One day I wrote out a script of a personal issue of mine that we might use to demonstrate logotherapeutic tools and how they work.
After hearing one person’s initial attempt to give me logotherapeutic responses, I understood how easy it is to use logotherapeutic tools and techniques and only scratch the surface of meaning.
I understood that while other therapeutic approaches are bent on digging until they reach the emotion or until they reach the pathology or until they reach the unconscious material, logotherapy is directed towards reaching the meaning.
And the meaning is deep, much deeper than the emotions or the unconscious because meaning is at the depth of the human spirit. Until we understand this we cannot understand logotherapy and we will not be using it correctly or effectively.
We logotherapists do not recoil from the search for meaning, supposing it is beyond the pale of our capacity to reach. Yes, it is beyond us, but reach for it we must because nothing else will feel satisfying.
More than this, in spite of its being beyond us, meaning is very close to us. It is life’s gifts and invitations day by day and moment by moment that bring us to it.
So I would like to invite you to read my issue and consider what you would ask me or what hints to meaning you can find in my words. What more do you need to understand? If you find the meaning it will hit a chord for me. If you do not, know that you need to dig deeper still…
My issue: I know that enjoying myself when I play music should not depend on how well I play but I believe that there has to be structure in life and then within the structure I can be free. Music is like language. You can’t express yourself if you don’t speak the language.
On the other hand I don’t play well enough to have that structure that would set me free. The closest I came to it was a long time ago when I used to play a piano piece over and over again until I had a sense of mastery and I knew it so well that I could play it with my eyes closed. And then with my eyes closed I was able to just melt into the music and feel it and express myself through it.
The trouble is when I first learned how to play when I was small I had a stern disciplinarian for a teacher and I only learned to read the notes exactly as they were written. I never learned to improvise and understand chord progressions, to have a concept of what key I’m in and stuff like that, and I never learned to put my feelings into it.
So I would practice a piece until I knew it perfectly but then if I played one wrong note I wouldn’t be able to continue because I forgot where I was. I could only remember the piece in order, in perfect sequence. But I had no sense of where I was in the piece or where the music was going. Also it took me so long to learn it perfectly that I got sick of the piece by the time I learned it.
Now I am learning to play djembe (whenever my son comes over to teach me a bit). I always had a passion for hand drums. I’ve learned a few rhythms but I can’t just flow from one drum beat to the next, to be in the music and flow with it as I’m hearing music playing in the background. It’s just – “Okay, this is how I do this beat” and do it, and this is how I do another beat and do it.
I’ve gone back to my piano practice as well only I’m practicing piano in a different way now because I want to become familiar with the circle of fifths and all that. I’m practicing the chords and inversions in every key, major, minor, dominant 7th and all. Then I’m using the “Real Book” to play songs I like. Still, it’s just not satisfying to me.
It seems like it will take forever to get anywhere and I can’t relax with it when I’m struggling to remember how to play which chord and which inversion.
Maybe I just need to keep practicing but I feel a strong need to enjoy every step along the way of the process, and not just be waiting until I get mastery before I can enjoy myself.
I even thought years ago at one stage of my professional development that maybe I want to be a music therapist because I like to express my feelings through music. Right now I’m feeling it’s enough to just be able to do this for myself.
Comments? Try out your logotherapeutic skills.