What is your soundtrack for this very moment? What song or symphony would echo your emotions or tell the tale of what’s happening in your life? It’s amazing how music can do all that and more. Confucius said “music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without” so I invite you to consider the ways it enhances your life. Here’s a look at just six of the many good reasons to turn on and tune in.
With the right music we can go home and completely switch off from the hustle and bustle. Scientists would tell us this is because the pleasurable experience of listening to music releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Maybe there is something even more profound to the power of music. Classical pianist and holocaust survivor, the late Alice Herz-Sommer, regarded music as her salvation and asserted that even in Theresienstadt it had preserved her sanity and her life, while bringing hope into the lives of countless others.
I felt that music is the only thing which helps me to have hope. It’s a sort of religion actually. Music is God. – Alice Herz-Sommer
Ever noticed how some music has a way of really getting you driven and ‘in the zone’? It’s worth looking out for music composed specifically to help us reach that state of focused relaxation as it makes us more receptive to motivational messages and constructive direction. The soundtrack to Dr Peter Gruenewald’s ‘Peak Performance and Success’ is said to slow down brain activity, synchronize the activity of the right and left brain, balance the autonomic nervous system and improve the heart rate. This CD can make such a difference, particularly at work, as it prompts the subconscious mind to work closely with the conscious mind, to achieve a greater performance no matter what the circumstance.
Cygnus Books’ review of the ‘Light of Aluna‘ says it all. ‘Every thought, every word, every sound is a vibration that ripples out and echoes throughout the universe. This music is their prayer…a ripple of love in the great ocean of Aluna’. It’s widely believed that our spirits are singing in harmony with the divine, and what a beautiful, sacred sound that must be. Near death survivors describe hearing a blissful chanting while they were out of body. Harvard-trained neurosurgeon, Eben Alexander, was a skeptic of the afterlife until he himself experienced a seven day out of body experience. In his book, Proof of Heaven, he describes the glorious chanting he heard while he lay in a coma. “The sound was palpable and almost material, like a rain that you can feel on your skin but that doesn’t get you wet. Seeing and hearing were not separate in this place where I now was. I could hear the visual beauty of the silvery bodies of those scintillating beings above, and I could see the surging, joyful perfection of what they sang.” Working closely with meditation audio specialist Sacred Acoustics, he has developed Seeking Heaven – four guided meditations that combine digital harmonic frequencies, sacred instruments, sounds from nature and the human voice to recreate the four stages of his miraculous spiritual journey.
NASA have got many of us wondering further, about an infinite sacred song, by releasing recordings of the sounds of our Solar System.
Singing bowls, tribal drumming, Gregorian chants, nada yoga, qawwali music – throughout history, in almost every world culture, sound has been used to purify space and heal people. We’re not usually thinking of mathematics as we’re soothed by the vibrations of music but in fact, most devotional sounds are based on the same perfect mathematical proportions, known since ancient times as ‘Just Intonation’. Tuvan throat singing and the solfeggio frequencies used in Gregorian chants are very good examples of such sacred tones.
“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.” – Albert Einstein
Many of us turn to music to get us through our session of keep fit – it stops us focusing on how difficult the challenge is while drowning out all the puffing and panting (or maybe that’s just me!). *Finnish researchers have also discovered that the processing of musical pulses engages the brain’s motor system, supporting the idea that music and movement are closely intertwined. For a fun way to test that theory, check out Dancing to the Musicals! In some cases, music can even aid weight-loss. For example, using Viana Stibal’s methods from her book ‘Theta Healing Rhythm for Finding Your Perfect Weight’, you can use music to trick your body into thinking you’re exercising! Fantastic!
I’d like to leave you with my soundtrack, for this feeling I get when I write you these emails. Sing it with me, now!
*Research was led by Dr. Vinoo Alluri from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland