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Meditation, when properly understood, is the stilling of the physical body, generally in a position where the spine is straight and erect, sitting up, not lying down. When you sit to meditate, you must come to feel that you are about to have a conversation with your God, your Higher Self, and nothing less. This may seem like a very cursory and basic approach to meditation but we assure you that if properly followed, it will lead you to inner breakthroughs of the type that most people so much want to experience but are so unaware of how to.
We have arrived at the last in the 7 Intelligences Series - that of the Body and Breath - perhaps the most important skills of all. Some of you may remember that I first introduced Flow Breathing - a new approach to body awareness through the breath - this last Summer on the blog of my friend Marion Harrington. I confidently propose that the majority of performers probably do not fully employ their most valuable tool when solving problems which arise through the process of practicing and learning music.
That statement applies to all aspects of playing from tone and pitch, to rhythm and finger technique, to performance and even to the emotional expression of the music. If this is indeed the case, why would so many musicians under-use such a valuable mechanism? Most people’s habits are ruled by a kind of subtle and innocent but deeply ingrained impatience. We learn early on in our musical activity to equate practicing with striving for end results - like a kind of corporate approach to productivity. I argue that this is this is akin to crawling across the room instead of walking because you assume your legs merely operate by themselves. Of course you wouldn’t do that and yet purely results oriented practicing often leaves the body behind in a similar way! In an effort to achieve the desired goal, we resort to tense or inefficient movements in order to achieve it.
In fact, full awareness of your body while playing is so simple most people take it for granted that they already have a complete consciousness while playing - at least as much as possible before turning attention to the act of “playing”.

The answer to this question is again, yes - although for most of the time there is an almost constant failure to make the connection. It’s like having a computer that you could utilize to write a letter but never turning it on because you’re too busy concentrating on getting the thing written.
Most of us only need to flip on our body's awareness switch to regain the feeling of how our bodies “think”.
I like to think of it as “experience” of your body, either at rest or in motion or playing an instrument. Your body's "interior" sense of itself can not only tell you why your left shoulder tends to be stiff after practicing but also solve the puzzle of that bearish finger passage which always seems to elude you. Giving your body a chance to participate in the experience and keeping your brain “in your head”, you will be presented with a wealth of useful information as to why something is not working and how to improve it. Alas most of us, including me, tend to seek “improvement of playing” rather than “improvement of the experience of playing”. For those of us eternally impatient individuals, I propose that a detailed awareness of the qualities and nature of the breath is a reliable “GPS” to overall body awareness and concentration.
Sorry - I didn’t want to mention this too early in the post for fear it would spoil your enthusiasm!
Truth be told, if you don’t think it’s worth spending 10 minutes a day lying on the floor noticing your breathing, you can read about this subject as much as you like but you’ll never know what your own breathing feels like when it’s relaxed and calm.
Don't forget that consciousness of finger and hand can be isolated separately, as detailed in a previous post of the same Intelligence series. In future posts I will apply each of the 7 intelligences to specific problems in playing and demonstrate their usefulness as tools to analyze and solve nearly any technical or musical question. Your place of meditation should be fairly comfortable as to temperature and somewhere you are likely not to be disturbed by others. You should approach meditation as you approach the altar of invocation--with humility, awe, respect, great love and gratitude.

As you breath deeply, initially focus your attention in the head area, the top of the head in particular. Then, become aware of your spine, the central beam of the temple of the body, the spinal column, that lovely dimensional doorway into inner space. In each session of meditation, at some point one will hit an inner foothold, a landmark, so to speak.
Seek to become aware of the inner atmosphere as the breath continues to inhale and exhale at its own steady pace. Seek to know yourself as you are, beyond thoughts, feelings, sensations and certainly physical bodies. Seek to know that part of you that has never changed and shall never change, the part of you that is eternal. With that division in your awareness, you pick up a dull pencil and manually script your communication on paper - a method which is laborious, time consuming and inefficient. When awareness and concentration originates and stems from the whole body, you will by default improve playing by bring the body in line with what the ear wishes to hear. You may sit in the traditional yogi's meditation position or straight up in a comfortable chair.
Focus on the spine as you get used to the rhythm of the breath, as it goes in, as it goes out, and eventually release your attention on the breathing as it continues at the proper pace by itself. If you think you cannot go any deeper, you should keep trying nonetheless until you cannot go any more. You must will yourself to go in, not unlike one paddling a canoe upstream against the current and not unlike the salmon who doggedly keep swimming upstream against the current that keeps beating them back.

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