Eckhart Tolle on Shaping Your Frame of Mind

Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!

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

Eckhart Tolle

  • “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 Castaneda 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.

Allen Mathews

Hi, I’m Allen Mathews. 

I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.

I appreciate the organized, well thought out progression of each level, as well as a measurable means to determine when to proceed to the next level.  I had burned myself out by pushing too hard and playing beyond where I was comfortable.  This course is just what I needed, and I am happy to be back on the road to playing again.


I just want to thank you for your lessons. You are helping us to understand how a piece is composed, the parts to analyze and how to do it. You are teaching a lot about how to read and play, and the most important part: PLAY with the music and ENJOY it.

-R. Martinez

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