Greetings friends. This is what is bound to be a long series of articles, and a subject I find fascinating.
As of late I have been listening to (and watching on youtube) videos about the mix of quantum physics, personal development, spirituality and healing. At the forefront of this East meets West inquiry is Dr. Deepak Chopra. Many believe that he should marry Oprah Winfrey so that she could finally be Oprah Chopra. But seriously folks….
In an audio book type recording released by Dr. Chopra (not sure how I got it) the theme throughout was the connection of body and mind. It seemed like a promo piece for his book “Perfect Health”, but was not just an ad – it was information-packed.
He goes on to say that many of us are taught to think along the lines of Renee Descartes – one of the fathers of western philosophy. According to the audio, Descartes thought that body and mind were separate entities.
Chopra disagrees and gives scientific example of how the whole body – not just the head – thinks. He gives the example of the thought “I am thirsty” and how that same certain chemical that is released in the brain when the thought is had, is also released in the stomach, the heart and the kidneys as well. The thought “I am thirsty” is had by the whole body as an experience- and can be proven.
Here is a short video in which Chopra describes physiological effects of happiness and peak experiences:
A basic point Chopra keeps coming back to is this: we have the greatest pharmacy in the world, right in our own bodies. Pharmacy and store bought medications are substitutes for what our body has the capability to naturally produce – only the chemicals that our body naturally produces are better for us and have no side effects.
So when ailments arise, it is often that the body is unable to produce it’s own “medicines” and patients turn to the same chemicals in the form of treatment.
Just like the water experiment – where the body / mind connection is demonstrated – he explains case study after case study in which patients learned to meditate, and their “in house” pharmacy suddenly started to be more effective.
Meditators came off or reduced medications / treatments for asthma, cancer, hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome and more.
OKAY ALREADY, SO WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MUSIC?
There is a very brief mention of the healing qualities in music, but when I heard it I perked up.
If a thought such as “I am thirsty” makes the whole body react (glands secreting fluids, etc) wouldn’t hearing a piece of music surely make the entire body – not just the head – react?
I know I have heard “scary music” in movies and reacted internally. I have heard music and cried at it’s utter beauty. I have danced to music and felt energized, overjoyed in a maximum health kind of way. I have been a rebellious teen and seethed with anger – and hard rock helped me feel like I was not alone in telling the world to go stick it :-). I have heard classical music and been lifted to the heights of (some of) the vision had my the great composers.
All of these experiences – we know now – are more than just “in the head”. They are full body, physiological experiences.
This must be one of the reasons that some music lasts over years while some dissapears the minute promotion dollars run out. When music lasts over the years it is because people really love it and get a special experience listening to it. It could be James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, J.S. Bach, James Brown or Howlin’ Wolf. There is a thread in great music that heals- and it is not limited to style. Music that stands the test of time has a very special ingredient.
This also explains why a mere “imitation” of something great is not necesarily great. The ingredient we are talking about is a “vibration” or wavelength that listeners pick up on – much like a ghost. Yet, we all know when we hear it – because we feel it. Something is happening in our bodies. Have you ever heard Aretha Franklin sing the blues and felt your skin tingle? I have – and I’d be willing to bet that it’s good for you!
This is the beginning of an explanation (to myself) as to why after years of playing jazz (I still do) and other types of music – I am finding something very special in my acoustic guitar and arrangements of simple songs. On the surface – yes, it’s simpler – but only in terms of vocabulary.
The sound, the vibration of the wood, the timbre of the bronze strings, and the simplicity of the melodies – is healing me. I can feel it!
More to come on this juicy topic…..