The music is not the notes. The lattice-work of dots is only a set of instructions for creating the music, which itself carries the fluid substrate of feeling intention and gestural energy instilled by the composer and performers.
We composers work by being truly open to experience (cultural, personal, physical, emotional, spiritual) and reflecting upon it, then distilling that field of experience, thought and feeling into understanding, and finally translating all of it back into an experience for the musicians and the audience through music.
We work by drawing music into what we think, into our worldview, into our understanding and our personal wisdom experience, and letting it steep there, not by pushing what we think and feel out into sound.
The true material we composers work with is all that knowledge, sensation, and feeling–not the notes. The notes merely carry the music, and the music carries this distilled understanding-life-energy-experience as communication...as living, immediate and urgent action.