I have had several of these experiences. Two of the times I was playing jazz when this has happened, and they were both essentially the same, so let me just describe the first time. I was actually a pretty young jazz player – I had only been studying jazz on my own for maybe 6 or 7 years – but I was really steeping myself in jazz. I listened to jazz in every free moment, and I really was a huge fan of “hard bop.” (Think of Hank Mobley, Donald Byrd, Pepper Adams, Lee Morgan, Wynton Kelly.) So on this particular night, I was just sitting in a club where a local group of guys were playing, and the rhythm section was really tight, so I asked to sit in, and they let me. I don’t even remember what we were playing, but when I started to play my solo, all of a sudden I was completely checked out. I couldn’t see anything. It wasn’t that everything went black. It was like I had never ever seen anything in my life and there was no such a thing as seeing. I guess maybe if you’ve been blind since birth, that’s what it would be like. I don’t know, but there was no visual stimulus of any kind, and I wasn’t even thinking to myself “Hey the lights just went out”. Also (and maybe more importantly) I wasn’t thinking about the music or the chord changes or what the rhythm section was doing either. I could kind of hear myself playing, but it felt like it was actually someone else playing instead of me. I couldn’t feel my body, my hands, my sax, my breathing, nothing. It felt like I was just listening to the music, or I was actually becoming the music, like I was the music. I wasn’t first hearing a melody and then trying to execute it on the sax by hearing intervals – it was just happening! I wasn’t worried about the fact that I couldn’t see anything, or feel anything. I wasn’t worried about playing wrong notes. It was just a state of pure being, and I wasn’t aware of anything you would call a “self.” There was literally no desire or fear. It was a state of perfect contentment. I didn’t even desire to know what was going on, nor was I concerned about how I got “here” or what I needed to do to stay in that state. It just was. (For the record, there were no drugs involved !) Anyway, when the solo came to a logical stopping place, it was just over, and I was standing there with my horn, and everybody was staring at me and smiling and clapping like “Wow man, what the heck did you just play!” and I knew it was the best I’d ever played in my life. Ever. I had never played that well. I had never played even close to that well. It was sublime, amazing, and I have been trying to get back to that place ever since.