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Steve Vai thoughts on ego vs reality (working through depression)

abracadabra

Member
Messages
408
regardless of one's views on his playing style, or the way he presents himself, I think it's hard to deny how open and accessible Steve Vai is. I've seen him talk about this before, but he goes into a lot of his demons here and how he has worked through them. I've also found these thought processes to be very helpful


(skip to 5 min if you want to skip the obligatory weedly weedly bits at the beginning ;))
 

twoheadedboy

Member
Messages
13,116
regardless of one's views on his playing style, or the way he presents himself, I think it's hard to deny how open and accessible Steve Vai is. I've seen him talk about this before, but he goes into a lot of his demons here and how he has worked through them. I've also found these thought processes to be very helpful


(skip to 5 min if you want to skip the obligatory weedly weedly bits at the beginning ;))
I love Vai as a player, but also as a person. Listening to him talk has been very helpful to me over the years.
 

MikeVB

Member
Messages
7,827
Steve’s a good guy. I appreciate him sharing his experience to encourage others. Although like any anecdote it may not apply to others.

Depending on the severity some depression, anxiety, etc can be best managed with cognitive behavioral therapy to help change “stinkin thinkin” habits. Sometimes CBT is best learned from professional therapy. Sometimes it’s incidental from kindness, encouragement, and needed tough love from friends and loved ones.

I was helped a lot in my struggle through working on becoming a much better musician and performer. I did the heavy lifting as only the sufferer can, but a small part of my progress derived from being in a band with a guy for a couple years who unknowingly mentored me by encouraging me and providing a couple necessary verbal ass-kickings. I didn’t see the positive effect he had on me at that point in time, but I certainly have in subsequent years.
 

CJReaper

Member
Messages
2,188
He's doing another episode live now, I can't watch because I'm at work but I will check it out when I get home. As much as I respect him as a musician and love to hear him talk about music, I thoroughly enjoy his discussions on philosophy and spirituality. I love how he always ties it back into music, very inspiring guy and I'm glad he takes the time to share during these very difficult times.
 

AuroraTide

Member
Messages
1,172
Been watching his live FB videos lately. They're really interesting. Caught one last week where he went deep into music publishing.
 

RockinRob

Member
Messages
1,026
I listened to most of this clip. I think the surest way to make yourself unhappy is to try to make this progression that Vai claims to have. Remember that old star trek movie where the rogue Vulcan removes everyone's sense of "faux reality" that Vai talks about and all of a sudden they are so enlightened? But what happens? Kirk refuses to give up his pain and he's the only one not dumb enough to get suckered by the "faux God" who then tries to take over the ship. Lot of cool aid here. Come hang out with me for a while Mr. Vai. You can teach me guitar and I can teach you to stop trying to figure out how to be happy and still be happy.
 

Mark White

Member
Messages
1,309
I think the surest way to make yourself unhappy is to try to make this progression that Vai claims to have.
This being an example of how the ego drives thoughts and resultant actions. The "I think" is the giveaway. This is mentioned because of Steve's focus on the ego in the video.

Lot of cool aid here.
Absolutely. It's completely anathema to many. A person's view can range from strongly disbelieving, to strongly believing, and any opinion from the countless in-betweens are all perfectly valid.

The dude who came up with some of the techniques and formalities that Steve describes basically said to judge any path by it's results: essentially "Don't take my word for it. Try it out for yourselves and come to your own conclusions". Many people will prefer to jump to a conclusion, whether informed or uninformed. That's up to them.

I can teach you to stop trying to figure out how to be happy and still be happy.
I'm genuinely delighted you can say that about yourself. It's a place many people don't get close to during their lifetimes. And maybe I missed some things in the video, but he talks more about not being unhappy, and suffering less. That's very different from seeking happiness: the absence of something does not necessarily guarantee the presence of it's opposite, nor is it necessarily sought after.

I'm also genuinely delighted that Steve put this video out there to provide some advice and possible direction for those who do not feel they are happy and don't know why, and don't know what to do with it. If one person is helped by what the video, it's a Good Thing. Especially if it's someone who would normally reject these sorts of new-agey-cool-aidy-slightly-out-there ideas but watches the videos because they think Steve is a cool guy.
 

Mark White

Member
Messages
1,309
This may be a helpful resource for anyone who is having similar thoughts to those that Steve describes (particularly around the section "I had no-one I could turn to and literally thought I was going insane") and wants to find someone to talk to in the context how Steve talks about his recovery and subsequent learnings. There is information and direct support at:

http://www.spiritualemergence.org/

(*Not* intended to be a suggested replacement for organisations such as the Samaritans, or medical support and other similar intervention)
 

TheClev

As seen on TV
Messages
5,386
I like Steve Vai. I've always enjoyed how he seems like the opposite of his stage persona. When I see him on stage with that fan blowing through his long hair, shredding and posing like he's in a hair metal music video, and I think, "This guy must be an arrogant jerk." Then I see him in interviews or just talking, and I think, "This guy just seems like a cool dude who loves guitars and happens to be awesome at playing them."
 

rwe333

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,437
Vai has been very successful and he have given back in spades over the years. From founding Favored Nations and supporting many of his guitar peers, to taking friends/players on the road in his band, to being pretty open in interviews like the above. He knows he's a lucky man, but little doubt he's worked hard for it. Transcriptionist for Zappa at 18, in the band once a bit older? Anyone else post such a resume? He has funded a music education foundation for some time, always talking up his heroes from DiMeola and Holdsworth to Yngwie and Vandenberg.
 
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DRS

Member
Messages
12,635
I have always been a Steve Vai fan but as much as I love Vai, he's no Jack Butler.

Seriously, Vai thinks as well as plays. I bought almost every Favored Nation release.
 

BraveHeart

Member
Messages
1,547
regardless of one's views on his playing style, or the way he presents himself, I think it's hard to deny how open and accessible Steve Vai is. I've seen him talk about this before, but he goes into a lot of his demons here and how he has worked through them. I've also found these thought processes to be very helpful


(skip to 5 min if you want to skip the obligatory weedly weedly bits at the beginning ;))
thanks,that was great...I've been nervous the whole day because of my EGO/fears (demons)...after watching this,I'm calm like a sleeping baby..."the power of now" is on the way...:)
 

derekd

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
45,455
I'm genuinely delighted you can say that about yourself. It's a place many people don't get close to during their lifetimes. And maybe I missed some things in the video, but he talks more about not being unhappy, and suffering less. That's very different from seeking happiness: the absence of something does not necessarily guarantee the presence of it's opposite, nor is it necessarily sought after.

I'm also genuinely delighted that Steve put this video out there to provide some advice and possible direction for those who do not feel they are happy and don't know why, and don't know what to do with it. If one person is helped by what the video, it's a Good Thing. Especially if it's someone who would normally reject these sorts of new-agey-cool-aidy-slightly-out-there ideas but watches the videos because they think Steve is a cool guy.
This is absolutely spot on. Psychologists have found that reducing the misery in people's lives just makes them less miserable but doesn't make them happier. Happiness and misery are on two separate continuums and require different cognitive approaches and behaviors to address them.

The quality of our thoughts reflect the quality of our lives, but for those whose neurology works against them, CBT can only help so much. Some people will resonate with what Steve is saying here and gain some benefit. Others, not so much. Finding one's own path out of the mire of depression often requires customization.
 
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