Miles Davis was Miles Davis. He was always miles (work with me) ahead of the others regarding jazz innovation. In 1957 Miles Davis released an album called Birth of the Cool and ushered in an entirely new and refreshing style of jazz labeled “Cool.” In addition to his technical virtuosity, stellar writing, and unmistakable sound, Miles Davis’s genius lay in his ability to single-handedly steer the entire jazz movement world-wide.
So, big deal. Miles Davis made a new style of jazz. That’s the point, though. He didn’t set out to change the direction jazz, he simply knew who he was and found his voice. Really, though, Miles Davis didn’t create anything, he just sourced it. Instead of “Birth of the Cool,” should be “Source of the Cool” referencing that deep mystery within all of us. Whenever we source this deep mystery within us, something seemingly miraculous occurs. Miles Davis just was the notion of cool. He knew his heart’s purpose for the world which was to connect to Source and express that through his trumpet. He was the leader in many other jazz movements like Hardbop, Modal Jazz, Avant Guard, and Modern Jazz.
For me, yoga is the process of understanding Self through the method of listening. Like Miles Davis demonstrated, it’s about being who you are, understanding what your heart’s gift to the world is, and letting that find expression in your everyday, in your job, your relationships, your speech, and your art. That’s yoga. Source your cool! What is your heart’s gift to the world?
What is your cool? For some of us, the answer to this question is obvious, we are teachers or parents, we run businesses or make art. For others discovering our heart’s gift to the world might take some serious quietness and contemplation, some movement and breathing. And for those of us involved in this earnest exploration of our heart’s purpose, listening to our heart’s deeper wisdom might seem maddening or just very quiet at first. But the more we practice, the more we listen, we’ll become adept at hearing that little but wise voice inside that will lead us to discover monumental things we didn’t know we knew, we’ll hear ourselves saying things we didn’t know were in there. We’ll find our cool. I’m sure Miles Davis had many moments being surprised at what found its way out the end of his horn.
There’s also practice. Practice is where the real magic happens. I play my best saxophone alone in my living room with no one listening but myself and my neighbor’s dogs. If you walk by my house and hear dogs howling, you can blame me. There is never a yoga performance, it’s always a practice. Practice gives us permission to explore and try it differently next time until we find our true, strong voice. Also with practice we’ll find the clarity and courage to let that voice be heard in the expression of our everyday. Miles Davis said, “Practice, practice, practice and when you get on stage, just play.” With our daily practices like meditation and yoga, when it does come time to be “on” we’ll have the presence and mindfulness to really shine, and to share our heart’s purpose for the world.
Join me in practice this week and source your cool.