariprasad Chaurasia
Album: Raga Darbari Kanada
Recording #522

Stream the album here.

Moon put the tagline "Be Centered Now" for this entry, and that description absolutely nails it. Indian flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia's swooping lines take you to another time and place. The calming effect of his perfect tone and pace are bolstered by the tampura (the sitar sounding thing). It makes me want to get a tampura, and just play the hell out of the same notes all day (I should note that I don't think I know what a tampura looks like, and that I like saying tampura). I have become increasingly interested in "drone" types of music ("doom metal" is one of the most interesting I've discovered, through the same program where I first heard about the book, NPR's All Songs Considered), and the first "track" here features that droning tampura for 35 minutes. At an hour, I don't think this album is long enough, honestly. Get yourself a cup of tea, put on some comfy clothes, and get mindful with this one.

Read the book entry here.

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