By laying out Faruk's life in overview in advance, the reader is now better prepared to follow his stream-of-consciousness discourse on the power of breath, the Yoga of playing music, and to attach various anecdotes to certain stations in his life. Responding to the moment, Faruk launched himself from the ring of my call by sharing what he had just been thinking about.

Before you called, I was thinking: "What am I, what am I?" In Turkish, it translates into "I'm a Ney, I'm a Ney". Once I was very confused and upset. I thought desperately "What should I do, what should I do?" I discovered the answer right there in the question. In Turkish, it becomes "Be with Ney." - What surprise. It said: Play your Ney! (Laughs).

Tell us about that - playing your flute.

You sustain notes on your breath. You have to follow it all the way, to the very last molecule of air. Now you are out of breath, completely. That's what you have to experience. Normally we tense up and rush back. "m out of breath, I should panic." Most people don't fully exhale for that reason. Naturally, they're called shallow breathers.

The secret is to empty the lungs utterly, to find out that you're not breathing. Something else is breathing you, gently, spontaneously, always. You understand that you don't need to rush to take the reigns. You needn't be worried that the next breath won't happen. So now you're letting yourself fall into the blank space between inhale and exhale. Four, five, six seconds -- some people go longer, up to 10 minutes. In that moment of breathlessness, there is serenity.

You understand then that it's not your breath, it's God's breath living you from the inside out. One of the Sufi names for God is "The Sustainer". Now it makes sense to you. Let this silence and serenity engulf you. Even Zen Buddhism talks about watching the breath in Vipassana meditation.

So your playing now becomes a meditation, doesn't it?

Exactly. With a wind instrument, the breath whispers out to make a sound by itself. When you exhale all the way down, go out and come back, there's no tension or effort. Then breath is naturally arising and coming to you. You've given up being the doer. The organically appropriate flow of breath is happening on it own accord. Now you're behind the breath, experiencing its natural force without rushing ahead of it.

Then you pause your thoughts and watch. You're not in control, the body is sustaining itself with great intelligence and you're behind it watching. Then the next inhale comes, it becomes yours and you shape it. "I have to blow this, I have to blow that." All the accumulated theory, notation and life experience now merge with this serenity and seed it.

Actually, there's separation. It's not you, it's simply always there in front of you. Its universal - all the possible notes, they're always already right there in front of you. And all this knowledge and potential is looking at you. (Giggles). You're picking this, picking that like carefree shopping in a fancy mall. Then the feeling comes that you don't have to do anything. You're not responsible. It happens by itself, and you stay relaxed watching it unfurl like a fresh fern uncurls itself.

So of all the instruments you play, the Ney must be the one closest to your heart?

Of course. It's the breath. In the morning when I do my discipline, I first play my Ney, then I practice piano, oud, drums, some other things - but the breath, that's the first thing, the motivator. You see, I've developed this ritual over three years. For every finger on my flute, I perform seven long breaths, seven long breaths for each note before I go to the next one, chromatically, going down lower and lower, in cycles of seven until all the holes are closed.

Then I spin around the world in the eight cardinal directions, to make a complete circle. I've developed this ritual for myself and with each breath concentrate on one chakra while I'm turning.

(Commentary: The chakras, literally wheels in Sanskrit, are nexus points between the different finer-than-physical layers of the body. In specific glands such as the pituitary, they have corresponding points in the visible body. Imagine them like etheric fans, rotating faster or slower, clockwise or counterclockwise, receiving or radiating different astral, mental, solar and cosmic energies.)

These personal exercises suggest an ever deepening geometry inside the body, the circle and the square and its angles inside the body. I've done Hatha Yoga since I was 10 years old. This helped me recognize that what Mohammed brought in the form of Namaz was the same thing. The heart of Koran is the same poetry. In fact, somewhere I wrote once that the most beautiful poetry is written by the grammar of Yoga - by God.

In our tradition, it is said that God whispered to Jubriel who then visited Mohammed and instructed him to pray in this fashion. Before, the prophets prayed simply by prostrating themselves, or opening their hands in a gesture of offering. But there didn't exist this formal prayer, this scientific inner ritual. Then Jubriel pronounced to Mohammed that now was the time for the dispensation of this teaching.

Philosophically, the prophets all drink from the same fountain - from Jesus all the way back to Abraham and Adam. They're all sharing the same core wisdom. But since Mohammed, the body has become the focus of awareness. We know about God, we know about Spirit, we know about the soul. But the most beautiful vehicle and miracle God gave us is this very body. This is where the knowledge and experience has to ground itself to incarnate, grow roots and eventually flower into authentic experience.

All of this is already here in seed form. But we have to become aware of it. And awareness grows while performing this Yoga-type ritual five times, bending down, pumping, performing the bodily movements. Still, you're watching your body throughout. You're turning the head, moving the shoulders, and always watching. It really is a very beautiful dance.

Now we're back to playing the notes. Sustaining them is like sinking into breathlessness - it gives you awareness, connects you with that which you already are. Hence my next project will be called "Breath Rider" - ride on your breath. (Makes a pleasurable sound of exhaling languidly.) It's already coming out, flowing, we can't control it. So simply watch it.

Then you're already in the serenity, away from the thoughts bombarding you constantly. The teachings say that the highest aim is to offer a silent mind to the universe. Silence the mind and you become a real power. You can conceive and do anything you want because you're in a state of relaxation out of which things arise simply and spontaneously.

So that's the state you're in when you compose?

I'm watching. I'm watching the melody. Sometimes I recite poetry and I see a beautiful melody designing itself around it. Or I may just be watching one note being itself. That's the most beautiful thing about it. You just say one thing, whether you really mean it or not, and you just hold it. Don't think about the next word or note, just be with it, blow this one note.

Suddenly everything opens up in front of you, suggesting itself to you. And you pick whatever you like -- laughs -- just gliding into that note. And while you're enjoying that note, the next one suggests itself. The trick is not to think ahead or the flow begins to stutter. Real musicians don't think about the next note. They're with the one they're playing right now, enjoying it. Their thought is with that note. But, normally, we're not in that state. We play a note and we have some kind of melody in our head, some storehouse of phrases we cull from when we improvise.

It happened to me in my life right on the stage. One day I was playing and the singer motioned to me for a solo. Before I began, she was moving toward me and I caught myself thinking about a melody (he sings a typical phrase on the phone). But I caught myself. Instead of doing this, I thought, let me do something else - a long note. And then what I was telling you happened in front of me. I was holding this note, enjoying it longer and longer. Suddenly I saw this melody. It came to me out of nowhere. I got excited but managed to stay still and in this state of letting-go, simply watching it all happen. It was so beautiful and effortless, playing with that kind of innocent motivation or pure impulse.

And, I have a habit of always recording myself. My teachers, composers, they always record. They have the tape and you record what you do because you're always monitoring yourself, constantly checking the past which is right there, second by second. And while I'm listening to the recording, something else suggests itself. Listening and watching, now my knowledge pours itself into that feeling. So composing works like that now. Actually, it's like that all the time now.