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Christopher Stewart
  • Québec, Qc
  • Canada
  • yes
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Music and Spiritual Practice - An Overview of Poligraf

Music has been an essential part of my life since the end of the 80s.

The adventure began during the second of my four years of studying electrical engineering at Université Laval in Québec City. Through various friends and contacts I reconnected with progressive rock, a form of music to which I had already been exposed to in my youth thanks to my older brothers and sisters. Hearing the music of bands such as Yes, Rush, Genesis, and King Crimson felt like meeting old friends, and quickly I knew I just had to do as those musicians did, although my prior experience with music had been minimal at that time.

The feeling was so strong that not only did it led me to buy various instruments so I could learn how to play, but it was also the main force that made me decide to change direction after my first semester as a graduate student in computer vision and systems so I could build my life around music. And perhaps more importantly, when it became clear that I would compose music of my own, it spawned the question « what should the songs be about ? » which powered me into many years of exploring a multitude of domains of knowledge including science, philosophy, psychology, art, mysticism, and the occult.

Music for me is also spiritual practice. The inspiration and elevation it provides is undeniable, and the many insights I have had while practicing an instrument or rehearsing a part are too numerous to recount. Music picks me up when I let reason bring me down, restores my energy levels when I feel tired, sustains me through lengthy work sessions, and generally brings me to a state of inner peace and deep joy.

My objective as a musician is to communicate that energy in the hopes that listeners will experience that very same elevation and inspiration. It is also my intention to share my experiences and discoveries and thus hopefully help others reach understandings that can they can use on their own journey.

Buddhism has been an essential part of my life since the mid-90s.

The adventure began when I stumbled upon a feature in an encyclopedic dictionary that highlighted the Four Noble Truths. That finding immediately sparked my curiosity and a few days later I was buying a copy of The Dhammapada at a local bookstore. While slowly digesting the aphorisms in the weeks that followed, I found that its teachings were in continuity with a process of introspection that had begun during an introductory course on neural networks (i.e. systems designed to emulate some of the capabilities of the human brain, such as pattern recognition and associative memory), the study of which had triggered the question « what does this tell me about my own inner workings ? »

From then on I pursued my explorations and plunged into the Tibetan Book Of The Dead, which was quickly followed by various Mahayana sutras. I also bought a guide to learn how to meditate and started experimenting with the practice.

During the years that followed, I plowed through most of the major Mahayana sutras, progressively adjusted my lifestyle and behaviour to accord with the precepts, refined my meditation practice, memorized mantras, and became a vegetarian.

Poligraf has been an essential part of my life since its inception at the beginning of February 1998.

The adventure began after the collapse of a band that arguably never really existed as it only had a handful of rehearsals, but for which I had already written a lot of material. Left alone at the helm, I connected with a group of experienced musicians via a co-worker friend and after agreeing on a general aim and formula, we raised sail and headed to the terra incognita of progressive rock.

Over its eleven years of activity in various incarnations, Poligraf has yielded enough music for over five full-length albums, but never really had a chance to officially record any of them, although some of the material has been demoed and performed on stage on various occasions.

Most of the music documents my own spiritual path and presents some of the lessons that life has taught me on the way. Some pieces are directly inspired by Buddhist texts or teachings. For instance, « Between Worlds » is directly inspired by the Tibetan Book Of The Dead, and « The Idler » and « Creeper » have been inspired by aphorisms of The Dhammapada. « Void » illustrates the Buddhist concept of emptiness, and « SubjeKctiv » serves as a reminder of the subjectivity of experience and the coextensivity of worlds. « Entering the Stream » is a trilogy, counting a total of nine chapters, that depicts the trajectory of an individual fed up with the mundane who decides to retreat into an ashram for some heavy introspection before returning to the ordinary with a renewed perspective on life.

Throughout all these years, if the Mahayana has provided the vehicle, then Poligraf has certainly provided landscapes, path, and drive, while the buddhas have completed the picture with their timely, serendipitous, and often magical interventions.

I don't know why I feel so strongly about music, progressive rock, and Poligraf in particular, but I just know I do and I trust that feeling to the best of my ability. My connection to Poligraf runs so deep that whenever I let hardships or circumstances turn into reasons to believe that there's no viable future for the band, then I retreat into apathy. That is, until that unmistakable feeling breaks through the veil of confusion to drive me again. To the best of my present understanding, my own self-realization seems to be linked to that of the band, if not as the culmination of my spiritual practice, then at least as an essential stepping stone towards it.

March 2020 Update: Poligraf is currently hibernating, and probably not coming back to life, at least for the foreseeable future. Still, I have been writing new music steadily since the band was last active, a mix of songs and instrumentals influenced from progressive rock and which have been written for Poligraf, and also singer-songwriter tunes that are closer in their essence to folk-rock or even pop, pieces for solo classical guitar, and occasional electroid experimentations.

If you'd like to know more about my musical activities and support me in my efforts to bring more artistic beauty into the world, please visit my website (see the first icon below) where you can learn more about my various projects.

For me, your support represents an opportunity to go to the next level, reach a wider audience, and ultimately become a self-sustaining music producing unit that can function independently of a record label.

Thank you for reading thus far, and best wishes to you on your journey.

        

Latest Activity

Christopher Stewart posted a video

La Isla Bonita (Madonna) - excerpt - [Fingerstyle Guitar Covers]

working on an arrangement of Madonna's « La Isla Bonita. » my phone actually captured the whole thing out of focus, but using the sharpening filter in Shotcu...
yesterday
Christopher Stewart posted a blog post

Artistic Impulse

the impulse that drives artistic expression is irrational, unconditioned, and impersonal. it is beyond the grasp of reason and its constructions, which allows it to make the being resonate at frequencies that reason is not able to reach, and thus initiate it into experiences that are beyond his comprehension.See More
Aug 1
Christopher Stewart posted a video

Fly Me To The Moon (Frank Sinatra) - excerpt - [Fingerstyle Guitar Covers]

more an improvisation than a proper arrangement of Bart Howard's jazz standard « Fly Me To The Moon, » made popular by Frank Sinatra. recorded in july 2020. ...
Aug 1
Christopher Stewart posted a video

The Girl From Ipanema (Antônio Carlos Jobim) - excerpt - [Fingerstyle Guitar Covers]

working on an arrangement of Jobim's bossa nova classic « The Girl From Ipanema. » recorded in july 2020. ❤ thank you for your support ! ❤ § you're invited t...
Jul 30
Christopher Stewart posted a video

Hope [Fingerstyle Guitar Originals]

this is a recording of a song titled « Hope » which was originally written around december 2012, and intended as a lullaby for grown-ups. the audio and perfo...
Jul 22
Christopher Stewart posted a video

Rock With You (Michael Jackson) - excerpt - [Fingerstyle Guitar Covers]

working on an arrangement of « Rock With You » by Michael Jackson. recorded in july 2020. ❤ thank you for your support ! ❤ § you're invited to subscribe to t...
Jul 15
Christopher Stewart posted a video

You Are The Sunshine Of My Life (Stevie Wonder) - excerpt - [Fingerstyle Guitar Covers]

rehearsing an arrangement of Stevie Wonder's classic « You Are The Sunshine Of My Life. » one of my favourite pieces to play on the guitar. recorded in july ...
Jul 13
Christopher Stewart posted a video

Magic (Olivia Newton-John) - excerpt - [Fingerstyle Guitar Covers]

rehearsing an arrangement of « Magic » by Olivia Newton-John. recorded in july 2019. ❤ thank you for your support ! ❤ § you're invited to subscribe to the ★ ...
Jul 2
Christopher Stewart posted a video

Steppin' Out (Joe Jackson) - excerpt - [Fingerstyle Guitar Covers]

working out an arrangement of « Steppin' Out » by Joe Jackson. recorded in july 2019. ❤ thank you for your support ! ❤ § you're invited to subscribe to the ★...
Jun 25
Christopher Stewart posted videos
Jun 23
Christopher Stewart posted a video

How Deep Is Your Love (Bee Gees) - excerpt - [Fingerstyle Guitar Covers]

rehearsing an arrangement of the Bee Gee's classic « How Deep Is Your Love, » in preparation for the upcoming busking season. recorded in may 2020. ❤ thank y...
Jun 11
Christopher Stewart posted a video

Preview : La Côte d'Abraham [Upcoming Releases]

around september 2017, i was invited to join the house band of a local community center. after talking for a while about repertoire with Pierre Frappier, the...
Jun 10
Christopher Stewart posted a blog post

One Of A Kind

Essentially written in one day in March 2013, « One Of A Kind » is an upbeat folk pop summer song about meeting someone who turns out to have special significance in one's life, and eventually becoming so close as to form a kind of unit with them.Ultimately, it's also about how every encounter, whether apparently desirable or otherwise, actually contributes to one's growth and to finding one's place in the grand scheme of things. Here are the lyrics :verse 1i was lonely you were alone silent…See More
Jun 9
Christopher Stewart posted a video

Rosanna (Toto) - excerpt - [Fingerstyle Guitar Covers]

this is part of an arrangement in progress of « Rosanna » by Toto. not quite all the way, but getting there. recorded in july 2018. ❤ thank you for your supp...
Jun 3
Christopher Stewart's video was featured

Improv on Spain (Chick Corea) - excerpts - [Fingerstyle Guitar Covers]

some of the best moments of an improv on Chick Corea's « Spain. » metronomic consistency courtesy of the RC-20 looper. background sky effects courtesy of an unidentified pilot. flubs and fidgetiness courtesy of the guitarist. recorded in july 2019,…
May 30
Christopher Stewart posted a video

I Just Wanna Stop (Gino Vannelli) - excerpt - [Fingerstyle Guitar Covers]

rehearsing an arrangement of Gino Vannelli's classic « I Just Wanna Stop » as i get ready for busking season. recorded in may 2020. ❤ thank you for your supp...
May 29

Profile Information

Location
Québec, Qc
Are you interested in participating in Bless the Mic Future Events?
yes
What role do you play in the entertainment industry?
poet, author, actor
Why do you want to join Bless the Mic?
looking for a place to connect with other artists and share my creations...
What's is President Barack last name?
Obama
What is your website?
http://stewart-explorations.net/

Christopher Stewart's Videos

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Christopher Stewart's Blog

Artistic Impulse

Posted on August 1, 2020 at 6:26pm 0 Comments

the impulse that drives artistic expression is irrational, unconditioned, and impersonal. it is beyond the grasp of reason and its constructions, which allows it to make the being resonate at frequencies that reason is not able to reach, and thus initiate it into experiences that are beyond his comprehension.

One Of A Kind

Posted on June 9, 2020 at 10:06am 0 Comments

Essentially written in one day in March 2013, « One Of A Kind » is an upbeat folk pop summer song about meeting someone who turns out to have special significance in one's life, and eventually becoming so close as to form a kind of unit with them.

Ultimately, it's also about how every encounter, whether apparently desirable or otherwise, actually contributes to one's growth and to finding one's place in the grand scheme of things.



Here are the lyrics…

Continue

Leap

Posted on May 5, 2020 at 1:02pm 0 Comments

tell me i did not dive in way too deep

and that i will find the relief i seek

when bells toll the time to jump off the peak

say that there will be faith to take the leap

although i've walked the path of oracles

and seen you've kept the oath you'd said you'd keep

when the fruits will be close enough to reap

will i really believe in miracles

did your plan really include that last turn

or did i miss a lesson on the road

will there some day…

Continue

Allegory of the Long Spoons

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 1:23pm 0 Comments

« The allegory of the long spoons is a parable that shows the difference between heaven and hell by means of people forced to eat with long spoons. »

« In each location, the inhabitants are given access to food, but the utensils are too unwieldy to serve oneself with. In hell, the people cannot cooperate, and consequently starve. In heaven, the diners feed one another across the table and are sated. »

« Given the same level playing field one group of…

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At 11:06am on April 25, 2020, abiola bawuah said…

Good Day,

How is everything with you, I picked interest on you after going through your short profile and deemed it necessary to write you immediately.I have something very vital to disclose to you, but I found it difficult to express myself here, since it's a public site.Could you please get back to me on this email( ubabawauh@gmail.com ) for the full details,
Have a nice day

Thanks God bless.
Mrs Abiola.

At 8:42am on February 27, 2020, Bless the Mic! said…

Peace Christopher, 

All is well. Thanks for the positivity!

Kamal

At 3:22pm on February 3, 2020, Bless the Mic! said…

Peace Christopher, 

Welcome to Bless the Mic!

Kamal

 
 
 

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