Through Thick and Thin—
A song is our longest running love affair. It’s our best friend. It has a direct line to our heart. It impels us to feel what we feel so that we can move through it. In that way, it is a healer. It cries with us when we need to cry… rails with us when we need to rail against the world. And it broods right along with us, on repeat, if necessary, when we need to brood. It is capable of indulging in the deepest existential disenchantment… it can wallow in the delicious angst of dejection and forlornness, without ever so daring the unwelcome and arrogant slip into trying to put things right, as any ego-laden human would. With this lover, there are no questions asked. I’m here for you. Just here. No judgment, no fixing, no advising. And curiously, that makes everything better. With this lover, you enter a rarified world beyond the triteness of words.
But, it is sometimes an invitation to a new feeling… a transformation of consciousness… lifting us up when we need to be lifted. Pumping us up when adrenaline is speeding through our veins and for those four moments, we rule the world. Or soothing our nerves when we need to come down fast.
Like all art, it is a mirror that reflects back to us something true, not only about ourselves, but about existence, and in so doing, it makes us see. It makes us bigger. It invites us… Nay! It compels us to forgive. Because it’s all too human. What ever it is… it’s all too human.
We can close our eyes. But not our ears. Sound is vibration… it penetrates not only our ears, but resonates through our entire body. Which is why it heals so deeply, reaching places within our bodies that aren’t even physical… Touching places within us that cannot be accessed by way of any technology or surgical probing. Listening is therefore the most intimate of all acts. We can’t remove ourselves from its closeness.
We hear the sounds, but we also feel them. We listen more with our soul than with our ears. We can rebuff a world that glorifies the visual, and simply close the curtains on our eyeballs. And in so doing, by way of the magic of a melody, we take refuge in the vastness of our internal landscape, finding comfort in its unexplored darkness and shadowy corners. This lover beguiles us into a deep emotional experience. It transports us. It holds our hand like the best friend that it is, and walks with us, where ever we need to go… Sometimes it flies with us to the moon and back.
A Relevant Digression (Sound as Healer)—
As I share in my book, Buddha in the Classroom, music became my sanctuary very early in life. Fortunately, I had an indulgent mother who somehow intuited that staying home “sick” on occasion, to listen to music, held just as much value toward my growth as a human, as the classroom did (I’d say more so… much more so). It makes sense then, that I would later be drawn to sound as a powerful modality for healing. Enter Eileen McKusick. When I read her book, Tuning the Human Biofield, I immediately scheduled myself into one of her weekend workshops to train in how to heal trauma, using tuning forks.
I learned that the human aura is like a map of our personal history… a repository of our life story, especially our emotional traumas, which leave their traces in the form of “static,” that can be heard as an interruptive occurrence when the tuning fork is passed through the auric field. Said simply, the tone becomes fuzzy and distorted, when it encounters the scar tissue. Only in this case, the scar tissue is energetic, rather than physical.
So, sound, whether in the form of a song or tonal vibration, is a most potent friend, companion, and healer.
My Most Enduring Song Companions—
I’ve been asked a few times, to share my favorite songs. Some people say it’s impossible. I think it’s possible, if we narrow the terms. These are the songs that have not only been with me the longest, but without which my very identity would be altered. It doesn’t mean that I think these are necessarily the best songs by these artists. It means I am who I am because these songs have been in my life. It means my heart goes all a flutter when I hear them begin… for the 10 thousandth time. Here are my top 20 life partners in this incarnation:
- Deacon Blues
2. Hello It’s Me
6. Brahms Symphony No 3
7. Can’t Find My Way Home
8. Le Premier Bonheur du Jour
9. Call On Me
10. A Song For You
13. Round Midnight
14. That’s the Way
17. Golden Lady
19. Sarah Smile
20. You’ve Made Me So Very Happy
What are yours?
Scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function. ~Elena Mannes (The Power of Music)