Joyful performances can’t help but inspire.

Musicians performing with Joy draw us into their sphere of inspiration. Their subtle physical cues of relaxed pleasure and confident presence trigger something within us—perhaps due to mirror neurons in our brain that elicit our own inner experience of uplifting pleasure while we watch and listen.

Or perhaps like fear, Joy is simply contagious. I’ve heard it said that the nature of Joy (as an attribute of the Divine) is to want to share itself, and music is one of Joy’s most powerful carriers.

There are two types of Joy that I’ve experienced, both marked by an inner flow of energy up the spine into the brain:

  1. The emotion from good things happening, or simply an abundance of pleasurable circumstances.
  2. The inner experience within that comes WITHOUT packages, boxes, or bags—the basis of our soul’s experience that we touch when we quiet ourselves enough to notice. This Joy is a true inner resource.

We can’t always perform with that first “jump for joy” emotion—life isn’t built that way. But performance can be deepened exponentially when we tap into the inner resource of Joy. Once we still ourselves enough to drop into the true Joy of our souls, the notes we play become somehow enhanced with this deeper experience of ourselves.

When we perform with this state of mind and spirit, audiences pay attention. I’ve been astounded by the number of times someone will interrupt my warmups, when I consciously practice these methods.

“What is that incredibly beautiful piece?”

“umm…a D major scale.”

It’s not just the notes we play—it’s the consciousness with which we play them.

Especially during the holiday season, many of us find ourselves in this Joy, perhaps in a candlelight service, or simply curled up by the fire.

Here’s how to tap into Joy:
  1. Quiet your body and still your mind.
  2. Open your heart by relaxing away from constrictive self-centered emotions. Focus on deepening your breath and relaxing further into your own genuine positivity, a memory of a profound experience, or the melody and feel of a deeply inspiring piece.
  3. Concentrate at the center between my eyebrows, the “spiritual eye” in the prefrontal lobes of the brain. Try to offer whatever sense of inner self or experience upward to that point. It becomes a flow.

I feel this happening as I write this. I consciously sense the shift of attention away from worry and fear and into that of ease, contentment, love and connection. fMRIs, PET and CT scans have shown this shift in blood flow and brain energy in meditators with stunning results.

I take it even a step further and ask that my music awaken for all that inner resource of Joy. I don’t see it as a religious thing, yet Joy is at the heart of all true religions. Joy is our birthright, and our ultimate search is to connect ever more deeply with that source of Joy.



3rd of 10 Obvious Inaudibles: Joy

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