This comment from John Lahr's delicious essay on stagefright ("Petrified," The New Yorker, Aug. 28, 2006) reminds me of the simulatenous yet contradictory skills developed through meditation which contribute to regular life becoming gradually more awake:
"The paradox of acting is that, like surfing, it requires both relaxation and concentration. If there is concentration without relaxation, or relaxation without concentration, the performance doesn't work."
Lahr quotes pianist Charles Rosen who sees "stagefright as an inevitable and appropriate result of a vituoso's perfectionism."
'Stagefright is not merely symbolically but functionally necessary, like the dread of a candidate before an examination or a job interview, both designed essentially as a test of courage. Stagefright, like epilepsy, is a divine ailment, a sacred madness...It is a grace that is sufficient in the old Jesuit sense -- that is, insufficient by itself but a necessary condition for success.'