How notes tune our minds…
I’ve blogged about why I love music, Now we’re going to talk about how music affects us on subtle levels.
Your channels are your opening to the gateway of Enlightenment.
Sure, that sounds great… What are channels?
I’ll put it simply: channels are like invisible blood vessels. They carry energy instead of blood, and the arcane understanding of them is considered very, very secret and available only to privileged, advanced spiritual practitioners.
Now you feel special about what we’re about to share, and we can move on to the simple explanation of how music affects our subtle bodies.
Wait… What’s my subtle body?
Your subtle body is the part of “you” that becomes aroused first. Your subtle body tells you when you’re in danger. Your subtle body tells you when you’re in love.
Our channels and the energy that flows through them make up our subtle bodies. Strictly speaking, the subtle body is physical, but not as obviously so as our “physical” bodies.
Your subtle body documents your spiritual progress, and will be one part of you that attains full Enlightenment. That’s why you want to listen to it – it’s smarter than you are.
(Your Subtle Mind and Very Subtle Mind also attain Enlightenment; you can read about them here.)
When our subtle bodies are relaxed, our physical bodes relax and our minds open to moving beyond their usual tendencies. This is where music comes in. All the components of music (mentioned here) pull together and rouse your subtle body to align itself and get with the beat.
Meditation does this too; music does it more quickly.
When we meditate, we train our minds and our bodies to do our bidding. The more we practice this, the better we get at it.
Music works similarly, with one major difference: Meditation emphasizes a one-pointed concentration on boring spiritual topics. Music takes all our mental wanderings and leads us like a pied piper. It encourages our bodies to engage and go the same way with us.
Meditation asks the bodies (physical and subtle) to stay behind while the mind goes on a working trip. Our bodies sigh with relief that they get to stay behind, but they get bored and start to come up with things to do. If you’ve ever tried beginner’s meditation, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.
When you listen to music, you’re using more than your ears to perceive this full-body event (especially if it’s live music). You have a subtle hearing ability (super-hearing) that picks up on the intent of the music, and the physical vibrations of the music roll through your physical and subtle bodies like waves.
Picture a speedboat skimming over a choppy lake’s surface. When the boat hits the choppiness, you get quite an impact (thoomp! thoomp! thoomp!). As the boat drills its way through the surface, it leaves behind a hollow trough which fills immediately with rough water. The rough water magically organizes itself into a wake. The wake swells and spreads across the lake’s surface, engulfing, overpowering and settling the choppiness on the rest of the lake, even if only briefly.
Music is the speedboat. Your mind and subtle body are like the lake.
When we listen to music, the fractal nature of its vibrations sifts through our thoughts, our pulses, our breaths, our organs, and the patter of our minds, to find a common (shared) frequency. Once that musical frequency gets grounded into your body, it goes to work , aligning the countless pieces of “you”. It pulls you into harmony. Once you get a little alignment, you find peace more easily.
The good news is that with music and our minds, once that “wake” passes through and settles things down, the serene surface develops a quiet resistance to disturbance. Consider what you’re listening to, and what you feel your spirit needs. When you choose your music, you choose the vibe that’s about the permeate your entire being.
The rich orchestra of phenomena that urges you into existence may call for a pounding beat and thrashing baseline one day, or the gentle breeze of a lone flute the next. Neither has to be loud; soft background sound works best. If it blares too loudly, it can overwhelm your body and mind and do more damage than good, like meditative dullness.
Choose your music according to where you want to go, rather than where you feel you “are”. As soon as the music commences, your body and mind begin to rhythmically settle and find harmony. Understand that music offers so much more than trend, style, coolness, or status. It unlocks every aspect of your “self” to exploration and bliss.
It occurs to me as I write that aside from gongs, mantras, and chanting, traditional meditation techniques seldom take advantage of the powerful way music (sound) focuses the mind.
It makes sense: before the analog/digital age, meditating with music required a live performance. Everyone had to listen to the same thing at the same time. With live music in a room of 300 meditators, one person might experience the bliss of everything aligning perfectly.
Now we can load up an MP3 player with whatever we like, run whatever playlist resonates with us at the moment, and get our subtle body tune-ups whether we’re sitting on a cushion, walking, working out, or riding on a train.
There really has never been a better time to attain Enlightenment. We live in a world filled with enough controversy to provoke endless questioning, a range of music available that echoes every mood we feel, and the tools to plug into the vibe we crave… as long as there’s juice.
So tap those fingers and sway about, and enjoy settling into your open channels with the music that brings you into sync.