Cultivating Our Inner Glow

Written by on in Mumbai

Namaste, Dear Music Lover,

Each of us is unique in the universe as a living being. So there is no one-size-fits-all way to explain or even to workably explore the intricacies of our internal environment. By internal environment, we aren’t limiting the discussion to matters involving our blood and internal organs.

Some very popular TV health practitioners promote research on the human biome (gut bacteria activity) as one key to robust health and wellbeing. The vitamin, mineral and other supplements industry has become a multibillion-dollar global phenomenon, with some ancient tonics and remedies finding new favor in modern cuisines.

We in S. Asia have been among the most influential in inclusion of healthy herbs, spices in (and some might say more-obscure ingredients that have also been used outside of) kitchens for centuries in all manner of palliative preparations for injury healing, illness recovery, and we also use various plants generally as nutritional tonics, perhaps turmeric being the most widely known among them.

The mind is also an internal aspect of any living creature. In humans (we generally focus on singers for movies here, all of us being human, we presume 😉), the mind is perhaps less understood than most other features of our inner architecture, though it’s under continuous study, and is the target of so much socialization: family & faith traditions, as well as fraternal, educational and political influences, etc. Did we mention “subliminal advertising”?

We may regard our mind as somewhat of an autonomous entity with ‘a mind of its own’ (to tangle a metaphor—forgive us, please) that determines how it goes through its paces in order to effect or be effected in a larger sense. Whether it operates as active supervisor or passive automaton, or is like a physical entity, or in sum is even more than a collection of essentially vague theories.

Or the mind could be conceived of as some type of subconscious repository where ideas collect (randomly as ‘sensory’ input, or on purpose via volition) and reside largely unnoticed, until called into use by some presumedly pressing matter, like conscious awareness and/or curiosity.

The logical outcome of whichever version of imagining one’s mind we explore is that obviously it’s a flawed, oversimplified depiction of what is obviously a nuanced and remarkable reality.

Researchers have studied the mind and in some studies concluded that a mind is like, variously: a sponge, a digital memory array, an organism with its own way of influencing or even sustaining life, or one or more of a vast abundance of other imaginary scenarios.

In short, we may never decisively understand or even be able to map out a mind to anything approaching a fulsome explanation of either how it could look, or how it actually works.

Further, to echo what’s implied above in this post, given that no two minds (even those of identical twins) are exactly identical, there might be little value in attempting to map and codify even the mind’s basic functions. Some brain scientists assert that a feature of the human brain is that it can readily adapt (allegedly better than other mammals) to, and may often overcome difficulties like those also encountered by other species. In other words, a brain is generally regarded as a sort of computer that can heal itself and can grow and evolve to work better on whatever it encounters in life. This quality isn’t unlimited, however it’s claimed to be rather expansive in manifesting its ultimate purpose. I’ll also note in fairness to the other Earthly life forms that it’s a rather convenient theory for humans to assert.

Certainly there are competing models that presume all or most biological systems including brains are like ‘perishable fruit’, with a limited time & scope of usability. Again, theories abound; some of their conclusions are arguably speculative (if not specious) at best.

Take theories asserting we’re able to reach full maturity at age 26, and our remaining years are only subject to declining mental clarity and capacity. Perhaps unless we buy certain supplements or undergo some special treatments… we’re allegedly doomed to lives of painful loneliness and desperation.

We at AntaraMitra.com are not here to end all study and debate on this (or any) topic. We encourage you to challenge and re-assess your worldview to the extent and in the ways that you prefer for yourself. However, we are here to empower you, Dear Music Lover, with some helpful tips and guidance from the music community that enhances us globally and locally.

Obviously, the wide all-encompassing scope of brain and mind sciences involves many non-musical and frankly, some would say irrelevant or strenuously esoteric matters that don’t usually apply to playback singing.

Even apart from the fact that we have shared a post or two in which we arguably slice the onion (of singing expertise as applied to cinema arts) rather thinly yet vaguely [seeking to enable, more than to pretend to explain everything to you in cold, analytical terms]; we also don’t pretend to be the sole or pre-eminent authority here; rather, we hope and try to give you (the aspiring artist) some tools and resources usable in practical ways in order to better your musical skills, and to begin or continue your climb of the ladder of artistry to reach your own ideally-highest level.

Note that in all art (and some would argue, in commerce or business), there is no single path leading to success—or happiness! Also, a career in cinema arts or music may seem not merely improbable but impossible for most. We certainly realize that not everyone reading these articles or any number of other sources about these topics wants to pursue a career in these or allied industries. So be it.

However, and regardless of your personal level of interest, let us move on to the present topic: the inner “glow” that seems to exist in each of us…

Is it a ME (oneself) or an US (all humanity) frame of reference? In other words, does one’s inner glow result from careful cultivation of self-care and learning to become an expert—or does the glow result from so many family and community relationships and experiences serving to enable our growth and wellbeing? Or both?

Either model can be used productively; neither is totally wrong. While psychologists may term them simplistically as “nature vs. nurture” and/or may argue the importance of one over the other, again: we’re not limited to simplistic answers here, and the theories of all experts are truly only as good as they perform for us in real-world situations.

So, let’s get to the heart of the matter: How does (or how “should”) a singer build and maintain a healthy inner glow? That IS a rather vast topic, and there are many ways! One thing about having glow is that it may be difficult to summon or cultivate, but nearly anyone can have/express it, and audiences can nearly always recognize it in any artist (if they are able to see or hear it).

The singing voice is a singer’s instrument. As such, it requires what some healthcare pros call “care and maintenance”. By maintenance, we don’t mean periodic surgeries or other complex procedures. By care, we don’t imply an overabundance of precautions. We mean things like good nutrition and regular, vigorous exercise and therefore a healthy balance in our mucous membranes and breath support from healthy lungs and diaphragm, plus well-developed posture and carriage (also termed “stage presence”) in addition to the nutrients needed in the blood to build and retain muscles and other tissue needed to keep our bodies alive and functioning well. Hydration is also a key factor. I’m actually pursuing the ideal water for performing artists. As Native American activists are quick to remind us: Water💧is Life! We need it, and of the best possible quality and in sufficient volume every day in order to maintain our health!

Proponents of various types of social groups and movements (e.g., various business or nonprofit organizations, spiritual or religious groups, faiths, temples, churches, mosques, ashrams, social or professional clubs, and more recently, online communities for all manner of social, spiritual and cultural activities) may vie for our time and attention. Each one usually suggests why their unique mix of members and benefits are superior, or at least useful and therefore valuable, and especially so to and for busy hardworking people like us (presuming that we do indeed fit into some such category as workers or business owners or managers), touting their own preferences as “life-changing” or “professionally rewarding”, or perhaps “challenging but genuinely worthwhile” as service endeavors.

As I’m often keen to point out, this blog-site is not where we take one side of an issue to pretend we could ever be responsible for your most important decisions, and such matters as faith, morality and if you wish, whatever social connections to take on in your personal quests for successes in home, community or broader endeavors. Should you feel that somehow you’re stuck in one place or a role that’s unacceptable (like it’s possibly illegal or immoral to continue without questioning or calling out as wrong), I can offer the sage advice of the great poet and sage Tagore, who wrote many wise tales of dealing with life’s struggles and being resilient, or at least reflective and loving:

“You are the big drop of dew under the lotus leaf, 
I am the smaller one on its upper side,”
said the dewdrop to the lake.
—R. Tagore

Not to imply that you personally fit the description of one or the other water drop, Dear Music Lover. It’s simply an illustrative turn of phrase that, as Tagore often does, can make us consider our place and purpose in this, our still-largely-unknown universe.

We trust that you’ll consult with your own higher power and those closest to you for guidance and support. If you’re feeling that support for your dreams is tepid or nonexistent, it may be a good time to reassess or perhaps even to abandon a plan or two in favor of a new beginning, even possibly leading to a substantially different new chapter or phase of your career or life and surroundings in general. Too often, a commercial announcement or specialized program aimed primarily at selling us the newest allegedly-superior life-plan (or faith-healing practitioner’s ’snake oil’), health tonic or professional remedy, only to eventually see how much salesmanship it is in reality.

Therefore and always, we urge careful consideration in preference to any harsh, rash, unprepared or hasty action. In free countries, one’s choices are many and varied; we hope and trust that some reasonable measure of fairness and honesty find you measuring up to whatever tasks that you and those near you face!

Obviously, the business of supplying special nutrient supplements aimed at performance enhancement could entail massive study that we admit, is out of scope here. Ditto for illegal drugs and other substances touted to boost one’s ability to perform at high levels even following a long journey, e.g., in the typical ‘aging rock star’ scenario. Trust me, virtually all such “quick fixes” like stimulants create more problems than they ever serve to improve. I also don’t have any specific recommendations for you, Dear Music Lover, that could magically make your music skills flourish in brutally competitive pop or other forms of the commercial music business. It’s not about taking the right pills. It’s more about having a strong work ethic.

I’m sure that some supplements can support eye health, for example, as it’s well known that the eyes are windows to the soul. Teeth whitening treatments are said to make people look healthier (even though teeth are bones, and bones like teeth are said to be off-white or yellow-tinted). One point we want to share is that simulated health is no substitute for genuine vigor. So, supposedly easy/quick artificial simulations like skin bronzer that mimic a healthy glow simply do not serve to substitute for top-level nutritional and exercisable selfhealth.

An easy complement to this discussion is that if you intend to have a glowing inner life that theoretically emanates out of your eyes, it all begins well before the energy is beamed outside via your eyes. It begins with the love that each of us either has inherently as a beloved child of creation (apart from your human-life journey, including whatever religious faith you’re given at birth or later take up yourself) or if absent, needs nurturing.

Hopefully, our lifelong nurturing and love serve to allow each of us to manifest a healthy glow that comports with the love! Nutrition and happiness resulting from the aforementioned love being integral to one’s life are certainly key factors, as well. To those who have managed to survive, prevail, and thrive despite neglect or other abuse, we can only bow respectfully and offer our genuine sympathy coloured with admiration for you, along with gratitude for our good fortune.

Many experts assert that a significant part of what people require for mental and emotional health and wellbeing is connected to the state of our spirituality. This is variously termed religion, faith in a higher power, trust in basic human goodness, and so on. How and where to learn about one’s many options for study and possible adherence to any traditional beliefs are again, among the individual’s many life choices. Choose wisely, Dear Music Lover! While we’re not espousing one path as somehow ‘morally superior’ versus another that’s allegedly ‘depraved’ or ‘self-destructive’, some such decisions cannot be much more evident in terms of expected outcomes. This is codified in notions of balance and karma (i.e., what goes around comes around).

Obviously, we’re not prepared to attempt to present or argue the merits of any given or adopted religious path here in my personal blog-site posts or forum. We hope to stay with less-limiting approaches, with a view toward more empowering modes of living and working. Among them are yoga and meditation (from notably Asian traditions that vastly predate many modern world religions). Note: We’re merely noting and neither advocating nor promoting either. You do you; if either or both suit your needs, then you know what to do… maybe eventually, you will be recognized as a “pioneer in cinema arts”, like some oft-celebrated great others in this industry.

We’re neither proselytizing nor pretending to know all of the ways to thrive (or how to use each of them for utmost effectiveness).

We can advise you, however, Dear Music Lover, to do your best for not only yourself, but audiences everywhere; our goal is to help you learn to take up your own mantle and ‘chant your own unique mantra’ in your quest for movie music greatness—whether your goal is finding the best songs for your dance parties, or as well, if you’re pursuing work in playback singing like my peers and I do. Okay, enough preamble about all of this… let’s move directly to the practical side of this discussion.

One fun and useful technique is to use VISUALIZATION, a very powerful method whereby the practitioner uses mental imagery (imagining their idealized future) to create strong emotional connections between what one can actually see with two visible (Left and Right) eyes—plus notably, using our pineal gland or invisible inner or “third eye” and our goals—meaning we “focus” that inner eye on our desires and aspirations for future situations and personal performance, and—using the mind’s eye—we see ourselves doing and achieving our dreams. Note: It’s worked well for me!

Serious (e.g., Olympics-qualifying) athletes have known and used visualization for a very long time. Some authorities have suggested that our inner eye was better understood and used by long-lost Earthly civilizations like ancient Egyptians, and even certain smaller groups like ancient Earthly inhabitants, e.g., Celts and Polynesians. Ultimately, our present-day limited knowledge of how such things evolved is not what matters most.

The fact remains that such practices can be pivotal to our own levels of ability and how we cope with the parts of life that can either shape us like iron in a skillful master’s forge while we look on in awe (over the unseen but delightful guidance of our God or gods), or alternatively, we ourselves develop and perfect ourselves (apart from any personal or shared performance expectations).

Much like music mastery itself, what matters over and above the particular mechanics of and who’s ultimately responsible for this self-improvement (or some might term it akin to simply tapping into our God-given aptitude/capacity) is the simple fact that it WORKS. Over some weeks, months and years of TRAINING, we improve. Our ability to grasp and carry a tune, to sing in close rhythmic synchronization with our accompaniment, to impart elegance and grace that result from years of education and experience, is only the result of how faithfully we listen, learn and practise these aptitudes—such that our ability actually improves over the years.

Otherwise, why bother doing exercises and watching our diet? The results prove efficacy and beauty, nothing else; also: trying to redefine how “healthy” looks or how “beautiful” great vocals sound can be fun for laughs—but most people don’t argue about who “really looks healthy” or who “really sounds great” in a given song. Although few in an audience may be long-acknowledged masters or able to judge musical proficiency and/health based upon a single performance, virtually everyone knows greatness when they see or hear it. Our nutrition should include sources of probiotics and prebiotics.

So one simpleminded goal, Dear Music Lover, is to achieve one’s best performance through whatever means one can avail, and be content with success borne of all that hard work and patience. Like growing a garden: it doesn’t happen all in one day or overnight. We must put in the seeds, water and nourish the soil adequately and allow the wind and sunshine to impart their wonders. Eventually our gardening will equal or surpass our expectations.

Here are some ideas on using visualization:

  • Use the candleflame stare to calm your nerves and relax your inner narrator. Tap into a far higher register.
  • Employ the power of your dreams.
  • Tap into your imagination (because it’s been called the source of everything).
  • Poetry is hugely relevant to songs. Give it its due, but not total dominion. It’s relevant, but YOU are in full control!
  • Men are said to be visual thinkers (and they continue to have a strong influence over the successes of others). If applicable, use this.
  • Women are said to excel in group situations where they can contribute to a team, and they notably have an ability to multitask. If applicable, use this.
  • Allow consciousness to guide and facilitate (rather than to obsessively control) your actions.
  • Allow beneficent LOVE to manifest and enrich your life experiences when and how love best serves you. 💕
  • See (in your mind’s eye) and relish yourself having the outcomes you seek and sincerely offer gratitude (in order to create space for their manifestation).

Here at AntaraMitra.com, our goal is NOT to help you limit your identity based upon old notions of what life skills you may or may not possess, or based upon flawed assumptions of gender identity. This is the 2020s! Gender hasn’t gone away here, but it also doesn’t limit us in the creative arts (or anyway, it shouldn’t), it simply adds to our unique mix of personal attributes. Use the powers you embody!

My footman (aka FJ or Footman Joe) later told me about our first meeting (when I was a little girl). FJ said that what first drew him to me was my “operatic voice”, and that after he saw my “radiant kind nature” in our initial meeting, he ‘knew’ that he would be among my associates at some future time thereafter. I thanked him for his compliments, and he has to some degree proven himself useful to my family (and in some way handy even to my career). If nothing else, he periodically provides interesting/amusing reading for us.

In this life, there are others who “get us” (meaning they vibe or resonate with our point of view or manners), and certainly, perhaps some who simply can’t or don’t see us as we are. We obviously have no or little ability to determine exactly what others notice about us. If they notice me messing up, I wish to only be informed later, and with some compassion for my own humanity and the limitations I embody. Most people are kind.

Now, on the other hand, if someone can connect with my rendition of a classic or perhaps traditional but lesser-known song, I can handle visible (smiling, maybe swaying in rhythm) signs of appreciation at any moment. That’s just one more proof that I’m human, lol. (I try to avoid getting too caught up in the moment, regardless how painful or joyful!)

If my inner feelings cause me to sort of “glow” inside, and that glow emanates even a little from my eyes or in my voice, yay! I’m happy for that any time! It’s not like I have a trick or wear makeup to accentuate my glow. I like to imagine that it’s my own unique slowly smoldering core that others notice.

Not a flamethrower that burns up everything in its wake! It’s like my internal candle flame, and having admired some inspiring great artists who worked in movies before me, I have been inspired by them, and by so many other good people (from all walks of life)!

What you can or must do to cultivate your inner glow is something that’s unique to you, your body, and how you decide to interact with yourself and others. We wish you well!

Before I push this post out to my blog-site on the WWW, I want to encourage you to give your inner glow some attention. Again, it’s not the sort of thing one can address in a single visit to a hair stylist, or by choosing our ‘sexiest’ outfits as expressions of how we feel, or connecting with our “ultimate song”.

We each have a type of inner glow that’s uniquely ours. It may need months or years to successfully manifest in our lives and relationships, but I have come to learn that experienced pros with whom one works are keen to notice and to cultivate inner glows. Because they are confident in theirs, they’re also able to notice and support expressions of the glows emanating from others.

I’ll close with one more quick allegory (also contributed by my loyal footguy): The American entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. (1925-1990) was a man of modest stature and rather dark skin, who not only survived but thrived in his chosen profession of singer and stage/TV actor during a time in America when Blacks1 were more often seen in lowly positions of service—-not with their names topping a Broadway marquee in 1956! But Davis had something special in him that glowed. He is still often called “the greatest entertainer of all time.”

For further reading on so-called “racial issues” that have manifested on Earth with regard to Africans (and Indians!) of non-Anglo/European descent and/or darker skin tones, we suggest using your preferred search engine with terms “Muhammad Ali”, “Black Panther”, “Stokely Carmichael” / “Kwame Turé” and “Martin Luther King”, as these are names of historically-important empowerment movement leaders in America who’ve also influenced the global evolution in predominant notions related to skin color and other aspects of cultural identity and social development.

Certainly there are other influencers (Americans, Indians and others) whose lives and works merit further consideration, however we generally pursue the intricacies of playback singing and vocal music as career pursuits here more exclusively than any other topics. We may discuss more sociological concepts in the future, however sociology is really not our primary focus.

There are any number of theories about what drove Mr Davis to the greatness he was destined to achieve. Observers of the Jewish faith could point to his conversion to that religion in the 1950s (later saying he saw and empathized with the oppression of both Blacks and Jews), and he suffered the loss of his left eye in an auto accident at 29; also, having been drafted into the U.S. Army at age 18 during wartime in 1944, he was subjected to a litany of degradations from his white comrades.

Nothing seemed to stop the 5’6” (rather short and slight) Davis. His “inner drive” was undeniably impressive. He glowed! It manifested in a larger-than-life persona that carried him to unprecedented heights for an African American in that era.

As one of his Jazz-musician buddies might have put it: “That cat sure had an inner glow—like no other singer!” It shone not merely through his single healthy eye; it emanated from his voice and personality. The point of my footman’s reflection here was that it’s not only about two beautiful healthy eyes. It’s about one’s inner self radiating outwardly!

You probably have a certain special glow yourself. Please cultivate it. Just be your best self! Make your higher power, family and community proud, so whatever measures of fame and material success that come your way will follow logically, and you’ll have done the work that gives you the ability and confidence to sustain yourself. The matter of your best public performances is one that no one else (other than a skilled substitute or you alone) can co-opt or do!

Namaste,

AM

P.S.: Our inclusion of a hyperlink to an addiction recovery web page discussing the matter of finding/using one’s “higher power” is neither a referral to nor an endorsement to any specific organization, and we also don’t equate the practise of any sole religion or faith as preeminent over others. As in all of our “free advice to aspiring artists” here, your choices are best left to your own discretion. Choose wisely, Dear Music Lover!

  1. The term “Black” has become the most-preferred label referring to American people whose ancestors are or were of African origin/descent. As a sociological label, it is obviously neither highly accurate nor universally accepted, and we use it here advisedly as a descriptive term, given that preceding terms like negro and coloured person fell from favor in the progressive movements influencing world culture in the 1960s.

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