Jesse Leach’s Check Your Head: Contemplation

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Jesse Leach's Check Your Head

Killswitch Engage have been traveling the planet as of late, rocking audiences here, there, and seemingly everywhere. Despite how busy he is, Jesse Leach has checked in with some deep thoughts from the road. It’s another invigorating installment of Check Your Head, people.


(As per usual, the video provided is meant as an inspiration to the writing and also a soundtrack, feel free to open the video up and play as you read)

Before you read this, I have to say this is a deep one and it is not for everyone. There is no instant gratification here, only words that may take a while to resonate or for some, it may just be nonsense.

Either way, to me this column has always been about saying what I feel and writing in hopes to have some sort of a positive impact on the reader. Regardless, here is my newest column about contemplation. Deal with it or stop reading…here we go.

I awoke today in a hotel room (nothing unusual there at all) and I could see through the slivers in the thick curtains a blue sky and sun. I knew I had little time to take advantage of breakfast as I usually miss out from sleeping late due to exhaustion or jet lag. I jump right up, got dressed and made it in time for a peaceful breakfast under the warm sun and deep blue skies.

After eating an array of salty and sweet foods polished off with some delicious green tea, I decided a swim in the roof top pool would be a perfect end to a peaceful morning. What a life I live (and at times, take for granted).
As I arrive on the rooftop, I see a young Sikh boy (I could tell he was Sikh by the head wrap and long strands of hair slipping out from the wrap; for more information about the fascinating Sikh religion, visit this site).

He was about 8- or 9-years-old, playing and splashing in the pool. The slightly grumpy side of me almost turns around and doesn’t want a splashing child to interrupt my peaceful morning. However, the young boy sees me approaching and stops splashing and stares at me for a moment (over the years, having a large beard, a mohawk or large mutton chop sideburns like I do now, I am rather used to people staring at me) and I can feel his demeanor change.

He continues playing with the water but is no longer splashing as much; I can only assume out of respect for me entering the pool area. I sit near the edge of the pool on a chair under the radiant sun and decide to wait until he grows tired of playing and perhaps, I can have the pool to myself. As I am lying there, with the sound of the water filtering through the pool and the boy’s playful movements, the sun’s warmth on my flesh…I slip into a meditative state.

I have been practicing meditation through out my life but as of late, with all of the flying and long lines, it has become a mind saver for me. This is the part of the article that will either draw you in or loose you as we go deeper.
A feeling of joy washes over me as I realize this child is enjoying his time in the water. In actuality, he may be enjoying much more than I may have.  

I don’t know where this boy comes from, what type of life he lives, what he has been through…all I know is at this moment, he is enjoying the water and enjoying life. He is not sitting in front of a television, smart phone or video game; he doesn’t even have another child to play with. It is just him and a pool of water, a simple and yet profound moment in front of me. In life, we have so many choices, so many opportunities to learn a lesson, to experience a small piece of the vast beauty of existence. In this moment, I chose to be open to allowing this experience to resound with in me. I contemplated on water.
Water. It is a “giver of life” and also, it can destroy and suffocate it. That same water the boy was playing in has flooded villages, cities…eroded canyons and worn down mountains. That same water quenches the thirst of people living in drought-filled third world countries, given crops the ability to grow and feed millions of people, fallen down through the skies in to rain forests, producing life-giving trees and in turn, the air we breathe.

That water can freeze and become so massive it connects continents over oceans! My mind was being blown. Here I am, modern man, with water within my reach, with the touch of my hand. I can pull on a lever and water is just there, at my leisure. I can drink it, bath in it, cook with it or like this child, I can play in it if I choose.

Who am I in this modern world, who can easily take for granted water?!? How have we arrived at this place in life where modern technology has made it easy for us to loose sight of how amazing and precious water is?!?
If you are still reading, you may be able to relate to these moments or perhaps you just want to know where I am going with this. Either way, fair enough…let me attempt to conclude this.
I slowly come out of my meditative state and almost immediately, the sarcastic side of me pops into my head and I think, “Ah, this kid is still here — ha ha.”

Hey — meditative, contemplative, spiritual or not, we all have our sarcastic side right?!?

I digress…I have the urge to write, so I slowly gather my shirt, towel, phone and key card. I realize I have been there for 40 minutes but it seems like a lot less. The boy is still joyfully moving around and pushing through the water, pretending to be a fish or dolphin. He sees me get up and again stares at me and slows his movements; I smile at him and make my way out.

The moment I hit the hallway I hear loud splashing and shrieks of delight…I peer around the corner and the boy is back to doing exactly what he was doing before I entered the pool area. I smile ear to ear and let out laughter to myself. 

Two things hit me as I walked out of the pool room:

1. I was cramping the boy’s style and interrupted his high volume playing.

2. The boy had respect for me and calmed himself enough for me to enjoy the pool area as well as he waited 40 minutes for me to have my time to reflect and relax. Now he has the pool to himself again and wasted no time getting back to what he wanted to be doing all along.

This speaks volumes for the boy’s understanding of sharing and respect while also showing his childlike, unrestrained impulse for having fun. Reflect if you will for a moment, what would you have done in this situation?

Don’t get me — wrong half the time, I would have turned around and avoided the situation as I am a pretty quiet recluse when I am alone and off the stage. However, honestly think about it. Here I am writing about a situation that is pretty much ordinary and everyday for most of us. We have a way of life, our routines, etc., but many people don’t like to be bothered within the first few moments or hours upon waking up.

The decisions we make and our perspective on any given situation can dictate the experiences we have in this fleeting life. How easy it is for us to take something as simple as a child at play in the water and think nothing of it, find no depth in it whatsoever and be on our way, or update or Twitter, Facebook and Instagram what have you.

We have lost our way for the most part in this modern world. Our connection to the depths of our communion with each other and the elements that surround us on a daily basis is lost in the rat race. Do yourself a huge favor and try to take time — even if it is just a moment each day — to give yourself a “reality check.” Have a positive moment; Lord knows we have enough negative reinforcement around us in our society. Something that seems simple and everyday on the surface can prove to be profound and enlightening if you only push past your comfort zone and find stillness and contemplation. 

I am happy I can still find peace after touring almost non-stop for a year, give or take. Life is fleeting and beautiful, take nothing for granted my friends.

After a two-month break coming up, I’ll see you on the road again! Thank you for reading and for caring about what I do, musically or otherwise. I am thankful to have you as an audience. One love.