Meditation: Insight and Focus for Musicians
Meditation has been proven to be a useful tool for musicians who want to learn techniques to gain focus, manage anxiety ("stage fright"), negative or difficult feelings about competition, comparison, self-talk, and a multitude of other potential roadblocks. At its fundamental level, meditation helps us become more aware of reality, the present moment, and how we treat ourselves and others. In the 21st century, our brains are continuously stimulated and often overwhelmed. This sometimes leads to an information overload and the need to refocus and reset ourselves. Meditation is perfect for this.
Keep in mind: No good progress happens quickly. There is no "miracle fix" or quick fix. In fact, it might surprise you to know that there is nothing to fix, because there is nothing wrong with you. We often feel as if there is something wrong, when what we really need to do is simply accept the present truths and let go of expectations and preconceived ideas of how things "should" be. The practice of mindfulness is ongoing, and develops as we progress. Also, using mindfulness to assist in your journey to manage anxiety will not differ much from its use to assist with depression or with improving focus. Mindfulness is a general term, a general practice, but its benefits can be experienced by everyone. This Mindful.org article goes into more depth on this idea.
What Meditation Is and Isn't
Meditation is not just a relaxation technique (although relaxation is often - not always - a side effect). It is not specifically for religious individuals. Anyone can practice - both non-religious and religious, happy or not happy, content or anxious. The practice is highly personal, and it is what we each make it. Meditation is not about running away from reality and "checking out." It is about facing our individual realities without judgement against ourselves and others. With the mindfulness techniques, we can train ourselves to see reality exactly as it is. Once we achieve this, it is easier to move forward and manage our challenges as they happen. The important thing to remember, above all, is that there is no single "correct" way to meditate. No one way is more pure or beneficial than another. Experiment, and find something that works for you.
Compassion and Kindness
Every person is driven by the desire to be happy and fulfilled in their lives. Experiencing jealousy, negative comparisons, competition, and a need to prove one's self are just a few of the factors that contribute to the harsh environment musicians sometimes encounter.
Cultivating compassion for ourselves is one of the greatest gifts we can give. Inner friendliness reduces self-criticism and promotes a general sense of contentment - regardless of our surroundings. It also increases social connections and empathy. The info-graphic on the right gives some examples of ways we can wish ourselves and others compassion and kindness. Clicking on the photo will allow you to access a PDF file.
Individual Sessions and Group Workshops
If you are looking for personalized assistance in finding a meditation practice that works for you, Dr. Lanz is available for individual guided sessions. She also leads group workshops on mindfulness other aspects of meditation. Sessions are led either locally (Denver, CO and surrounding areas), or via Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, etc. For questions regarding rates and topics, please send her a message here.
Please visit the Articles page to discover online resources compiled by Dr. Lanz. Additionally, she has assembled recommended books that will further your understanding of the practice of mindfulness.