Music and Healing. Or Waiting for the Miracle…

There are tunes that stay in our minds for a long time. It was Leonard Cohen’s: ‘Waiting for the Miracle to Come’ that stayed with me for days….Music can make us happy or sad, can bring peace, tranquility or relaxation or can even protect our mind from negative influences.

During my bad times I came across relaxation music and this helped me a lot during long sleepless nights. Later, I started to enjoy native and aborigine’s tunes and meditation music with their seductive sounds. This music resonated within me and I realized that the same tunes and repetitions used in Asian or native Indian music can be found in Slovak folk music.

Recently, I was lucky to see the rituals involved with the enthronement of a new abbot in a Tibetan monastery; ceremonies and music were performed for several days before installing the abbot to his throne. The rituals were designed to wish him well in his carrier and to bestow positive energy on all involved. The main instruments were drums and horns.

Very powerful and ancient shamanic drumming uses a repetitive rhythm that begins slowly and then gradually builds in intensity to a tempo of three to seven beats per second. The ascending tempo will induce light to deep trance states, and facilitate the techniques of empowering and healing.

The key to understanding shamanic drum music is to realize that the universe is made of vibration energy; of a single, flowing rhythm. As we know from quantum physics, everything in the universe, from the smallest subatomic particle to the largest star, has an inherent vibrational pattern. The entire universe is created through vibration and can be influenced through the vibrations of drumming. Thus the shamanic drum is a tool for altering the vibrational state of the person, which can facilitate healing. It is known that the shamanic drumming activate Theta waves that occur at 4-8 Hz (cycles/sec.) and the sound of a drum vibrating resonates at a similar frequency to that of the Earth,  which is 7.8 cycles/sec (Schumann frequency).

The sounds and rhythm of native music such as that of Native Americans, but also the tribe music of Africa, Tibet and India and any kind of chanting or mantras can restore peace and harmony in our mind.

This is done by its beat and repetitiveness which alone can bring the initial meditative stages in ones mind. It is believed that the pentatonic scale (with five notes as opposed to today’s seven notes in one octave)  was used way back in ancient times. It has been found in ancient music around the world including that of the Native Americans, Celts, and Slavs from the High Tatras in Europe. This forms the structure of the most basic primordial music with repetitive lines being of utmost importance for human life; it is the connection of humanity with the heavens, and with the universe.

As a fan of Vangelis music I was pleased to know that this is the style he used in his major hymns. Personally I often listen to his music, when I need to think, to work, or when I need to put more effort into something. The heroism and the great effort that I hear from the music help me to move on with the task at hand, and with my life. Conquest of Paradise or Voices are my preferred pieces for hard work; in them one can feel the intense struggle of humankind struggling together with me.

It was Billy Joel who said: ‘I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from everyone loves music’.

Music and healing

As for mantras I like to listen to: Mahamrityunjaya sang by Hein Braat. It makes me focus my mind and my ideas. I listen to it when I write, deal with difficult concepts or go to sleep. Somebody commented on Mahamrityunjaya; ‘It moves me to the very core of my being, after more than a year of loss, grief, and sadness I feel a warm glow in my heart, I am re-awakening.’

Recently I have come across Hemi-Sync music. Hemi-Sync is short for Hemispheric Synchronization, also known as brainwave synchronization. The founder, Robert Monroe, indicated that the technique synchronizes the two hemispheres of one’s brain, using slightly different frequency for each ear. Hemi-Sync has been used for many purposes, including relaxation, sleep induction, learning, memory aids, helping those with physical and mental difficulties, and reaching meditative states through the use of sound. During meditative states we generate theta waves in our brain that corresponds to the wavelets between 4-8 Hz.

During these stages induced by music or by meditation we are able to break and overcome our mental blocks, the hidden psychological blockages that were hidden deep inside us for many years. Now these troubles may come to the surface and we are able to recall them, face them, and break the existing pattern that we created years back and followed many times. Often we have installed this pattern of behaviour ourselves either through past experience and behaviour or in an attempt to protect ourselves from something negative (like suffering) from our past.

Meditation and meditative music can help a lot in this respect – and this is carried in the message which is still in my mind: Waiting for the Miracle…After doing a few years of meditations (I prefer to call it mind exercises) I can feel I have changed a little. But I have talked to other people regularly and many of them say: “You would not believe it, but now I am a completely changed person.” And I believe them, because I have seen their smile.

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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