“Oh music, in your depths we deposit our hearts and souls.” ~Kahlil Gibran
The ability of music, sound, and harmony to heal the body, mind, and emotions has been recognized as far back as ancient civilizations of Greece. The field of Music Therapy is a widely recognized field and has applications in hospitals, hospices, and institutional settings.
I have been involved with music for almost all of my life. My mother had a small collection of classical music records that, even as a young child, I listened to, over and over. I started playing the piano when I was 8, but it was the day that my band instructor placed a French horn in my hands that the love affair with music really took hold. A seed was planted that day that has grown into a mighty oak. The story of my life includes spending 20 years as a professional musician and now enjoying playing as an enthusiastic hobbyist.
Playing my horn is very healing for me. It’s fun and I’ve found that it can be a spiritual experience for me too. The energy of 100 or so people (in a band or orchestra) concentrating intently together on one moment in time – then the next, then the next – and putting their hearts and souls into the effort of making their most authentic sounds with their instruments; that is something that I find completely addictive. It’s a practice of being in the present moment and producing moments of beauty, nobility, sadness, sweetness, ecstasy, fury, etc. all strung together, measure by measure, moment by moment, note by note. When I’m doing that, all my upsets, pains, worries simply drop away. I feel the music in my body, mind, emotions, and soul. I let myself merge with it and I come away from the experience exhilarated, happy, and peaceful. It opens my heart.
Music is therapeutic. It is energy in motion and draws a person into it, to entrain with it (match its energy) and let it flow through, releasing energy blocks and restoring the natural balance and harmony of their system. It has been well documented by musical scholars how listening to certain pieces of music can release tension, anger, negativity, grief, and can transport the listener through these feelings and into a state of calmness and peace. In psychotherapy, techniques like Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) are extremely effective for this exact reason. A person can process their feelings in the present moment without having to talk about them (or get stuck in the story about the feelings). This leads to emotional release and healing.
Hearing, playing, composing music has the potential to bring us into the higher energies of creativity, transcending the small, petty, complaining, victimized self and placing us in the realm of the transcended self where we experience Unconditional Loving.
How to Engage the Healing Power of Music
What’s a practical way to experience this? One way is to go out into nature with the intention of listening deeply to the sounds and experiencing the natural harmonies of birds singing, wind rustling the leaves of trees, water flowing in streams, the sound of the ocean, etc.
Take up a musical instrument, if you don’t already know how to play. The guitar, harp, piano, recorder, drums – there are so many possibilities. Or, use your natural instrument and sing. There are endless opportunities to learn through classes, individual teachers, and even online instruction.
Listening to music can also be an important part of your day. Making playlists for your every desired mood is a creative way to shift from negativity to what you want to be feeling. Moving to the music by exercising or dancing is a great way energize yourself and increase physical stamina at the same time. I encourage you to let it be fun.
Creating Divine Harmony through any of these methods is a tremendous gift. When we hold the intention to do so, it’s an opportunity to experience the Soul, to be in the presence of God.