To play music we use our body, our mind, and our emotions. In part one we explored the human experience, the three brains, and the trillions of cells sending and receiving information in our body. When your inner musician is trusted with the task of coordinating the human being into being an instrument for playing music, the music flows freely. Trust in your inner music and you will enjoy freedom from fear, worry, and anxiety. With your inner musician driving the human being the music plays you.
Finding a way to achieve a peaceful focus for the mind can help keep it calm during stressful situations. This is a personal battle and you’ll find your own way to get there. Some have support animals and security blankets, or maybe take a walk before the performance. My mind happily sings along while I play. This method keeps the mind and body in harmony doing the same thing. It is a banana I give to the monkey mind and it gives my thinking mind something to do besides think. Getting to know your mind is a step in human flowering that we all go through eventually and finding your innermost mind takes some personal exploration.
The Seven Energy Centers
Some of the world’s oldest texts teach us about the seven energy centers or chakras. These seven emotional energy wheels spin allowing energy to flow through the body. If you are wondering why you feel stuck or locked into certain ways of thinking or if the same things keep happening to you repeatedly, you may have a wheel that has stopped spinning. This keeps the energy from flowing up to the rest of the centers. These centers have a particular energy that needs to be balanced for the wheel to spin and the energy to flow up from the root to the crown and back again. Let’s go through them here in a meditation style.
Take a moment and look around your surroundings and bring yourself into the present moment. Take three deep breaths in through the nose and then out through the mouth. This three-breathe reset will calm the mind and help you be still enough to experience these energy centers. Now let’s take some time to go through each of the seven centers as if we are trying to clear them in meditation. A routine that has been around for at least four thousand years.
At the base of the spine, we find the root and this center deals with survival and well-being. Fear and worry block this energy. Direct your attention there now and imagine a ball of energy warming you. Breathe in and become aware of all the things that you are afraid of, the thoughts that keep you out of the present moment, then breathe out and let go of those fears and worries. Life is here and now. Fear and worries hold us back from living our lives in the present moment. Let go of these fear and worries. Breathe in and be aware of the worries, breathe out and let them go. Surrender and let go of the fear and worry that hold you back then smile.
The second center contains the energy of creativity and creation and is located in the lower abdomen and gets blocked by guilt. Imagine warm energy in your lower abdomen and become aware of what you blame yourself for as you breathe in and let go of the guilt and burden and all of the things pulling you down as you breathe out. Breathe in and accept that things happen and they are in the past. Don’t burden yourself with past mistakes, breathe out, forgive yourself, and smile.
The Solar Plexus
Known as “the fire” chakra, willpower and confidence thrive when this energy wheel is spinning and shame blocks this energy. Feel the energy in your belly, breathe in and become aware of your biggest disappointments then breathe out and accept yourself. Breathe in and think of what you are ashamed of, then breathe out and accept yourself. Let go of the things you can’t change, accept yourself completely, and smile.
The fourth energy wheel deals with love and compassion and is blocked by grief. Imagine the warm loving energy coming from your heart as you breathe in and observe all the grief hiding inside of you and all the loss you have felt. Breathe out and let go of all the pain and grudges. Love is a form of energy. It is all around us and people you love may have left this world but their love and energy still surround us. It does not leave this world and is inside of us. Create space for that love. Let go of the grief with each out-breath. Let love take its place. Now smile, you are filled with love. The pain is gone the grief is gone and you are full of love.
Next is the sound chakra. Feel the warm energy in your throat as you swallow. This energy is our voice. It deals with truth and is blocked by lies we tell ourselves. Find the courage to follow your deepest desires and accept yourself as you are. Breathe in and become aware of the lies you hide under, breathe out, rise up and let go of these lies go. Push that lie away and accept your true nature. With truth comes power and freedom. Accept yourself as you are with no need to hide and smile.
The Third Eye
The 6th chakra is located at the center of your forehead and deals with insight and intuition. Feel the power and energy between your eyes and open the third eye. This is your 6th sense and is blocked by the illusion that we are separate from our surroundings. We are connected to everything as all have emerged from the same source. Breathe in and become aware of what thoughts separate you from others and what thoughts make you a separate individual. Your ego needs this false separation to survive. As you breathe out become aware that your thoughts and abilities all emerge from the same source that everyone and everything originated from so become one and merge yourself with the whole. We are separate but connected and we all have a special role to play. We all need each other. Surrender yourself to the whole and smile.
The 7th chakra is our connection to the cosmic energy and our higher self. It is blocked by our attachments to this world. To the people that we love, the materialistic stuff, and to money. Breathe in and become aware of these attachments. Become aware of what holds you here on this earth. Breathe out and let go of all the stuff you hold onto, these bones, and the body, breathe out and let go of all these bindings. Your stay on this earth is temporary the energy and the love that you are composed of, the real you, can never be destroyed. It was always there in this universe and it will always be there in this universe so smile and be glad.
The physical form that we are attached to is an illusion and is temporary. What is permanent will always be here. Connect with that source of energy and love that is permanent. Let go of all your attachments to everything temporarily and as you do that, the fear of death disappears. What is real and permanent can never die. Your soul, your love, and your energy will never die, only the physical forms transform. Connect with the permanent source of energy. Let the energy flow into you and connect you with it. Now, smile and go spread this energy and love out into the universe to make it more beautiful.
Who’s The Boss?
With the seven energy centers, three brains, 37.2 trillion cells, and six senses dealing with the information coming in from our outside environment, it is easy to see why you might have conflicting voices in your head. The belly wants food, the mind wants a problem to solve, and the heart is looking for love. The senses are always on, smelling food, watching out for danger, or longing to hold hands with our sweetheart. Who is in charge? Which voice should you listen to?
If you are aware of these thoughts as an observer then you are that observer. The observer takes in all the information from all the places and then decides what to do. If we are taken over by the senses, smelling something yummy and not eating it can be a tough choice, but we can choose. Sometimes you might start to make that choice after you’ve already put the cookie in your mouth. We must have a strong sense of the present moment to keep choosing and not be taken over by habit or impulse. You can choose to be an actor and not a reactor.
Training Good Habits in Your Inner Musician
When it comes to playing music we want our habits and impulses to be ones that we’ve trained. We don’t think while we are performing the tasks we’ve made habitual, we can let them flow. We learn good phrasing and teach our fingers to flow over the keyboard as we play with training and practice, always in storytelling mode. Once we’ve trained good musical habits we can let go and trust that these habits will be there when we need them.
The body will respond with easy movements and free-flowing music when your inner musician takes the wheel. Once the habits are set and the training has been absorbed we have one more crucial attitude to assume. We don’t care about the results. This allows us to stay in the present moment and perform at our best.
Trust Like You Just Don’t Care
There is an art to not caring and it is a fine line to walk. Of course, we want to do well. Trusting your inner musician means that you know you will be the best you can be at that moment and you are allowing for this performance. With no care about the results comes great power. You never look back in regret or ahead with fear or worry. You are in the present moment and free to play. The strive for perfection lessens our ability to perform. When you are in the zone and have thoughts of being careful or perfect you will soon be out of the zone and becoming conscious of this state will end it too. Don’t think just play is the motto. This attitude allows the inner musician to take over and play.
The zone can be shy and elusive, like trying to pet a cat. Try to pet the cat and it won’t let you, but if you sit down and start reading you will soon find that cat is in your book, purring. If you are trying to get in the zone you’re already lost. The mind doesn’t control the zone, it allows it. For me, being “in the zone” means I’m trusting my inner musician to run the human machine and letting the music that is so loud in my aural imagination come out of me or my instrument. Singing, playing my horn, or playing the piano, my mental experience is the same. I sing. My body, mind, and emotions are filled with the music I’m playing, and the music has to get out of my body.
This world is filled with competition. We compete in teams or as individuals in athletic events, cooking competitions, or games of memory and intelligence. From cheerleading to cheese making almost everything we do comes with an idea of winning. We strive to be faster, score more points, or have the judges judge our performance as superior. On Friday nights when I’ve had a wonderful dinner that my beautiful wife has made for me, I’m winning too.
This competitive nature can warp into “Cats are better than dogs, I got this shirt for a better price than you and it looks better on me too, or I’ll bet this drop of water falls down the windshield before that one.” The ways that we think about competition help us use the powerful emotions that come out of it to benefit our performance instead of having this energy turn toxic and hampering it.
Winning: It’s Not What You Think
When I play tennis I have no energy for ill will. I am competing and I desire the best opponent in his best game. I wish to be pushed to show my best, even if it is not good enough to win. Winning isn’t a thought that I cling to. My inner musician is too busy playing to think. Yes, my inner musician plays tennis, golf, and any other game I play but I only feel like I’ve won when I win the inner game. “Was I aware and present as challenging moments occurred?, Did I act without the second-guessing middleman forcing my actions? Was I able to stay free of any emotion that might hamper my performance?”
These are the factors that make up my victory. Winning is a result, and I don’t care about the results. We can win and play poorly so winning is a poor standard for high performance. Embrace the experience and be the thing you are doing, not the person doing it. Free your inner musician to sing, unashamed, guilt-free, without worry or fear of being wrong. Don’t think, just play and squeeze all the love and energy you can out of every experience. Now go out and spread that love around. Let’s fill this world with some loving competition. It can only make it better.