The Force Multiplier…

Force multiplication‘ is a military term, and refers to:  “a factor that dramatically increases (hence “multiplies”) the effectiveness of an item, group or activity.

I believe that in terms of: making music, creating anything, and living life, the greatest force multiplier is…

The practice of Meditation.

Now, I am aware that ‘meditation’ is a loaded word.  It carries a lot of associations.  So to be clear, when I talk about meditation, I am simply talking about: the practice of becoming more present and more internally free.  This is a very normal thing.  No incense or beads are required. 😉

Being able to be more present and internally free is a transferable skill that upgrades any and every area of life.  Want to create art?  Meditation makes it better.  Writing email?  Makes it better.  Doing the dishes?  Makes it better.  Making love?  Makes it better.  Living life, in all it’s beautiful, broken, chaotic and random glory?…

Makes it better.

Simply put: it makes you happier in the doing of whatever it is that you are doing, and it renders the product of whatever you are doing in a higher resolution.

In my life I have found that meditating regularly means: I am generally a lot happier, I create with greater ease and much more joy, and my relationships are far deeper and more authentic.   Also, when something painful happens, I am able to process it far more smoothly in far less time than it would otherwise have taken me.

Making art shouldn’t be painful, it should be a joy.  It should flow effortlessly and make you happy.  In my experience, it is not a struggle to create art.  At all.  What makes it seem like a struggle to some is the fact that: if you are not in the right frame of mind, all of the thoughts and crazy push pull are like blockages in your water pipe.  You can try and water your garden, but you are only going to get a trickle of water.  So you have two choices.  One is to spend a really, really long time trying to water your garden with a trickle of water, or…

You could just clean out whatever’s blocking the flow, then have fun watering your garden and still have time for tango, basket weaving, cheese making or brazilian jujitsu class. 😉

The record is evolving beautifully.  I have been listening to rough takes and mixes of all the tracks each day/night in bed before I sleep.  Even in this basic form, I have fallen in love with it a little bit, with all its goofy imperfections and craziness.  It is a cool little thing.

I am still working on it at all hours…

03:00 hrs Christmas morning...
03:00 hrs Christmas morning…

…and am very, very happy.

If you have any questions or thoughts, hit me up in the comments section.  I am eminently contactable.


My name is James Radcliffe and I am a 100% audience supported independent artist.  If you like what I do (and can afford it) then please consider buying some of my music.  Each purchase really makes a big difference to me and 10% of every sale goes to a charity which: houses, feeds, clothes, and educates orphaned children in Nepal.

Also, every month I send out a newsletter packed with Interesting and Exclusive Things.  If you sign up today you’ll also get 3 FREE tracks of my music as a welcome gift.

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And lastly, if you’d like to find out what I’m up to on a more day-to-day basis then here is my brain on Twitter:

105 Comments

  1. It’s pleasing to read a positive personal account of meditation. My new blog is, among other things, an attempt to give form to a very large, poorly defined, & frequently misunderstood discipline. Thanks for looking in on me.

  2. Maybe meditation is a form of relaxed concentration mixed with intense rest. So odd! But I’ve THOUGHT about doing meditation most of my life. Don’t want to lose my edge or drive tho’. Don’t want to drift into la-la land and a lethargic stupor…

    1. In my experience, it’s just like taking the brakes off. Until I started meditating regularly, I didn’t know how much I was slowing myself down. All the excessive thoughts are like tension, like wasted energy, like driving with the brakes on.
      I have not lost my drive at all, I get about 100 times more achieved when I have meditated deeply.
      Hope that helps, Thanks for stopping by,
      – J

  3. James,

    Thank you for sharing. Meditation does indeed take many forms and has made a difference in my life. All the best on your current endeavors and I look forward to keeping in touch.

    Best,

    Ken

  4. “In my life I have found that meditating regularly means: I am generally a lot happier, I create with greater ease and much more joy, and my relationships are far deeper and more authentic. Also, when something painful happens, I am able to process it far more smoothly in far less time than it would otherwise have taken me”

    I loved these lines. So true! The faster we can process things the easier it is to move forward 🙂

        1. Weirdly I don’t.
          I know there is a lot of stuff out there, but, in my opinion it’s a binary thing, in that, the only way you learn is by doing it. The basic practice will teach you everything you need to know over time. If I had a recommendation it would be to just start a little daily practice in your life. Have your goal be to make it a habit, so do it consistently for a while. Soon enough, when you start seeing real benefits, the habit will become self reinforcing.
          Hope that helps,
          – J

  5. I have nothing insightful to comment on this piece. I am grateful for it though. It’s approachable and provoking thoughts. I think I may read it again. Mediation is an interest to me but the thought of being still ( and awake lol) is not something I can easily master. But I agree that in stillness there is “something” and I guess I’m curious what that might be.

    1. Hey there,
      thanks so much for your comment, I’ll do my best to answer your tacit query 😉
      For me, the experience is more like suddenly understanding how many thoughts, feelings, desires and reactions the mind generates on a moment to moment basis – we are not usually aware of this, so it’s kind of like going thru life looking thru a screen, onto which is constantly projected things that make us feel good, bad, distracted etc.
      What meditation does for me, is it makes me aware of and (somewhat) clears the screen. There is less drama, I am more effective and happier, things take less energy, I am able to be more creative etc.
      What I am trying to say is that it is an eminently practical thing – much like keeping your body healthy, it’s not some spacey esoteric activity.
      I hope that helps, Thanks for your comment,
      I wish you well,
      – J

  6. My goodness. It does my heart good to hear of young folks who know the value of living in the moment they’re in. It’s all we got with no promises of more so live it! Listen, I got wrangled into this century with all the toys that come with it. Now that means I have a blog talking to folks about paying attention to what’s in front of them. It’s a momentary life, to be sure. Living it raises your integrity, lowers your stress and shines a light on your true priorities and what’s important. I thank you for stopping by to see an old man. You’ve got a good head on your shoulders, young man. The Lord bless you in your music. Music is a healing balm to the soul. Uncle Uriah loves you.

  7. Funnily enough Meditation is the most natural state of mind there is, it is in this state that our natural energies flow most freely, free from fear or anger or whatever is blocking their natural flow…

  8. I am a musician too, and my best work has always…always…come when I am falling asleep or when I have taken the time to sit quietly longer than I would incidentally throughout the day.

  9. I too enjoyed the line “no incense or beads required.” I’m a musician myself and always…always…my best work comes when I’m falling asleep or I’ve taken the time to sit quietly longer than i would incidentally throughout the day. Great post.

    1. That’s a big question 😉 I think, almost anything.
      For me, any product that is created, or any activity can be infused with that quality.
      There is this kind of depth, and presence and beauty which kind of crosses most boundries to me. I see it in many different places, from the way one person has a conversation, to the way the best move in top level sports when truly inspired. And of course, all the usual suspects – the stuff that we usually bracket as ‘art’ in our culture. But most everything.
      How about you?
      – J

      1. How wonderful the world must seem when you can see the beauty of art in everything 🙂 So, in a way, it’s as though you’re saying “LIVING shouldn’t be painful, it should be a joy.” That should most definitely be the case. I like that, I might make it my aim to remember this! aha.

        You know, I’m not actually sure what I consider art to be, besides the obvious that is creating something. I think it’s a very deep topic – one that I haven’t worked out for myself yet!

        1. It is a totally HUGE topic 😉
          I definitely make a distinction in my life between pain and suffering, I don’t think you can avoid pain if you are alive, but I think you can pretty much dissolve all suffering.
          Do you get the sense of that? Is this true for you?
          I am glad you got in touch, 😉 I hope this finds you well,
          – J

  10. I’m curious what your thoughts are about drugs and altered states. I suspect that drugs achieve similar states to what we can reach through meditation, deep connection with music, or love. When you put the work in to actually change your chemistry rather than take a free ride, however, the experience is deeper. And you know you earned the ticket. 😉

    I love the piano/keyboard section of one of your samples. I tried to comment but there was a registration component to it all. It was painful, in a pleasant way.

    1. I agree with you completely. I don’t discount drug use, tho I don’t really use anything other than caffeine myself. I have tried a bunch of things tho.
      I don’t really think there is any such thing as a biological ‘free lunch’, my aim has always been to produce as much work as I can over the longest period, I think if I used drugs, I may get more done in a shorter time, but I think that burnout would be inevitable at some point.
      Sorry about the pain 😉 Do you mean you had to register with soundcloud? Probably easier just to leave a comment here with a timestamp.
      Thankyou for your thoughts,
      Be well,
      – J

  11. Love this post and admit to a chuckle when I read the bit about not needing incense etc. I used to meditate using the props and in absolute stillness and for some reason fell into thinking that it was the ‘right’ way. Over the years I’ve found myself increasingly unsatisfied with my old way of meditating and have found that I can be in a meditative state much more effectively these days with a pencil or paintbrush or knitting needles in my hands. I still enjoy laying still when the sun is coming through a window in the afternoon with my eyes closed to meditate too. I had fallen out of practice for a while and couldn’t agree with you more that meditation just makes everything go better. Glad that you are coming along well with the music! Happy New Year 🙂

    1. Thankyou so much, Toadstool girl – it is really nice to see you again 😉
      I think there is definitely a bunch of misconceptions when it comes to meditation. Rituals can help build the habit for sure, but from the outside, I think they can put people off – especially if some folks tell them that ‘this is the ‘right’ way’.
      Zen painting, zen knitting! Now that’s punk rock! 😉
      Happy new year to you too. I hope you have an awesome one, filled with msuhrooms 😉
      – J x

  12. We wish you and your family a brand new year full of love, health, wealth and happiness!!!
    From the heart ❤
    Yelloz & Family

  13. Hi James, thanks for visiting my blog. Thought I’d take a look at yours. Am dealing with a very tough issue, and your reminder about meditating is timely. Debating dealing with my struggle on my blog- which I have been, but so far more on the surface than in depth. To be forthright with my anguish/struggle, or not to be…
    Best to you, Laur

    1. Hey there,
      I think your blog is beautiful. 😉 I am glad that you connected with the post on meditation, as I said in the post – for me at least, it makes everything better than it was before.
      It’s always tough trying to decide how forthright to be, what to include etc. My guideline is always whether the thing that I am sharing has worth for others, if so I include it.
      If there’s anything I can do to help, or if you just need a friendly ear, you know where I am.
      Best to you too,
      – J x

  14. I always like to read about meditation, how it works, and if it really helps. This article makes me want to dig deeper, begin meditation, and feel the happiness you portray.

  15. the times when I meditate and unfortunately they are rare.. I am capable of transporting my body and mind to the place that I choose. The world around closes, only my thoughts and sounds are present, the waves of the ocean, the rustling of leaves on the trees, the sand beneath my feet. I should do it more as I am dealing with a lot in my life right now.. but sadly and stupidly I don’t. I am also very susceptible to hypnotherapy..I think this helps me meditate easily. Interesting post James and glad to hear the album is trucking along. 🙂 x

    1. Thankyou so much – I am glad you liked it. I know what you mean – meditation can help with almost anything, but sometimes it’s hard to do the things that are good for us.
      Thankyou for your honesty, I really value it. And thanks for connecting again,
      Wishing you well,
      – J

  16. Hey, again, I enjoyed reading your post and the way you meditate. But I wanted to ask a question: First of all, I don’t record music, but practice instruments. Not every musician will agree with me, but there are times when I just don’t feel “it” when I play. Every note I play sounds wrong, the way my fingers press down notes feels wrong, etc. I actually felt that day this morning when I was practicing. So I wanted to ask if musicians like yourself (a singer) feels the same way from time to time, and if so, what do you do to overcome the problem? Or does meditation help remedy the problem in advance? Thanks for the post, and keep up the good work!

    1. It’s a really fine question, and a really important one. When I was first starting to play, sometimes I would feel it, othertimes not. I am a passionate person, so I have broken a few guitars because of that.
      What I realise now is that, the most important thing, when playing or practicing, is the state that you are in. The state is more important than almost anything else. That’s why meditation for me. Others use different things. It’s not so different from an athlete going into the game. You find ways to get yourself in the right place, physically, mentally, spiritually, whatever.
      If you concentrate on finding the right way for you to access the state, you’ll never have to worry about ‘not feeling it’ again.
      In case you’re wondering – I haven’t smashed a guitar in years 😉
      Be well my friend, good luck – any more questions, let me know.
      – J

      1. hahaha thanks a lot James!
        There were times I wanted to break my cello too, but I thought I would regret that so I have suppressed my frustration! But seriously thanks for the tip. Hopefully I can find my own ways to enter that equilibratory state to just free my mind and let the music take control.
        Again, thanks and hope to read your upcoming posts as well!

        1. Thankyou kindly sir. If you want a recommendation, I always go for Zoe Keating – She is a beautiful cellist who uses her laptop to perform as a one-woman cello orchestra. She talks a lot about finding a place out of time for her music.
          I hope you are well, thanks for your questions and thoughts,
          – J

                  1. hahaha yeah, I visited her website, and it’s amazing how much you can do with just an instrument! It’s so cool how a person’s talent can motivate others so much!
                    Thanks for the share!

  17. Awesome post! Grats on your upcoming album release!!! I’ve nothing but complete admiration and respect for people with such talent! I played in the high school band on Clarinet and later directed it as drum major for 3 years. I haven’t done anything with music in a long time, but music is most certainly and has always been a true catharsis for me.. Its also awesome that you are finding peace in meditation and relase…<3 God bless!

    1. Thankyou so much for your kind words – they really mean a lot to me.
      Music is so beautiful isn’t it? It gives back so, so much.
      I wish you well with everything, Scary Mandi (because of the photo, not because of your beautiful comment;-) )
      Big love,
      – J x

  18. I couldn’t agree more. Meditation and mindfulness make everything flow smoothly. It’s a shame meditation is not taught in grade schools. Think of what a world this would be if everyone grew up with a spirit of mindfulness!

    1. It would be amazing wouldn’t it?
      I have fantasies about schools that teach meditation, meta-learning and have real physical education. That would be such an amazing place. there are places where they teach kids mindfulness (plum village, etc) but unfortunately they are the exception, not the rule.
      Thanks for your comment, hope you are well,
      – J

    1. Ahh. Just for you I have added a link at the bottom of the new F.A.Q. page, to a secret page detailing my meditation process.
      Shhh! Tell no one! 😉
      Be well my friend, hope you get something from it.
      – J

  19. WHOA. Love it! You broke down something that tends to be so ummmm COMPLICATED & made it very simple. You’re a great writer! I’m falling in love! 😉
    By the way, JUST TODAY I was thinking how next year praying, quiet time, and yes that word meditating will be much more a part of my life. 🙂

    1. I know what you mean, that is a common comment.
      I don’t know if it’ll be any help to you, but folks have been asking me how I meditate, and I’ve added a link in the F.A.Q. section. If you think it may be of use, please take a look, otherwise just disregard this.
      Either way, thankyou very much for connecting, it means a lot.
      Hope you are well,
      – J

          1. Wow. That means more than I think you will ever really know but thank you. That’s just me though. Secretly hoping to find someone who is also clear transparent raw and honest with a beard or a goatee lol kidding or maybe im not who knows.

              1. I love that I am this way. Others probably don’t love it as much. But what else is there to be had but honesty and compassion? I guess those with little or no emotion (unfortunately I know a few) must hate people like me. Their problem is with themselves more than it would be with me I would think.

                Thank you

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