April 5, 2021

109 Josh Brill: Music as an Exponential Path of Awareness, Healing, & Life's Mysteries

My next guest is Josh Brill. He is a music and mindfulness coach, artist, and entrepreneur.
He is an acclaimed guitarist and producer, founder of Yoga of Guitar, Yoga of Ukulele, and a transformational guide with over 32 years of experience.

With over 27 years of guitar teaching experience including a position teaching at Berklee College of Music, Josh combines his vast experience as a professional musician and as a master teacher to educate internationally on the power of music as a mindfulness practice.

Josh's life and career as a professional musician further developed and evolved through his work and participation with Robert Fripp and the Guitar Craft/Guitar Circle and Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists courses and projects.

As a musical artist, Josh's current focus is on producing and releasing music as medicine. Medicine music intentionally created to induce a calm mind, an open heart, a relaxed meditative state of being and gently touch the sensitive depths of the human experience with textural tones of a transcendent harmony that feeds the soul with 'good sounds and good feels.'


We Talked About: 

  • The power of believing in yourself, your abilities, and your path
  • The benefits of constant inner inquiry 
  • What is the atomic unit of music practice to assure mastery
  • Why put ourselves in a relaxed and receptive state when we learn is the best way to learn?
  • How his perfectionism robbed him of the joy of music and accumulated into a complete physical, emotional, mental burnout?
  • How music brought him back from complete burnout and put himself back together to enjoy music and life again?
  • Why the lack of body connection is the source where most people struggle with playing instruments?
  • The 2 leverages of internal alignment: attention and engagement
  • How ayahuasca refined his understanding of attention and sound and music?
  • The specific music mechanics composers use to evoke positive or negative emotions by design
  • Mysticism is the exploration of mystery and how music helps us explore the mystery of the universe


Wisdom Quotes

"I was given a lot of gifts. It just, it wasn't the ones that I thought they were. I was given the gift of knowing I needed to do this and having tenacity. I had amazing teachers at every level of my progression. I had the perfect teacher for that moment or that period of time"


"I always felt it was possible. So even when it was difficult or seemingly impossible there is a part of me that knew there was a way to do this. If other people can do it, then I can as well. And it was then became almost like a puzzle. What do I need to figure out inside?"


"if you ask your finger to do this and in this hand to do this and either the note comes out or it doesn't. And if it comes out, is it clear if you put three in a row, are you able to do that evenly? Are unintended notes happening along the way? So there's music giving you feedback of your acuity."


"Cheap fuel becomes expensive in the longterm"


"Personally, I'm less interested in showing somebody how to play a C chord versus helping people feel their hand from the inside out and understand their mind and like connect to themselves. So the music becomes a part of that development of inner inquiry and alignment tuning into harmony"


"if we are in a locked up way place, it's not really gonna support our progress or our ability to be in the moment with what we're doing, which music is a hundred percent depends on."


"I was striving for excellence all the time. That quite literally every note I played had all of this pressure on it. So it robbed the joy of the experience. And the stress accumulated into physical burnout. had body issues, emotional burnout, mental burnout, just complete burnout. So I had to reframe my relationship with music from that standpoint."


"So when I was able to reframe and from the experiential level and necessity level of literally finding a way to use music, to put myself back together in a way that I actually enjoyed music again and enjoyed life, it helped me with my depression and anxiety and connected to something deeper"


"All we really have in any moment is the moment. So then the question is how much of the moment do we have and what is our experience of that?"


"A function of music is a means to begin to stabilize the mind specifically our attention and begin to regulate it which leads to a stable interior architecture that we really can begin to build something on."


"if we are going to ask our body to do something, we probably should be in our body. So we probably ought to be present in our body. If we are going to move it and allow the body to move from the body standpoint, one of the reasons most people struggle with chords besides they're difficult, their hands, they're not in their hands or strumming a continuous rhythm. So basically getting present in the body listening. To the sound, which is connected to a feeling. Every note, when we really listen, it generates a feeling and not necessarily an emotional feeling, but more of a sensation that it's actually a better way to say sensation in the body."


"There are no shortcuts. There are definitely long cuts. The 20/80 rule is internal alignments. The internal alignment as the primary thing to learn then opens up the path in a much greater way because alignment brings a clear mind or a focused mind. So we use the practices to actually learn that thing."


"Internal alignments, which is necessitated on understanding attention. Attention and engagement are connected with each other. If you just continue to engage with the process and continue to develop the internal awarenesses and the attention."


"If you continue to work with something that feels nurturing if the music is even relaxing your nervous system at the same time and teaching you how to do it internally, then you're going to have a much more open space to engage with the process and over time. All of that alignment And investment time investment into accruing and give returns basically. And then it becomes compound interest at that point"


"When we're in the learning state, it actually is of the utmost importance, not to have any stress or negative emotions because we're going to absorb those things more likely because we're in that like open, receptive state."


"Patients happens naturally. It's the natural outcome of compassion. Patience is the outcome of compassion. And also the regulated nervous system."


"Ayahuasca further refines my understanding of attention and how to work with it. Becoming more aware especially when the mind is drifting"


"The right notes, vibrating together, create a shape. And some shapes are more symmetrical, which we experienced is balanced in. Some shapes are more symmetrical, which we experience as dissonance."


"When we see musicians and we get intoxicated by it, part of it, I think is how deep they are internal."


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