Only very few would say that they have a spiritual practice. And yet, anything we deepen over a certain period of time can become a spiritual path. For example, calligraphy, archery, tea ceremony... and also writing, coding, researching, running, making violins, sewing, dancing tango, playing the piano. When I'm wrapped up in it, I'm connected with something that I can't or won't explain. Some call this a "state of flow".
Thus, in delving deeper into something, in devoting myself to something, I'm learning something about myself. I understand something that corresponds to a higher order.
An example for higher order: water flows downhill. Or: gravity works on our bodies towards the ground. Another example: the major triad is present in every sound, as part of its harmonic series.
Another example, this time applied on music practice: we realize at a certain moment that input doesn't equal output, in other words: the number of hours that I practice stops having a correlation with the quality of my performance. In the beginning, it may be that the more hours I invest, the more I improve my skills. However, this moment comes for all of us, sooner or later: I realize that, no matter how many hours I practice, I'm not really improving anymore. The linear relation is suspended.
Giving the nervous system time
Then we learn how good it is for us when we give our system time to digest the piece, e.g. when we pause it for one day. One day in which there's no repetition or new practice, instead, we give the nervous system the time to digest the material. While we do something else or practice something else, the piece has the space to fully land in us. When we return to the it, we realize that we have made a step forward, that it has even developed by itself, in the time that we weren't practicing.
From that we learn to respect the natural rhythms of the body. Some even go one step further and, knowing about the relation between body awareness and sound, draw impulses from yoga, qi gong, Resonance Training, etc. That is one example for higher order in musical practice.
Practicing is the path. Exchanging experiences with a teacher is the path. Playing an audition is the path. And so we learn: the path is never concluded. Every time we take up that same Bach sonata, we find something new, we feel deep understanding for the piece, we deepen our connection to it. And we're completely wrapped up in it.
A musical life without armor is the path.
How beautiful, to walk alongside you.