At that time the Amadeus Hotel in Prague had an enormous ‘heart’ sculpture suspended high up in an airy, open atrium, reception being on one side of a staircase to the lifts and a hotel bar on the other, left side. If there was a connection between the sculpture and Mozart I was not aware of it. The parlour pianist’s connection was less tenuous as he attempted Mozart’s work for the delectation of dried-out, air-conditioned executives of various origin so must surely have had a better idea. I hoped so but was too weary to engage. Together with a more accomplished rendition of Chopin at his most serene, Mozart’s easy tunes and a few cold beers the strain of my late flight subsided as a soporific miasma of stale beer, cigarette smoke and bar sausage tuned down my conscious mind to a slower beat.
I never wanted to be away from home and family but since that was how it was going to be I worked hard to enjoy my job as a matter of duty to myself, always trying to find a way to benefit from travel and to take pleasure in my own company. Calm, reflective places like this where a mind could disconnect, rest and refresh maintained my self-sufficiency, my self-reliance, my sense of being. I never ever felt lonely.
My room was silent, unnervingly so considering that far below me a massive route interchange carried an unending stream of lights between the white cones of the street lamps in an otherwise impenetrable indigo; unending, continuous but in slow, silent rivers as the traffic negotiated its dumb path and threaded through the bends and junctions below me to the city.
Never far from my Walkman I stood before the window, so large it seemed that I was projected outwards onto a sealed glass balcony, listening to the last few incongruous bars from the pianist Wynton Kelly, interloper on the Miles Davis album, Kind of Blue. Then, after an absence of everything in the noiseless gap between tracks, Blue in Green synchronised itself to the speed of the soundless stream of head and tail lights and reality stopped running.
Blue in Green is an atmospheric, nostalgic and pretty melancholic ballad, redolent of lost ages and better days but I felt neither sad or sentimental. Instead a kind of wistful ecstasy of calm and peaceful unconsciousness held me in suspense over a safety net of contentment.
I remain as profoundly affected by the experience of this timeless moment today as I was then and can indulge myself on demand as the need takes me. This is my most played jazz album.
I do not ascribe this occurrence to anything mystical, an epiphany possibly, but nothing supernatural. The supernatural is just that, by definition it does not exist in the natural human world whether folks like it or not. No, this was a straightforward realisation of a physical need and how to get it, probably a commonly understood phenomenon, but a revelation to yours truly.
Of course I know now that meditation practise achieves the same beneficial end but its so convenient being able to switch into this state of mental quiescence without all the associated palaver or religious overtones.
I have practiced meditation also since then but have discovered many other ways in my everyday life to deliberately turn off the fog of mental overload and switch on the clarity of inner peace. I am content, content in spite of everything, in spite of life.
Blue in Green, a work in book form, is now underway, off its marks! This will be my attempt to convey in words and abstract imagery not so much examples of these moments, although that will be the format, but an overall sense of the feeling of contentment they engender. Hopefully for a reader the reading of it will be a moment like that in their lives.