Don’t we all love music? The joy we feel when we play loud music in the car and sing like there is no tomorrow; the passion and excitement when music takes over our bodies and makes us move; and the depth we feel when we hear a deep and rich classical symphony.
Today I want to talk about the healing powers of music and sounds. I think it’s one of those things that is so simple that we forget its profound influence on us. For me personally, music has created an opening for me to feel.
I spent years trying to shut down my feelings but music was one thing that was somehow always able to penetrate through those walls.
If you have read my story, you know that I grew up in Pakistan. The cultural and religious norms dictated that affection and touch (for adults of opposing genders) be limited to the bedroom. This meant that as soon as we reached puberty, all the affection that we received as children from other gender disappeared. Young lovers who secretly dated, wouldn’t be able to touch each other. The only way they were able to make their lovers feel anything was by words. I grew up with movies and songs that, even to this day, make my body tingle. This is where I found love – in the poetry of words and the rhythms of the music.
During my days of hating men and not trusting the world, angry music became part of my world. The expression of my rage in those days was to go for a drive and listen to extremely angry music at loud volume. I must say that this made me feel better but did not really help. I continued to be angry and aggressive.
I realised that I was angry because I was unwilling to confront the sadness that was really hidden behind it. I was too afraid of the pain, and this is where my relationship with the music really started changing. I started listening to music that helped me connect with my feelings. Music became a pathway for me to feel all the emotions that had been locked away for many many years.
And do you know the most amazing part? When I used music as a gateway to feel my sadness and my pain, it eased. My pain subsided and my anger went away. Angry music made me feel more angry because I started to blame the world for my feelings. But when I surrendered to feeling sadness, I was liberated (after a bit of crying of course).
In many ways, music became a benchmark for me to assess where I was at in terms of my feelings and my connection with the body. I remember going to a classical symphony and be completely taken by the music. My body responded in ways that I didn’t even understand. It was almost like music was talking to my body and my brain wasn’t able to make any sense of this experience.
This was a revelation. My body was no longer afraid of the sensations and emotions; it felt liberated; it was no longer shut down. My body was able to respond to the stimuli of the environment and be safe in that expression. It was waking up (Yes, a big Yayyyyyyyy)
This awakening deepened when I was exposed to special vibrational music like that, which is created by singing bowls, resonance forks, and gongs etc. These instruments have been used for thousands of years in traditional societies such as Tibet, China, South America, for de-stressing, healing, bringing the balance back to the body, meditation and more.
While everyone’s musical journey is different, these instruments create a release in my body. My hands tingle, my body feels like it is vibrating and there is a humming sound inside of me. Sometimes, I feel cold and other times I feel warm. After the music ends, my body feels lighter and I am calmer and at ease.
So I am curious. What is your relationship with the music? Do you, or have you found it particularly helpful in your healing journey? Has it opened you up in ways that you thought impossible?
If you haven’t approached the music in this way, would you be willing to give it a try?
If you wanted to try it?
Below are some of the resources that will allow you to explore music as a healing technique. Imagine if it works, then it’s so easy to access and so free to use.
- Here is a simple music piece that I downloaded from a website (unfortunately I cannot recall where I first found it online). It’s hard to describe what this piece of music does to me so I let you decide for yourself.
- An article from GoodTherapy.org, written by Traci Stein (PhD, MPH) and gives you more information about music and its healing impacts.
- An article on the Tibetan singing bowls tradition and its healing impacts
- Attuned Vibrations: You can download many free audio files on this website and try them out. The music files are created using specific frequencies and will create specific impact when you listen to them.
- This is a spotify playlist (Ruby’s Sharing Sadness List) that I created a while ago. It has some of the sad songs that I listen to when I am feeling sad (others are in my own language). These songs help me be present with my feelings. Try for yourself 🙂
- Ohana Yoga – Sound Healing: I have now attended a few of these sound healing sessions. Liam is such a wise soul, and with his decades of experience with music he creates a symphony that will resonates with the soul and helps release all that you are holding on to. If you are in Melbourne (Australia), I would highly recommend his sound healing sessions (there is one coming up next week).
In my future blogs, I will attempt to explain scientifically how the music waves impact our state. For now, I just hope that you enjoy these music pieces and allow yourself to be immersed in them.
Peace and Blessings.
** Image courtesy: http://www.delamora.life/