There was a period a couple of years ago when I all but stopped listening to music. I just wanted quiet. Silence. I walked around with my noise-canceling headphones on without any music playing. I was going through a rough patch both emotionally and physically and music just seemed more than I could bear. This went on for a very long time.
Then I started putting my headphones on and listening to music when I first woke up and before I fell asleep at night. This sometimes had a cathartic effect – I would find myself sobbing when I played certain songs. A different kind of healing – but healing, for sure.
What is it about music that reaches the very depths of our souls and tugs at our heartstrings? Why does a song from decades ago take us back to a first love, a breakup, or even farther back to a song that used to play on our parents’ old phonograph?
I can’t imagine how intense this must be for a musician. Especially one who has written the music and performs it for years on end. I recently heard a musician comment about how singing a song can reopen old wounds over and over again. Perhaps though, with each performance, a little more of the buried emotion gets released.
I wrote about how we all have varying sensitivities to the five senses, depending on our innate constitution. Hearing is definitely one of mine. Going without listening to music for such an extended period of time seemed like a matter of survival, a healing of sorts. It was just too much for me, from a sensory perspective as well as an emotional one.
Of course, usually it works the other way – listening to music is one of the best ways to heal.
Sound is an integral part of the yogic/Ayurvedic tradition. We are vibratory beings as is everything else in nature. Om is believed to be the first sound of the Universe and all you have to do is be present in a group when it’s chanted to feel its power.
Mantras are chosen for their high vibration. As we chant them, they help to raise our own vibration.
Years ago in a class learning how to tone when doing energy healing work, I felt such a strong connection with my fellow student who was laying on the table, that I was taken aback. I was toning her heart chakra and felt as though the sound coming out of me (more powerful than I would have thought possible) was permeating her heart.
This was a mere two weeks after my partner, Ralph, had died, and my own heart was fragile. But that sound roaring out of me healed something in myself, though it was directed at my friend.
I’ve come to realize that I prefer music with lyrics to plain old jazz or classical music. Must be my love of words, I guess. That being said, I’m hopeless at knowing the words to most songs!
Having reached a happy medium now, I am aware of how silence can (sometimes) be golden but music can feed your soul. I try to find time in my day for both.
I don’t really have any scientific explanation for any of this. I’m sure it’s out there but I kind of prefer the mystery of it. I’m just musing about something that’s been on my mind and I would love for you to weigh in with your own thoughts.
I always marveled at my daughter’s ability to study while listening to music. It unsettled me just to watch her. I’m sitting in a cafe right now, trying to write this, and although I have on my noise-canceling headphones, the music they’re playing is making it difficult.
Time to head back home to my cave where I can get a dose of silence.