One of the best things that has ever happened to me in my whole damn life is coming across the writings of Eckhart Tolle. He had an epiphany about the "nature of the mind and consciousness" and he has written books trying to explain what he discovered. In a moment of abject despair (contemplating suicide), he experienced a collapse of the "ego" - the mind. As this was happening, he realized that he was observing it. You can only observe something if you are at least somewhat separated from it. He kept repeating to himself, "I can't stand myself".....but then asked...."Who is I?" and "Who is Myself"? Are there two entities here? And if so, which one is real? He posits that the "I" is the silent presence behind the thinking mind (Myself). Your "self" is a mental construct that you've created through your life experiences - the ego.
So, I recently had a discussion with my little sister about this stuff regarding feeling "unhappy" and here's how I tried to explain it to her.....
It is Eckhart Tolle's main message that the only "sane" place to live is in the present. Otherwise, you're lost in the labyrinth of your "mind" - which is a construct - not a real place. If you're worried, you're too much in the future. If you're sad, you're too much in the past.
It takes just as much work to be miserable as it does to be peaceful. I think the word "happy" gets overused. We should really be seeking inner peace. Happiness is a momentary emotion. Peace is a deeper and more subtle feeling. I prefer the word "satisfied" to happiness too.
As Dr. Phil (whom I'm loathe to quote, but he's dead on here) says - "If you're miserable, there's a payoff to staying that way. What's the payoff?"
Is the payoff that you conclude that you're the smartest guy in the room seeing through it all - superiority complex? Is the payoff that you cause the people around you to walk on eggshells - therefore controlling the situation? Is the payoff that you get to continue to think of yourself as a "martyr" or "victim"? Shit is always just happening to you.
Tolle realized that the only way out of his own existential misery was to change his mind. In other words - not take his own "mind" seriously. The mind is a terrible thing. haha. The heart beats on its own. The lungs breathe on their own. You don't have to tell them to do it. The mind "thinks" on its own. It is a flaw in the design when we then completely identify with what the mind is thinking. So, we get wrapped up in the broken record of our "thoughts" when they are NOT REAL. It's just the mind chewing on itself and doing its thing. So, ignore your mind's neuroses and get back in your body in the present. All of sudden you realize - I feel okay - satisfied - peaceful....maybe even... happy.
So, when shit happens, do you say - okay, fuck. Well, let's fix it and get on with it...? OR - oh no, what did I do to deserve this? How does this make me look to others? - and off you go down the rabbit hole of your thoughts that catastrophize (and identify yourself through!) the event instead of just dealing with it.
Okay, Mosrie, fine. But how does this relate to songwriting and singing?????
I experiment with being fully present in my body while I write songs. Makes a huge difference. It's like I try to "feel" where the song is going rather than writing from my head. I use more visceral language (which I like) rather that intellectual concepts. I let ideas just come to me. It's led to several of my better songs.
And being on stage - there's nothing better than being in your body rather than worrying about what the audience is thinking of me. It makes for a more satisfying and authentic performance! AND you're more likely to connect with the audience when you're fully present.
Contrary to some nutjobs, Eckhart Tolle is NOT a religious thing. It's simply about being present in your body and realizing that your consciousness is NOT your thinking mind, but the presence behind the thinking mind that is observing it all. Sit and try to feel that in yourself. It will change your life.