Since childhood, I’ve had a profound fascination with how music could give me and others goosebumps and bring tears of joy. This article and the videos within represents my journey of discovery and my ten-year process of writing about the effects of music on consciousness.
If you have any doubts about the physics of how music and/or sounds effects matter and form I encourage you to watch the following video before proceeding.
To begin with and as I grew up as a teenager, I was utterly passionate about racing motocross (dirt bike motorcycles). Eventually, I turned pro at age 18 and became a rider of note within the state of Virginia and East coast racing scene. Racetracks were often hours upon hour away from home and my racing buddies and I made the trip fun by listening to rock music non-stop.
Following a weekend of racing and a long trip back home, I went to school as usual on Monday. On this particular day, I returned to school especially exhausted. For me, going to school was a drag and represented time away from my true passion of racing motorcycles. Of all the classes I took during High School, the one I liked the least, was English.
I hated to read because I considered myself a slow reader and I disliked writing even more. During this time, I was extremely fortunate in having a very cool English teacher who had us reading books by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Robert Heinlein. Still, with each day of school, I felt a dread whenever I had to go to English class.
Again, on this one special day, all of this would change for me when our English teacher came into class and announced, in essence, that we would not be having our regular class. Instead, she said, that we would be listening to music. She stated that she would be turning the lights out in the room and then be playing some music. Our assignment was to put our heads down on the desktop, close our eyes and just listen to the music and then notice where our imagination took us.
My immediate thought was “Cool” I’ll take a good nap. My next thought, “Oh No, I hope she doesn’t play classical music, I hate classical music.” In seconds, I decided to suffer through whatever uncool music she was going to play. As she turned out the lights, I put my head down on the desk’s table and readied myself for a nap.
Then, a mystical moment occurred when the needle touched the record and I heard something I had never experienced before, Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” With each note and song, my mind raced and immediately lit up like a personally synchronized fireworks display. I was on a journey with every second of the music which was sparking my imagination. My mind was being blown wide open. The music took me on a visual roller coaster up, down and through, what seemed like, a sort of cosmic rabbit hole.
It was unlike anything I could have ever imagined. I had grown up as a teenager listening to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Their song “Lucky Man” was my favorite, however, “Dark Side of the Moon” went someplace much deeper. I was in utter awe. I had no idea of how powerfully deep music could touch me, move me and excite my imagination.
After my racing career, I went to college and was exposed, through the school radio station, to the artist Mike Oldfield and his album QE2. To me, he was an unquestionable musical genius. Later I would find out that Mike was the first artist signed by Richard Branson of Virgin music. Mike’s music served as another mind-blowing and epiphany moment for me. I had never heard anything like it and went down the rabbit hole to experience other musicians similar to him…Kitaro, Vangelis, Enya, Tangerine Dream all the artists of Wyndham Hill Records and more.
As a result, I became a DJ at the school radio and did an hour of hardcore new wave music (Ramones, Vapors, B52’s, Producers, Modern English, The Cure, The Tubes and more) and then an hour of electronic space music. As a result, I became an audio file of note on the subject of electronic space / new age music.
After graduating from college, and at about of 28, I experienced a spiritual meltdown. There, and in about a 24 hour period of time, my job as a sales engineer who sold high-end process control computers to refineries / municipal water treatment plants and a long-term relationship, that I thought was heading towards marriage, all went away. I was lost, to say the least. A new friend, Risa, who kindly looked to support me recommend the 1924 authored book entitled “The Game of Life and How to Play it” by Florence Shinn.
In this first of many metaphysical books, I would eventually read Ms. Shinn asked a profound question that would not unring from my mind.
She asked “If you could do anything in the world and there were no limitations (and she specified “there are no limitations other than those we self-imposed”) what would you love to do? What would you love to do the most? This question touched my soul with a resounding sense of clarity that prompted with it the awareness of “this is the most important question anyone will ever ask themselves.”
At this time of being lost and being completely determined to learn my life mission, I began a deep dive search within to answer these profound questions. In essence, Why am I here? …What is my life purpose”..”How can I make a difference in the world”. I remembered and believing in the Biblical quote, “Knock and the door will open, Seek and ye shall find” and so I began meditating and asking will all of my heart for the answers to these great questions.
Then one day while in deep meditation and contemplation of these questions I heard in the room and very loudly “Music.” Music, I thought.
What on earth does music have to do with my life purpose? Trusting as I did in the mystical nature of this booming voice within the room that answered my prayer I decided to ask the second part of the question sequence. What relevant to music would I love to do the most? The answer was quick and apparent.
My greatest joy and passion relative to music would be to share the most spiritually inspirational music around the world to global audiences. From this insight, I vowed to act to the letter (through rain, sleet, hail, snow and every adversity to be imagined) on every intuitive insight and prompted action that I was given in fulfilling my newly discovered musical life mission.
Years later I wrote and produced this initial video to shape the vision and message of my life mission:
I next produced, along with the gracious and gifted help of Richard Gannaway of AO Music, the following video that anchored the vision of my life mission:
Then after persisting through a twenty-year journey of being told by almost every music/production industry expert saying that my mission was unrealistic, and having had everything and the kitchen sink being thrown at me, I pulled off (with the loving support of our team of amazing souls who kindly serve on our Project Peace On Earth Advisory Board) the first worldwide Project Peace On Earth (PPoE) concert from Bethlehem Palestine on Christmas Day 2011. Here is a short video clip except:
The following video message of Loving Oneness is one that I help develop along with the gracious support of the genius of Peter Joseph (writer, producer, and directors of the famed of Zeitgeist films which were downloaded 220 million times in their first year of release).
We first delivered this message out to some 80 million homes worldwide during our first 2011 PPoE Bethlehem concert. Note, not one single person, organization or agency within the Palestinian Government, Private or Religious sector suggested or attempted sensor any part of our PPoE concert or universal message of LOVE ALL.
Here, just below, is my eleven-year journey to discover and articulate the secret power of music and its impact on consciousness and the creation of a loving world of peace.
106-43 BC: Cicero “In ancient times music was the foundation of all the sciences. Education was begun with music with the persuasion that nothing could be expected of a man who was ignorant of music.”
14th Century Sufi poet Hafiz “People say that the soul, on hearing the song of creation, entered the body, but in reality, the soul itself was the song.“-
“Through the holy effect of mantra, the Pranava or Aum sound becomes audible. The sacred sound is heard in various ways, according to the devotee’s stage of advancement (in purifying his heart)…Aum is heard through cultivation of Sraddha” arefrom “The Holy Science” by Swami Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936)
Research has shown that music has the power to change emotional states, change perceptions and physiology, and elevate spiritual awareness. Certain types of music, devotional and sacred in nature, also have the power to transform individual and collective consciousness into the heightened states of love, forgiveness, compassion and physical healing.
Such heightened states of loving awareness are what empowers human consciousness to more empathetically identify with disharmonious societal and geopolitical issues, environmental imbalances and attune to a deeper awareness of the root causes behind physical health situations. This same heightened awareness is what inspires the ability to envision, co-create and implement solutions for these various disharmonies.
This paper, which I wrote over a ten year period of time, explores the possibility of how a globally-broadcast concert of spiritually inspired music can potentially shift collective awareness so that each person can authentically experience their own innate Divinity.
This reference point of the Divine within is what ultimately inspires the awareness to intentionally look for this same Divinity in the eyes of another person, in the eyes of the animals and in the eyes of mother earth. In this state of sacred awareness, we can choose to evolve and honor the spiritual, cultural and ethnic diversity that is the watershed of God’s loving and creative expression towards ALL.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): “The wonders of the music of the future will be of a higher & wider scale and will introduce many sounds that the human ear is now incapable of hearing. Among these new sounds will be the glorious music of angelic chorales. As men hear these they will cease to consider Angels as figments of their imagination.”
” Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881): See deep enough, and you see musically; the heart of nature being everywhere music…”
“A disciple, while passing through different stages (of awareness), becomes able to conceive the different objects of creation in his heart: and how he actually gradually advances through the states of meditation and how, ultimately, by the concentrating his attention on the sensorium, he perceives the peculiar sound, Pranava or Sabda, the Holy Word, at which time the heart becomes divine and the ego, Ahamkara, or son of man becomes merged or baptized in the stream thereof, ad the disciple become Siddha, an adept, a divine personage.” from “The Holy Science” by Swami Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936)
Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-1872) “Music is the harmonious voice of creation: an echo of the invisible world, one note of the divine concord that the entire universe is destined one day to sound.”
Paramahansa Yogananda: “Sound or vibration is the most powerful force in the universe. Music is a divine art, to be used not only for pleasure but as a path to God-realization. Vibrations resulting from devotional singing lead to attunement with the Cosmic Vibration or the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
“…man is a musical being. His origin is in the spoken Word. By sound was he sustained and by the music he evolved. One day he will recognize music as a vital factor in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual evolution of the whole human race.” Corinne Heline, considered a Christian Mystic, author of 28 books (1882-1975)
“I believe that from the earth emerges a musical poetry which is by the nature of its sources tonal. I believe that these sources cause to exist a phonology of music, which evolves from the universal known as the harmonic series. And that there is an equally universal musical syntax, which can be codified and structured in terms of symmetry and repetition.” – Leonard Bernstein
The earth and universe, according to all major religious texts, were created and brought into form through sound. The Upanishads which is considered the oldest spiritual text on our planet (10,000 years older than the Bible) actually translates into “The Last Song.”
The Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, which predates the Bible by some three thousand years, literally translates into “Celestial Song.” Its’ text states: “In the beginning was Brahman, with whom was the Word, and the Word was Brahman and Brahman said this world shall be and the world came into being.”
Similarly, in the Bible’s Gospel of John it states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” According to John the Evangelist in the first century A.D., the Biblical translations of the ‘Word’ means ‘Primary Harmony.’
Egyptian religious texts state that the Singing Sun created the world with its cry of light. He sang: “This world shall be,” and the world came into being. The religious texts of the Aztecs also referred to God as the ‘Creator’ and state that “He sang the world into existence.”
Hindu teachings describe the ‘Word’ in terms of the sound ‘OM,’ which is the vibratory essence of God and the creative energy used to bring the universe into existence. Buddhists refer to this energy as the ‘Primal Vibration,’ teaching that it was divided into 12 tonal derivations, each of which gave rise to and corresponded with the 12 signs of the Zodiac, the 12 months of the year, the 12 hours of the day (yang), the 12 hours of night (Yin), as well as the 12 notes of the chromatic scale.
“All things are aggregations of atoms that dance and by their movement produce sound. When the rhythm of the dance changes, the sound it produces also changes . . . Each atom perpetually sings its song, and the sound at every moment creates dense subtle forms.” – Alexandra David-Neel, Belgian-French opera star and explorer (1868-1969). Author of over 30 books. This quote from “Magic and Mystery in Tibet”.
Music and all audible sound, according to these spiritual texts, represented the audible manifestation of the “Word,” ‘OM,’ or ‘Primal Vibration.’
In fact, the great Sufi master, Hazrat Inayat Khan, went so far as to say: “What makes us feel drawn to music is that our whole being is music; our mind and body, the nature in which we live, the nature which has made us, all that is beneath and around us, it is all music.”
“Sounds are the echo of the “Harmony of the Spheres” which man took into himself when he came down from the divine-spiritual world into the physical world.” Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
“I tell you truly when we are born, we enter the world with the sound of God in our ears, even the singing of the vast chorus of the sky, and the holy chant of the stars in their fixed rounds; it is the Holy Stream of Sound.” Edmond Bordeaux Szekely (translation of the Essene Gospel of Peace) (1900-1979)
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” -Nikola Tesla
In physics, Albert Einstein’s statement, “Energy and mass (matter) are different forms of the same thing mass/energy,” creates the foundation for understanding the energetic/vibratory nature of all matter. As energy increases, matter begins to take form.
In the 19th Century, physicist Ernst Chlandi discovered that when he sprinkled sand onto a flat surface affixed to a pedestal base and then drew a violin bow perpendicularly across the edge of the surface, round, mandala-like shapes were formed as the grains of sand were moved by the sound waves generated.
This work was followed by Dr. Hans Jenny in a field he named ‘Cymatics’ or the study of waves. Jenny was able to capture on a device called a “Tonescope,” the patterns of a circle when “OM,” the sound associated with God, was chanted into this device. He also discovered that concentric diamond shapes also formed within the circle during the process.
“Architecture is crystallized music.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German philosopher, 1749-1832)
Music differs from other art forms, such as paintings, sculpture, photography, or literature, in that they express more of a linear or more of a one and two-dimensional form of matter/energy than does music.
As such, these art forms are processed by either one or the other brain hemispheres. Music, as a type of matter, remains in a vibratory state and is thus processed holographically, or by both the right (intuitive) and the left (analytical) hemispheres of the brain.
The philosopher and poet William Kindler proclaimed that “of all of the arts, music is the perfect art because it strikes the soul without the aid of the intellect.”
“The Science of the future will be based on sympathetic vibrations.” – Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
“Eventually, musical therapists will compose prescriptions after the manner of a pharmacist…” Dr. Ira Altschuler (of the Eloise State Hospital) (1942)
Music affects consciousness because of two Laws of Physics: the first is called the Law of Sympathetic Vibration, and the second is the Law of Entrainment.
The Law of Sympathetic Vibration works like this: take two acoustical (string-type) musical instruments, such as a piano, violin, or guitar, and place them near one another. As the string on instrument A is struck, the vibration from that instrument will resonate and carry across the space between the two instruments striking the strings on the untouched instrument B causing it to vibrate.
Likewise, this Law of Physics is what facilitates the communication and transference of a song’s emotional message (harmony or melody) from the mind of the composer and its performers to the mind of the listener(s), thus causing the person to feel and to take on the corresponding emotional essence of a song’s compositional intent (happy or depressed, peaceful or violent, hopeful or hopeless, and so on).
Similarly, the Law of Sympathetic Vibration explains why a person gets “goosebumps” when listening to a song.
“The companions of right reason are decency, accord, and cadence; decency in song, accord in harmony and cadence in rhythm.” – Plato
The Law of Entrainment, or as it is technically called, ‘mutual phase-locking of two oscillators’, was first described by a Danish physicist, Dutch Scientist Christian Huygens, in 1665. He also formulated the second law of motion and wave theory of light (which two centuries later, became instrumental in the understanding of wave-particle duality.)
This Law of Physics was discovered one afternoon as the physicist observed the armature motion of two pendulum type clocks that he had placed side-by-side on a fireplace mantel. Initially, the armatures swung in opposition to one another. Then, after a short period of time, they began swinging in unison (entraining). This Law of physics occurs as a result of energy always seeking the path of least resistance or, said another way, finding the most efficient means of expressing itself.
In other words, objects (clock armatures) moving in unison (harmony/entrain) expresses a more efficient use of energy than when they move in opposition (disharmony) to one another. Similarly, the Law of Entrainment is what causes the unconscious neurological tendency of a person to move their body or tap their foot in rhythm to the music.
“The noble-minded man’s music is mild and delicate, keeps a uniform mood, enlivens and moves. Such a man does not harbor pain nor mourn in his heart; violent and daring movements are foreign to him.” – CONFUCIUS (551–479 BC)
Ancient Chinese philosophers believed that music was an energy formula that could be used for either the benefit of humankind or misused according to free will. In one of their most revered texts, ‘The Spring and Autumn of Lu Buwei it states: “When desires and emotions do not follow false paths, then music can be perfected. Perfected music has it’s cause. It arises out of justice. Justice arises from the true purpose of the world.”
So strong was the Chinese belief in using music to promote peace that every word for music (Yuo) is represented by the same graphic symbol as the word serenity (lo). To the Chinese, music represented the highest form of prayer and the most powerful means of directing consciousness towards spiritual realization.
Therefore, it was important that composers and performers understood, integrated and aligned themselves with the higher order thoughts of love so that their music promoted a harmonious vision for people.
“A Psalm is the tranquility of souls, the arbitrator of peace, restraining the disorder and the turbulence of thoughts, for it softens the passion of the soul and moderates unruliness . . .So that the singing of psalms brings love, the greatest of good things summoning the help of angels.” – The Christian Church of St. Basil
David Tame noted author of The Secret Power of Music states: “Surely the lowest common denominator which determines the precise nature of any musical work is the mental and emotional state of the composer and/or performer. It is the essence of this state which enters into us, tending to mold and shape our own consciousness into conformity with itself.
The fact is that all types of musicians, good and bad, tend to be quite aware of the communicative power of tonal art. Through this communicative power, the emotional state of one artist can be transferred to a hundred, or even ten million listeners.”
“A great musical performance is actually an exercise in the accurate and exquisite communication of emotions. For the audience to feel the emotion in a musical phrase the performer must also feel it in mind, body, and spirit.” – Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Throughout history, numerous noted scholars have been interested in the relationship between a musician’s creative intention and the resulting composition’s affect on the emotional and spiritual state of the listener. One of the earliest recorded observations was made by Iamblichus, a pupil of Pythagoras.
“And there are certain melodies devised as remedies against the passions of the soul, and also against despondency and lamentation, which Pythagoras invented as things that afford the greatest assistance in these maladies. And again, he employed other melodies against rage and anger, and against every aberration of the soul.”
In Timaeus, Plato stated, “Man’s music is seen as a means of restoring the souls, rendered confused and discordant by bodily affliction, the harmonic proportions that it shares with the world soul of the cosmos.”
Aristotle also concluded that,
“Emotions of any kind are produced by melody and rhythm; therefore by music, a man becomes accustomed to feeling the right emotions; music has thus the power to form character, and the various kinds of music based on the various modes, may be distinguished by their effects on character- one, for example, working in the direction of melancholy, another of effeminacy; one encouraging abandonment, another self-control, another enthusiasm, and so on throughout the series.”
“Music is the shorthand of emotions.” – Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
“All conditions and all circumstances in our lives are a result of a certain level of thinking. If we want to change the conditions and circumstances, we have to change the level of thinking that is responsible for it.” – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
In the early 1800s, Thomas Young, an English physicist (1773-1829), conducted ground-breaking research to establish that light traveled in a wave-like pattern in what he termed the “double-slit experiment.”
Approximately one hundred years later, Einstein’s experiments on light proved that it traveled in a straight line (or as though it had been shot out of a gun) in what he termed the “photoelectric principle.” These differing conclusions confounded the physics community who pondered how could light travel in both a wave pattern and also in a straight line?
In 1934, Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), the renowned German physicist, answered this question in his experiments, which lead to the principle of quantum mechanics, called the “Uncertainty Principle.” Heisenberg’s experiments concluded that the very act of observing a natural phenomenon actually changes what is being observed.
In other words, if the experimenter’s hypothesis is that light travels in a wave pattern, as was the case with Young, then these thoughts literally cause the light particles at a subatomic level to conform to this outcome. Similarly, if the experimenter sought to prove the hypothesis that light traveled in a straight line, as thought Einstein, then these thoughts caused that outcome.
“The superior man tries to promote music as a means to the perfection of human culture. When such music prevails and when people’s minds are lead to the right ideals and aspirations, we may see the appearance of a great nation.”– Confucius (551-479 BCE)
The phenomenon of thoughts causing specific outcomes, as defined by Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, has been described by spiritual doctrines throughout history in terms of how humans express free will and co-create. “As a man acts, so does he become. As a man’s desire is, so is his destiny, “states the Upanishads.
“All that we are is a result of what we have thought,” stated Buddha.
The Bible’s King Solomon said, “As a manthinketh in his heart, so is he.” Interestingly, the root origin of the word “man” means consciousness.
Shakespeare concluded, “Nothing is either good nor bad, but thinking it makes it so.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), a pioneering American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement) proclaimed, “The ancestor of every action is thought.”
“The profound meaning of music and its essential aim . . . is to produce a communion, a union of man with his fellow man and with the Supreme Being.” – Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Pythagoras (570BC-495BC), the father of mathematics, believed that the philosophical principles of love, peace, wisdom, compassion, forgiveness, and joy were embodied in the harmonics of what he termed, “Music of the Spheres.”
This music, he believed, was heard and recreated in proportion to the composer’s level of spiritual evolution and most importantly their intent to create compositions from that devotional mindset. This state of spiritual intention, according to history’s great mystics, is accessed through a devotional and contemplative listening to the small, still, voice within that guides the self into union with Divine Will.
“Be still and know that I AM God.” says the Bible in Psalms 46:10.
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), author Autobiography of a Yogi stated, “The Veda’s, India’s most ancient scriptures, were divinely revealed to the rishis, or ‘seers.’ It was a revelation by sound, directly heard.”
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) said, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), author of The Prophet said: “My soul counseled me and charged me to listen for voices that rise neither from the tongue nor the throat. Before that day, I heard but dully, and naught save clamor and loud cries came to my ears; but now I have learned to listen to silence, to hear its choirs singing the song of ages, chanting the hymns of space, and disclosing the secrets of eternity.”
Carl Jung (1875-1961) “Deeply listening to music opens up new avenues of research I’d never even dreamed of. I feel from now on music should be an essential part of every analysis.”
(Steve & Kitaro)
Kitaro: “I never had education in music, I just learned to trust my ears and my feelings. This music is not from my mind. It is from heaven, going through my body and out my fingers through composing.
Sometimes I wonder. I never practice. I don’t read or write music, but my fingers move. I wonder, ‘Whose song is this?’ I write my songs, but they are not my songs.”
“I function as a channel through which music emerges from the chaos of noise.” – Vangelis, composer of Chariots of Fire
“from the deeply laid principles of inherited associations, musical tones would be likely to excite in us, in an indefinite manner, the strong emotions of a long-past age.” – Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
“To the Greeks, the supreme function of music was to “praise the gods and educate the youth”. In Egypt… Initiatory music was heard only in Temple rites because it carried the vibratory rhythms of other worlds and of a life beyond the mortal.” Plutarch (46-120 AD)
From birth, our consciousness is hard-wired to hear and to listen. The first bone to develop in the human fetus is the ear bone, the first sense to develop in the fetus is hearing. Hearing is the last sense to go when we die.
The cochlea, part of the inner ear, looks like the shell of a snail. In it, there are some 60,000 hair cells, each of which resonates like a microscopic tuning fork, to a specific frequency or sound. As one of these specific hair cells resonates, a corresponding neurological impulse is sent to the brain, causing the release of neuropeptides, or what is called “communicator molecules.”
“We grown-up people think that we appreciate music, but if we realized the sense that an infant has brought with it of appreciating sound and rhythm, we would never boast of knowing music. The infant is music itself.” Hazrat Inayat Khan, 14th century.
“Music is the mediator between the life of the senses and the life of spirit.” – Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
According to Candace Pert, Ph.D., former Chief of Brain Biochemistry at the Clinical Neuroscience Branch of the National Institute of Health, “Everything in your body is being run by these messenger molecules, many of which are peptides.
A peptide is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Peptides are amino acids strung together. They (peptides) appear to mediate intercellular communication throughout the brain and body. We’ve actually found the material manifestations of emotions in these peptides and their receptors. Emotions, they’re the bridge between the mental and the physical or the physical and the mental.
Our organs and tissues are physically affected by moods and attitudes because they come from the realm of the mind and transform themselves in the physical realm through the emotions. Emotions affect whether we’ll get sick from the same loading dose of a virus and directly influence the probability that an organism will get sick.’”
“Every sickness is a musical problem, the healing, therefore, is a musical resolution.” – Novalis (Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg; 1772-1801), the 18th-century German mystic poet.
Similarly, Margret Kemeny, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California, states “We tend to think of feeling happy or sad as intangible. We experience these emotions, but we don’t imagine that they have physical correlates. But in fact, when we feel happy or sad or angry or afraid, very specific changes take place in particular regions of the brain.”
In 1964, the renowned biochemist, Anfinsen, drew an interesting analogy between music and protein molecule stating, (in the 2nd edition of Stryer’s textbook on Biochemistry),
“It struck me recently, that one should really consider the sequence of a protein molecule about to fold into a precise geometric form, as a line of melody written in a canon form and so designed by Nature to fold back into itself, creating harmonic chords of interaction consistent with biological function.”
“Consciousness is somehow a by-product of the simultaneous, high-frequency firing of neurons in different parts of the brain. It’s the meshing of these frequencies that generates consciousness, just as tones from individual instruments produce the rich, complex, and seamless sounds of a symphony orchestra.” – Francis Crick (1916-2004), Co-Discoverer of DNA
The renowned Japanese mathematician and research scientist, Susumu Ohno, converted the mathematical formulas of living cells into musical notes in an attempt to make the patterns of complex genetic codes more discernable. In another experiment, Ohno reversed the process by converting phosphoglyceride kinase, an enzyme that enables humans to metabolize sugar, into a mathematical formula and then played its musical equivalent to a group of Japanese kindergarteners.
He found that it always put the children to sleep because “It sounds like a lullaby.” In another, he reversed the process, translating the notes of Chopin’s funeral march into chemical equations and found the entire passage appeared almost identically to a cancer gene found in humans.
Ohno concluded, “This is not surprising, as nature follows certain physical laws, the universe obeys them, as does the process of life. Music follows the same patterns as well.”
Researcher Dorothy Retallack performed strictly regulated scientific experiments to measure the effects of different types of music on plant growth. In her experiments, music was piped into atmospherically-controlled cabinets that housed seedling plants.
Over the course of several weeks, each of the cabinets/planets was exposed to different types of music for a period of three hours daily. One group was exposed to acid rock, another to classical music, and a third to devotional music. Within ten days, plants being exposed to acid rock began leaning away from the speakers and after a month they died.
Plants exposed to classical music leaned towards the speakers and grew at a normally-expected rate. However, plants exposed to devotional music leaned towards, wrapped around the speakers, and grew two inches taller than the other plants being played classical music.
“I don’t read music. I have the music in mind and sing with my body.” – Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007)
In an article in Scientific American, the Nobel-Prize-winning quantum physicist Brian Josephson, Ph.D., theorized, “that music stems less from superficial cultural influences than from timeless universal ‘structures’ of the mind.” By probing the human response to music, Josephson stated, “Researchers may discern these structures.”
Carl Jung (1875-1961), the renowned psychiatrist, referred to these “timeless universal structures” as archetypal symbols which, in essence, formed the subconscious software from which human emotions are experienced and from which thoughts are created.
Jung also believed that each person’s thoughts contributed to a planetary matrix he termed the “The Collective Consciousness,” a unified database, from which, each mind both received and contributed information. Jung’s thesis was later substantiated by the scientific research of world-renowned biologist, Rupert Sheldrake.
“O believe, as thou livest, that every sound that is spoken over the round world, which thou oughtest to hear, will vibrate in thyne ear.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s experiments, he measured the learning curve of individual rats (of the same genetic lineage) as each ran in succession through a maze. The experiments showed that when Rat A ran through the maze in X time, its’ thought process (or learning curve) was broadcast to and received by the proceeding Rat B, thus reducing its time to run through the maze.
Sheldrake found that when Rat F finally ran the maze it benefited from the aggregate learning curves of Rats A, B, C, D, and E. From these experiments he concluded, “Everything we do . . . thoughts, feelings, emotions, behavior, is deposited, if you will, in a sort of gigantic information bank that is encoded into this planetary thought field that represents the collective experience of the human race.” Sheldrake called this thought field the “morphogenetic” or “M-Field.”
“The presence of those whose minds are not purified and still becomes a source of unrest for others as well as for themselves… Everyone is tired by their presence, and their atmosphere causes uneasiness and discomfort.” – The Sufi Message
In Dr. William S. Condon’s 1975 article in the Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia entitled, “The Multiple Response to Sound in Dysfunctional Children” he writes, “Just as our internal rhythms are locked on hold with one another, they are also entrained with the outside world.
Our physical and mental states change in rhythm with the seasonal swing of the earth and the sun, with tides, with the day-night cycles and perhaps the cosmic rhythms that present-day science has yet to isolate and define. When these rhythms are forced out of phase, disease is likely and dis-ease is inevitable.”
“Through foolishness, they deceived themselves into thinking that there was no right or wrong in music – that it was to be judged good or bad by the pleasure it gave. By their work and their theories they infected the masses with the presumption to think themselves, adequate judges . . . As it was, the criterion as not music, but a reputation for promiscuous cleverness and a spirit of law-breaking.” – Plato, (Laws)
“If one desires to know if a kingdom is well governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality of the music will furnish the answer.” – Confucius
Is there a relationship between the music that children listen to and the way that they might act and grow up? An article in ADWEEK noted, “Teenagers and young adults buy more albums than their elders and are more likely to take their message to heart, whether philosophy, politics, or style.” If this is so, we might consider how Nirvana’s 1993 album “In Utero” (meaning ‘in the womb’), which sold over 9 million units worldwide and featured the song written by Kurt Cobain entitled, “I Hate Myself and Want to Die,” might have influenced its listeners.
Coincidently in this same year, the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Report found “3 to 6 million U.S. children are clinically depressed.” In 1994, Pearl Jam sold almost 4 million units of “Vitalogy,” an album that featured a song that lyrically described a child explaining to a therapist why spankings are better than hugs: “Because you get closer to the person.”
A review by KRT News said the album’s lyrics provided a “harrowing observation that reminds us how effective Pearl Jam has been in using pain to make that valued connection with its fans.” In this same year, UNICEF’s year-end report found that the U.S. ranked third in the world in youth suicides.
“Even music can be intoxicating. Such apparently slight causes destroyed Greece and Rome, and will destroy England and America.” – Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, and leading transcendentalist.
In 1993, Dr. Jonathan Klein published his research in which he surveyed 2,760 adolescents ranging from ages 14 to 16. He found that “There is clearly an association between embracing heavy metal-music and risky behavior (smoking marijuana, cheating, stealing, drinking, alcohol and having sex).” This same year
Snoop Doggy Dog released his album, “Doggy Style” which sold almost 1 million units in its first week on sale. Lyrics from the album stated, “Walking down the street smoking indo (marijuana) sipping on gin and juice . . .Later on that day my boy Dr. Dre came threw [sic] with a gang of tangeray [sic] and a fat ass J of some blue bonic chronic (marijuana).
“The three goddesses of Beauty, Truth, and Goodness are independent and jealous ladies, each with their own particular sphere of activity… we must clearly differentiate their distinct roles if we are to lay the basis of a valid aesthetic judgment; and it would be perverse to allocate music to any except the first.” – Francis Routh, an English composer, organist, pianist, and author.
A 1995 University of Michigan study found that “One in four school children have used illegal drugs before reaching High School.”
In this same year of 1995, Green Day, Rolling Stone magazine’s Band-of-the-Year, released their album, “Dookie,” which sold over 5 million units. Lead band member Dirnt was quoted in a feature article interview as saying: “I think drinking and doing drugs are very important. Everybody should drop acid at least once.” In this same interview Billie Joe Armstrong, lead guitarist, and vocalist for the group stated, “Say you hate somebody, and you sit and think about every possible way that you could kill them. You’re like, ‘I f..king hate’em’ . . . That’s what I like to write about.”
“Rome fell not because of political or economic ineptitude, not even because of barbarian invasions; Rome collapsed through a leaching away of meaning and a loss of faith. Rome fell because of a barbarization from within.” – Lewis Munford (1895-1990), American renowned historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology and influential literary critic.
“We are very slow learners. We are continuing to destroy Mother Nature. We are involved in wars all over the globe. Each religious group believes it is the one and only one to teach the truth, and these groups persecute, kill and discriminate against all others. In the so-called civilized world, children are physically, sexually and/or emotionally abused; they are the leaders of our future.
When children are raised in such a hostile and violent environment, how can we hope for a harmonious future for all the people of this world? We are supposed to be the peacekeepers on this planet, but look at what we are doing on a daily basis!
In this light, the purpose of human life is to achieve our own spiritual evolution, to get rid of negativity, to establish harmony among our physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual quadrants, to learn to live in harmony within the family, community, nation, the whole world and all living things, treating all of mankind as brothers and sisters-thus making it finally possible to have peace on earth. – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. (1926-2004) Swiss American psychiatrist, who pioneered near-death studies. She was the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying (1969), where she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief.
In order to transform our world, we must first transform ourselves. The Disciple Paul stated, “If you want to be transformed, be not of the world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Similarly, Jesus stated, “Resist not evil (with evil). Evil should be resisted only with its logically effective opposite: Good or Love.”
Sophocles (406BCE – 496BCE) proclaimed, “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life; that word is love.”
In the epic 1926 film “Metropolis”, written and directed by Fritz Lang (1890-1976; Austrian-American filmmaker, screenwriter, and occasional film producer and actor) he writes, “Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hands and the mind.”
“There are two aspects of individual harmony: the harmony between body and soul, and the harmony between individuals. All the tragedy in the world, in the individual and in the multitude, comes from lack of harmony. And harmony is the best given by producing harmony in one’s own life. ” Hazrat Inayat Khan, 14th century.
“No one is without love, only some cannot see it. Love is the force that brings all living beings, into being, Being together, in love.” – Lyrics by Chris Spheeris from his album “Pathways to Surrender.”
Individual emotional and physical healing, as well as the eventual attainment of planetary peace, all begin from the same place, the love of self. Music that is inspired and composed with an intention to promote love and inner peace awakens the mind and opens the heart to actualize the wisdom of Jesus who stated, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
“Music can minister to minds diseased, Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, Raze out the written troubles of the brain, And with its sweet oblivious antidote, Cleanse the full bosom of all perilous stuff which weighs upon the heart.” – Shakespeare
Great composers like J.S. Bach wrote at the head of their compositions “A.M.D.G.,” the Latin initials for (Ad majórem Dei glóriam) meaning “For the Greater Glory of God.” Thus, when musicians create and perform from a devotional and self-realized state this intent, at the level of quantum physics, formats their music into a sacred energetic formula that expresses the enlightened perspective of love or what Pythagoras called the ‘Music of the Spheres.’ When this music is experienced by the listener, the Law of Sympathetic Vibration dictates that their mind will resonate correspondingly.
Therefore, the process of listening to spiritually-inspired music establishes the protocol whereby the mind stills and the body relaxes. In this state, the mind, is moved into a present-time reality where the sacred vibration of harmony (OM, Aum, Amen, or Cosmic Vibration) is least distorted and the mind is quiet enough to both witness and remember the Song of the Self, or the mystical principle of the “I AM,” the Divinity within.
Here, the mind is moved from passive hearing to a conscious listening of the “Word” or “Primary Harmony.” In other words, the process of listening to sacred music empowers the mind to perceive and release illusions of fear, pain and suffering so that it experiences and remembers the reality of the love that it already is. Thus, atonement and the integration of Divine Will is made possible.
The bridge between music and this universal search for transcendent meaning may be best exemplified by a remarkable dialog found in the film “Copying Beethoven.” Ed Harris plays Beethoven, and in a powerful scene he demands of the woman who scribes his music, to which he has prior been hurtfully dismissive, “Why do you want to be so near me?” to which she tearfully admits “because I hope that by being in your presence one day I might write great music like you.”
Her deep sincerity touches Beethoven’s heart and for the first time, he sits with her to share the deep intent and volition through which the music he writes comes through him. He says to her:
“The vibrations on the ear are the breath of God speaking to man’s soul. Music is the language of God. We musicians are as close to God as man can be. We hear his voice. We read his lips. We give birth to the children of God who sing his praise. That is what musicians are. And, if we are not that, then we are nothing!”
Indeed, this conscious intent to invoke music as the spiritual conduit between humanity and the Divine may be the very reason why such great composers such as Beethoven, Bach, and Chopin would write at the top of their compositions “A.M.D.G.,” (Ad majórem Dei glóriam) the Latin initials meaning “For the Greater Glory of God.”
“Music should be healing, music should uplift the soul, music should inspire; then there is no better way of getting closer to God, of rising higher towards the spirit, of attaining spiritual perfection, than music, if only it is rightly understood.” – The great Sufi Hazrat Inayat Kahn (1882-1927), author of the book “The Mysticism of Sound and Music” proclaimed by many as the Bible of Music.
One person cannot give to another what he or she does not first have. Peace from emotional disorders and physical disease, peace between cultures and on our planet are inextricably linked to our ability to first find peace within ourselves. Jesus said
“Even the least among you can do what I have done and greater things” ~ John 14:12., if as he later states you find “The kingdom of heaven is within you.” (Luke 17:21). Which, Jesus later states: “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children (attain a metaphorical state of spiritual innocence), ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Matthew 18:3). Only in this state of innocence or what the Buddhist call egoless or as Christians might refer to this as surrendered in God’s Will, can you as it says in Psalm’s 46:10 ”
“Be still, and know that I AM God”. Only when we know that I AM God can we cognize “and God said (spoke the “Word” which means the primary creative harmony) let there be light.”(Genesis 1:3). Then we will know as it says in John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” Hence, we now we are able to understand and witness what Einstein said in his famous equation E=MC2 that “Energy and Mass are different forms of the same thing.”
“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminate the suffering of the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” – Lao Tzu (4th Century BC)
“The healing of ourselves is the healing of the whole nation.” – Buddhist poet Thich Nhat Hanh
“The solution to the problem of the day is the awakening of the consciousness of humanity to the divinity within.” Hazrat Inayat Khan, 14th century.
“The salvation of the world depends on me.” Lesson 186, A Course in Miracles
Thanks for your gracious time and consideration in reading my this article.
I would love to hear your comments:
- How your life has been touched and/or transformed by a particular piece of music and/or a musical experience.
- What you think about Project Peace On Earth’s vision of world peace through sacred music that is broadcast from various sacred sites around the world.
- Finally, your potential interest in supporting our PPoE musical mission of peace. On this 3rd point please kindly write me directly at: [email protected]
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