Tuesday, November 17, 2009

T.S. Monk at the Genius Bar

This morning, I went to the apple store for a date at the genius bar. I see my name on the board. A few spots behind me, I see the name Thelonius M. I think to myself, 'I wonder who decided to use that legendary name to reserve their spot', assuming that they chose that name as an alias.

As I awaited my turn, I looked at the geniuses behind the bar, and mentally tagged one in the center as my preferred choice... mostly because I thought he was handsome, and seemed to have a nice vibe about him. After a few more minutes of hang time, my genius of choice called me up. His name was Mike. He was very kind, and extremely helpful. Although technically I was only allotted 15 minutes at the bar, he spent a lot more time with me working through the nuances of my problem.

As we worked through some final steps, he asked me to stay at the bar while he began helping the next client... he called the name: T. Monk. A man by the name of Thelonius Monk steps up to the bar and takes a seat next to me. He addresses the genius behind the bar, and they take a stab at diagnosing the problem further. Mike leaves the desk, and takes the computer into the back.

I talk story with this fellow seated next to me about our mutual love affair with apple computers. He wears a shirt that says "Jazz" simply, and speaks articulately with a refined perspective on computers and their evolution into the era of Apple. When Mike comes back, Thelonius tells him that his name was listed twice on the board, and can be removed. I mention to him that he carries quite a legendary name. He nods, and acknowledges the legacy in a matter-of-fact way. He asks me if I play, and I tell him about my experience as a jazz musician on the alto.

We get into talking about music, and I finally ask if there is a relation to Thelonius Monk. "Yes, of course", he responds. We continue to rap about musicians, and what it takes to develop a mastery of an instrument. I share how much my perspective has changed after having taken a 10 year hiatus from taking lessons and practicing. Now that I have matured, I am more dedicated than I ever was as a child.

He tells me that people tend to think that you have to start young in order to become a great musician... but in his mind, it's all about how badly you want it. If you want it bad enough, you can become a great musician. And that comes back to dedication.

He says that younger jazz musicians and students these days tend to be too serious, and take the whole progression towards mastery too seriously. He says, "My father was considered to be one of the most serious jazz musicians of his time, and he really didn't take it that seriously. And all the guys around him, Coltrane, Davis, Hancock... they were dedicated, but they didn't take it too seriously, either. If you take it too seriously, you can't create the music. It just doesn't flow that way."

I responded, "Isn't the essence of jazz about creative self-expression? And that seems to come through creating space to allow the music to flow." The analogies of jazz to the yogic path are synonymous. The same counsel that I receive from my yoga teachers was coming through almost verbatim from this master of music.

He got some bad news from the genius behind the bar. His computer would cost nearly as much to fix as it would to buy a new computer. After clearing the slate, we walked out together. He says, "You know, there are people who are suffering losses a hundred thousand times worse than me today, so I don't have any reason to complain." He asks me my name, and I introduce myself as I shake the hand of a legend and feel the moment of connecting through him to the most inspiring and innovative musicians of this past century. "It is an honor to shake your hand", I said to him, as our hands glued together in a full and perfect fit. We held our hands clasped for several moments as we greeted each other in salutation. He told me that he goes by T.S. Monk, and to check him out on iTunes.

As I walked away, I acknolwedged my desire to have asked him to chat a while longer, and keep the fruitful dialogue going. I acknowledged my longing to connect with him in the future, and to create a bond of attachment. And beyond the desire for attachment, I remember that I am being guided by angels, and don't need email or telephone numbers to come into contact with them. T.S. Monk delivered a precious message to me this morning that will serve me for many years to come, and for his inspiration, I am humbly grateful and totally stoked!

On occasions like this, I affirm that I am in the right place at the right time, and it feels so good to be in the flow. As I see it, there are no mistakes or coincidences. Yesterday, I had planned to come home sooner to go to the genius bar in the evening. I had made the reservation, and planned my day so that I would get home in time. As the time neared for me to head out of the city, everything slowed down. I decided not to rush, and just kept flowing. I decided I could always go to the store the following day. All the trains leaving NYC were delayed that evening, and I didn't arrive home until long after my original appointment.

This morning, I began my day with a walk outside, and then practiced yoga with mom. When I make choices that are aligned with my highest vision, magical encounters, like the one this morning, happen spontaneously. That is the only secret to success.