The effects of Music.
When mixed with the human mind and spirit, music is a potent force.
Sound in general has a direct connection to the emotional self. We don't merely hear music. We feel it.
From our earliest subconscious recognition of rhythm - listening to our mothers' beating hearts while still in the womb - music can be as vital and life-sustaining as the blood in our veins. And because this medium is as intertwined with the human soul as nature itself, it's no surprise that we harbor strong opinions about what constitutes a good tune.
Music speaks to each of us in a very individual way, creating a connection that is direct, personal and "mine." For many, it is almost as good a friend as any person in their lives and, for some, it's better.
While some will swoon with delight to honky-tonk, rock or jazz, others will grimace in pain. Some love all music, while others confine their preferences to only a few genres, or one.
Debates about the best songs, musicians and arrangements rival the intensity of heated verbal tussles over politics or religion. It's personal.
One reason is that music binds us with the very fabric of life itself. Certain astral bodies, like quasars and black holes, give off "flicker noise," an inaudible (to us) energy output with distinct musical attributes. And this flicker noise is found in many aspects of nature, including brain waves, weather patterns, magnetic fields and even the Earth itself, which gives off a "hum."
In their construction, songs bear strong similarities to mathematics, which is a universal language "spoken" throughout the creation. In other words, music permeates and expresses existence itself.
Science tells us that music lifts the human spirit. Research shows that, by listening to the music that reaches their souls, the depressed become lifted up, the anxious are soothed, the stymied are unstuck and the creative are unleashed. And there is growing evidence that music can support physical healing, as well.
It unites us, weaving invisible bonds between people who, otherwise, would peer at each other with wary eyes. And it does the same within the self, helping the disjointed elements of a broken spirit come back together and hold hands for a time.
For the sad, it explains their feelings in a way that words simply cannot. For the happy, it broadens the smile and makes the feet a tad lighter. For the brain made weary by testy people and hyper-stimulation, it is a refuge, a place to piece one's sanity back together again.
What's more, music connects us with the mysteries inside ourselves and in the whole of existence that escape description, which go beyond words or concepts.
As philosopher Aldous Huxley said, "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
Philip Chard is a psychotherapist, author and trainer.