Note: This article by Chris Farrell appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of BrainWorld Magazine.
Throughout history, people have often turned to music as a means of releasing stress and tension that has been scientifically proven to adversely affect our overall well-being. That’s because the connection between music and healing transcends time and space. When it is composed with the intention of promoting wellness, music has the power to empower its audience. It can be infused with qualities that generate positive feelings, providing a safe harbor and sense of calm within its listeners. Both music and healing are complex and dynamic processes.
We tend to resonate sympathetically with healing music as its vibrations pass through every cell and every fiber of our being. Free from the constraints of language, it moves effortlessly beyond the walls of logic and reason, tapping into our essential nature. This is where healing lives, deep beneath the surface of our consciousness. Simply by listening, we detect a grand orchestration unfolding just below the threshold of our awareness; it energizes our natural tendency to regain a state of equilibrium, a place of wholeness and wellness. It can be considered a balancing act of the highest order.
In “The Healing Power of Mind,” Tulku Thondup reminds us that “The best guide of all is the wisdom within us.” Meditation is a time-honored path that connects us to a place of wholeness. It is an inward journey. Little by little, as we quiet the mind and lose our sense of separation from the world, we slip into this ocean of oneness. Here, the sounds of peace fill the silence, and it is from here that composers can draw inspiration for healing music.
A few years ago, I created and recorded a series of improvised piano meditations titled “Courage & Grace.” They were composed specifically to explore and express the energy of healing and wellness. The intention was to create music that could embody a sense of comfort and strength that listeners could draw from when faced with health challenges of any kind. It was improvised from a meditative and heart-centered perspective, since sharing my deep love of music with the world is a way for me to bring about positive change.
In preparation for the recording sessions, I was steadfast in my resolve to prepare no music in advance. I trusted that a lifetime of experience composing and playing music would be at my fingertips when inspiration stirred, and I wanted to be open to the possibilities. I mindfully embraced the feelings of emptiness and trust as I waited for the music to emerge in its own time. Since the sessions were to be held in a nearby recording studio with a soundproof inner sanctum sealed off from the outer world, every nuance and whisper in the composition would be captured.
When the recording light went on, I still had no idea what I would do next. The music had to be created entirely in the moment. I tried to wait “like a hawk on a treetop, just wait and listen with empty ears,” as W.A. Mathieu, author of “Bridge of Waves,” so elegantly wrote. Breathing deeply and releasing tension, I let go of all my fears. I became still. I surrendered. It was then that a connection was made with the source of my inspiration. Once in motion, I became synchronized with the many rhythmic and tonal combinations, and, as they unfolded, I found myself following the music.
When music is created with the intention of being a catalyst for healing, something special happens. Music, like water, takes the shape of its container. This inner tuneful wisdom was harmony leading me home. In a similar way, healing finds its own path.
While we may never fully understand how this works, we can respect, acknowledge and celebrate its power. My intention created a vessel, and I filled it with healing qualities of love, kindness and hope. After the recording was released, the positive response I received from listeners confirmed what my intuition had been telling me all along — beauty and harmony speak directly to the heart. People were finding comfort, hope, solace, and strength through the music.]
Musicians are often described as having a beautiful touch; they are able to produce a tone of such purity and clarity that one’s heart overflows with feelings of peace, happiness and joy. These energies positively impact the state of our health. When we resonate with music that conveys these essential qualities, we are able to step away from our burdens and bathe in the healing energy of love.
The recipe for healing music is a blend of relaxation techniques, meditation, mindfulness, and inspired heart-centered musical performances that convey a sense of caring and compassion for all. It is a simple gift and meant to be shared. When your inner beauty shines, your whole being moves in harmony. Be well