Eckhart Tolle quote

Eckhart Tolle on shaping your frame of mind


  • “I don’t have enough time to practice guitar…”
  • “My work and family are conspiring against my musical development…”
  • “What’s wrong with me? I’m still making mistakes in this simple song…”
  • “I’ve been playing for __ years. I should be better by now…”
  • “I should have this figured out by now… Maybe I’m just too _____”
  • “I’m a victim of circumstance!”

There are a million opportunities to get upset or downcast. We can spin any situation to tell the story we choose.

But the actual events/circumstances/situations are neutral. They just are. Neither good nor bad.

Example: We make mistakes when we played a tune for friends. This isn’t a tragedy. It’s information and nothing more. If we expected no mistakes, we get upset. If we expected more mistakes, we rejoice. The event is the same – only the story is different.

Playing guitar is a long-term relationship. There will always be a mix of successes and failures. And if we constantly challenge ourselves, we can expect even more failures.

The emotions these generate depends on how we define “failure”. If failure means we’re a lousy excuse for a human being, we’ll feel disappointed, guilty, or discouraged.

But if failure = discovery, then each “failure” is a source of excitement, motivation, and opportunity to focus.

Carlos Casta?neda said it a different way: “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”One of the best moves we can make is to identify a story or belief we hold about our musical practice, then re-frame it as discovery. Make it valuable information and use it to take action.

Music is for fun, exploration and self-mastery. Any thoughts that get in the way of this are unnecessary and undermine our experiences.

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”

Eckhart Tolle

allen mathews classical guitar

About Allen Mathews

Allen Mathews learned guitar as an adult, and has been a full-time guitar teacher for almost two decades to students age 4 to 96.  He has taught classical guitar at Reed College and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and has been a guest lecturer and clinician at schools and universities throughout the U.S.  Allen is often praised for his creative teaching abilities, and his dedication to helping adults learn classical guitar.  He has a popular Youtube Channel offering regular classical guitar tutorials, and has gained fans worldwide for his weekly emails and articles at

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