Fortunately, a listener needn’t be a mystic to appreciate his music, which possesses a Coltrane-like expansiveness. - JAZZIZ
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ESSAYS

ECHOES OF THE ANCESTORS (INSIGHTS AND INSPIRATION)

The music Phil Schurger presents on “Echoes of the Ancestors” is the expression of a dynamic journey through ten years of meditative and musical process. He has honed his skills as a composer in order to effortlessly act as a conduit of force and form, oscillating sounds up from the Emptiness of mind. Through meditation, he awakens the sensitivity of intuition, and navigates the tides of consciousness, catching compositions as they arise in the currents of thought. I

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OBSERVING THE PATH: A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE ON MEDITATION AND CREATIVITY

“Observing the Path:  A Personal Perspective on Meditation and Creativity”

Over the years, I have often reflected on the lyrics of poet Robert Hunter’s song Ripple.  In one of the latter verses of the song he states:  

“There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night.  And if you go, no one may follow, that path is for your steps alone.”  

In Hebrew Kabbalah, there are specific words for this idea of a path that is for your steps alone.  The Sefer Yetzirah (see commentary by Aryeh Kaplan), one of the foundational texts of the Kabbalistic system, refers to this type of road as a Netivot, which is a personal path, as opposed to a Derekh, which is a public road.  

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EMPTINESS AND THE PRACTICE OF NON-IDENTIFICATION

Emptiness and the Practice of Non-identification

The meditative concept of Non-identification is essential in meditative training as one deepens in their practice.  Non-identification is a recognition that the various emotions, thoughts, and images that arise in the mind are transitory in nature.  Through identifying with the emotions, thoughts, and images, we take them on, and become them.  Non-identification is the beginning of the process of undoing all that we have created for ourselves, whether consciously or unconsciously, by no longer identifying with the transitory essences.

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(PART III) APPLICATION OF THE ELEMENTALS IN PERFORMANCE: BECOMING CONSCIOUS OF THE ELEMENTALS IN THE BODY

Becoming Conscious of the Elementals in the Body

The most obvious point of connection with the Earth element is your physical body.  After all, you aren’t just a mind standing on stage in a room of minds!  The Earth element represents the nature of structure, and can be used to adjust imbalances that may be present within the body.  Earth in many respects is created by the interactions of Air, Water, and Fire in a given Space.  It absorbs the relative heat of Fire from the nervous system, and contains the Water element (the blood in the body).  

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(PART II) APPLICATION OF THE ELEMENTALS IN PERFORMANCE: AIR, WATER, AND FIRE

Our first task as a performer is to recognize the Time and Space of the room (discussed in Part I).  This being achieved, we can move toward the more common elements of Air, Water, Fire, and Earth.  Here in Part II we will discuss the elementals Air, Fire, and Water.  Part III in this series of articles will be dedicated solely to the Earth element, and becoming conscious of the physical body.  We will begin with the Air Element. 

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(PART I) APPLICATION OF THE ELEMENTALS IN PERFORMANCE: A MEDITATIVE PATH TO CAPTIVATING THE ROOM

The potential to harmonize and direct an audience exists every time a musician or group of musicians walk on stage.  As one gains experience playing live, you come to realize there is an Art and Science to opening the consciousness of a room as a performer.  Anyone who has performed on stage enough will recognize the factors of the room, and understand that there are moments when one can shift the consciousness of the room in various directions through an applied action. 

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PERCEPTION AS ESSENCE SERIES (ON MUSIC)

“Music in all ages has given man a sense of mystical but immediate kinship with the transcendent and the universal.”   -J.H. Masserman

Early in my music career I came to realize, as a both a listener and performer, that music has the potential to be a conduit for profound non-verbal, dare I say, mystical experiences.  Many of the musicians who I gravitated toward seemed to have the ability to focus the awareness of “the Collective ear”, and bind all present in the room, and hold it spellbound. 

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