Whether it is actually correct or not, stage fright is typically referred to as a problem. This is quite useful since problems are the result of a misunderstanding. By correcting the misunderstanding the problem may disappear. Different processes of moving into understanding work better for different people but the following exercise might be of value. It also, incidentally, applies very well to times when one is down in the dumps and unable to figure out why.
The procedure itself is called `The 5 Whys.` Quite simple one asks a fundamental question:
`Why do I (have stage fright)?`
Immediately write down the first answer that comes into your head or tape it.
`Because I am afraid of looking stupid…..`
Then immediately repeat the same question. Write or record your answer. Repeat this procedure five times without stopping. Then take your last answer and use it as a basis for a second cycle of five questions. Perhaps…
`Why am I afraid of looking stupid?`
Repeat procedure for five questions. Take your last answer and use it as a basis for a third cycle of an identical question.
Keep going until you feel a sense of release and/or happiness. Reward yourself with a plate of prunes.
There have been a lot of excellent suggestions for dealing with stage fright on this site and since all of them work for someone, somewhere there isn’t a lot of point in repeating them. (Aside from which the banana industry has been responsible for too much suffering). However, I would like to explore the issue from a perspective that isn’t discussed quite so often to see if that rings any bells with anyone.
It feels odd to me to talk about, frankly. Stage fright allied with utterly useless training from an early age ended thankfully my career at an early stage so I could get on with reading v.commie. Yeh! After a long break I began performing regularly again but the weird thing is I don’t have stage fright at all except a minor feeling of tension for the first few notes and that includes concertos, chamber music and concertmaster work. I don’t have all the answers to why this should be but it does have something to do with the following.
Essentially, there is no reason why one should suffer from stage fright. SF (an interesting acronym…) is created at a very deep level that it may be possible to address before turning to some of the aforementioned techniques mentioned above. This concerns three of the most basic laws of the universe. To whit:
1) Thought is creative.
2) Fear attracts like energy.
3) Love is all there is.
Beginning with number one, at least according to Conversations with God (Walsch) we create our life on a moment to moment basis by our thoughts and the universe grants us –exactly- what we ask for. Thus if you say `I want a good technique,` that is precisely what you will receive- a `want` (or lack) of a good technique.;) So what happens to all those people who write in saying they have stage fright? Not only have they `thought` exactly what they have but they have taken the next stage of turning the though into word which is even more powerful. This point of view is also standard in other fields such as Nero Linguistic Programming or affirmation techniques although this latter is usually taught incorrectly and creates more of what the user doesn’t want!
Second, we are composed of energy vibrating at certain speeds to create matter in our particular form. We also emit energy which stretches out to infinity in a dilute form beyond our comprehension. In essence we live in a field of energy as energy like a tapestry in which everything effects everything else. Hence quantum mechanics and similar modern fields of scientific exploration. In this field energy groups together in clumps and intensifies so that the fear we send out accumulates more fear for us.
Thirdly, for practical purposes some branches of psychology typically work with five basic human emotions: fear, love, anger , envy and greed. However, these can be broken down into a polarity between two fundamental emotions, fear and love. (That might seem to contradict point three unless one agrees with the idea that we live in a world of relativity since that is a necessary precursor of experience whereas divinity is a world of absolute in which no relativity is necessary.)
Every action we take, every thought we think, every word we speak is spoken from one of these two positions. By learning to pay attention to this fundamental duality one can change the course of one’s life and that may also include what one feels and does on stage. Is one afraid of appearing weaker than another player, making a mistake and losing face, losing money or what?
Of does one play simply because one feels unspeakable gratitude for the gift of the music and violin and feel love and unity with an audience. If such a feeling is genuine then SF is not possible for anyone.
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