I just returned from my first major orchestral performance in 15 years. I never have experienced a symphonic thrill as I have this evening.

Not only was the music remarkable, the soloist extraordinary, but the joy that I felt running through me was exactly what I hoped for.

Is it narcissistic to get goosebumps while you are playing?

I certainly hope not, for I was awash in them all throughout the performance. Why? Because I allowed myself to bring the expanded consciousness of meditation into the orchestral experience.

I have experienced blissful states during solo performances, but tonight was the test to see if the Four Freedoms of Inspired Performance could work in a demanding orchestral setting.

The benefits were remarkable.

I tangibly felt some portion of the incredible joy that Gabriella Lena Frank, Mendelssohn, and the others experienced in their genius.  Just as a bright light helps to reveal nuances missed in ordinary dimness, the depth and stillness of meditation allowed me to perceive the flow of energy and joy that Maestro Kalmar and the orchestra were bringing to the performance.

I allowed myself to resonate with that joyous energy.

And it worked.

The joy enhanced my concentration, and I stayed out of jail. I felt space within my body, within my consciousness, within the expansiveness of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. I expanded that joy as much as possible into the audience, hoping that they could pick up on it as well.

But even if nobody else could feel it, I could.

And that’s what I’m left with as I write this. Happiness. Inner joy. The strongly lingering resonance that will be put to the test again tomorrow afternoon, and yet again on Monday evening.

Will it work consistently?

I’m intrigued to find out!

The Thrill of Joy in the Back of the Section

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