Music is a carrier wave of consciousness. — Steven Halpern
During a conversation years ago, sound healing pioneer Steven Halpern said, “Music is a carrier wave of consciousness.” I agree. I feel sound and music create highways of connection between the musician and the listener. The vibrations of the musician’s feelings, thoughts, beliefs and life experiences flow through this highway and resonate within the listeners – creating opportunities for listeners to explore similar feelings, thoughts, beliefs and life experiences within themselves.
Music is a familiar medium to illustrate this idea. However, all actions, all forms of expression create highways of connection. Whether it is writing, dance, art, cooking, touching or gazing into someone’s eyes – every action, every mode of expression, begins with an individual’s conscious or unconscious desire to express something which then flows out into the world.
How music originates
Components of music such as notes, rhythms, key, harmony, melody, tuning, scales and instruments are the building blocks musicians use to manifest inspirations, communicate personal experiences and create compositions. They construct their highways of sound to express their connection within themselves and their relationship to the music flowing through them.
As a classically trained musician, I have played harp for more than four decades. During the last 20 years, the awareness of this etheric connective highway has inspired my personal spiritual exploration and the unique expression of this inner connection through my music.
This journey has led to experiencing and appreciating three distinctly different origins of musical expressions which I feel can also be applied to any type of expression:
- From a conscious technique, theory or proven application. (Mental)
- From a desire to share a personal experience. (Emotional)
- From a source of inspiration independent of mental or emotional consideration. (Spiritual)
1. Creating compositions begins with a conscious awareness or desire to create something specific – utilizing learned techniques, theories, or proven applications.
Examples of this type of expression could be the creation of compositions from traditional theory and structured forms, intentionally using rhythmic pulses that entrain with the heartbeat or brainwave frequencies, and choosing specific key signatures or altered tunings of instruments to specifically elicit a desired outcome or response from the listener.
As a listener you may enjoy music created within the framework of familiar structured forms such as in classical musical theory. You may anticipate or expect the intended results of new techniques or applications that may amplify your experience. If you are sensitive to energy, you may even feel the conscious intentions and desired outcomes flowing through the music as forceful or manipulative.
2. Communicating personal experiences through music begins with a desire to express one’s feelings, emotions, thoughts, stories, ideas, dreams or insights that emanate from a personal experience. This music often becomes the soundtrack of our lives.
Examples of this type of expression could be popular songs of young love and heartache, patriotic songs of strength and courage, religious songs of hope and renewal, country songs of honest and hard living, or rap and hip-hop songs of challenges and dreams.
Listeners may visualize personally experiencing the lyrics or remember a time and place when a similar situation happened to them. This type of musical expression reflects our human experiences.
3. Manifesting inspirations originates from a field of all possibility. In the vastness, in the silence, the potential for everything exists as unexpressed vibrations – that is, until an impulse of an unidentified “something” ignites a spark of inspiration that moves this potential into form. Within this space the musician listens. In this silence there is no conscious awareness or emotional feeling; there is no past or future desire; there is only the moment and the willingness to be a hollow bone, a clear channel through which the music, sound and vibrations from this field of possibility are given form.
Examples of this type of expression could be the uninhibited sing-song singing of children or the jazz of intuitive musicians who play what is moving through them in the moment without any prior intent or preparation. It is the melody that “plays the musician” from the inside as if trying to get out. It is the ceremonial rituals of tribal cultures that passionately demonstrate how the musician becomes the music and the dancer becomes the dance. The desires and experiences of the “self” dissolve, creating a clear highway of connection to that which is larger than one’s self.
When listening to this type of music you may feel as if time has stopped, the moment expands, or you are transported into another realm. You may experience unexpected visions and images, or drop into a place within yourself that you have not yet explored. This is the type of music that takes us beyond the egoic self and opens a highway of connection to a spiritual realm in which we are all connected.
Once the music begins to flow, these three types of expressions often merge. Examples of this type of merging would be when a jazz musician starts a familiar song and improvisations transform into inspired manifestations, when an inspired manifestation stops flowing because thoughts of theory or chord progressions enter the mind, or when musicians begin with the intent of using a learned technique and find themselves inspired to try something new.
The origin of expression fascinates me, as it reflects our inner relationship with ourselves. Our attunement and alignment to the origin of all of our actions and expressions has the potential to help us nurture compassion, develop understanding, be open to forgiveness and experience healing within ourselves and with each other. Listening to music in a conscious way affords us the opportunity to attune these skills of sensitivity and honest reflection.
What travels through the highways of connection?
As listeners, the more aware we are of how we experience music, the more interactive our relationship becomes with the music. As we attune our sensitivity to the consciousness of the musician and honestly feel his or her music flowing through us, we increase our mental, emotional and spiritual resonance with the musician and within ourselves.
My conscious intent for recording my first CD was to help my father relax and heal after surgery. I was curious to know what inspired the composers to write each piece. Since I would never know the answer, I felt and expressed how their melodies resonated within me. A small pilot study measuring brainwave frequencies of listeners confirmed this music did induce a state of relaxation in four minutes by lowering beta wave frequencies and increasing alpha wave frequencies. Could this illustrate a direct connection between my heart-felt intent to help my father relax and the measurable responses within the listener?
My first experience of manifesting inspirations was with my CD The Magic Mirror. After my husband, a very gifted and sensitive intuitive, shared with me several ancient crystal healing chants, I started hearing melodies. The music continuously played like an internal radio. We recorded the CD simply to give the music form. There was no intent, other than being a clear channel through which this music could flow. This music felt different than my first CD, recorded to help my father relax.
I believe the difference was how this music originated, as an inspiration rather than a conscious creation of a composition or a desire to share a personal experience. Several years later, brainwave and immune system pilot studies measuring the impact of The Magic Mirror on listeners revealed that instead of producing the same effect in each listener as in the previous pilot study, each listener received exactly what they uniquely needed in order to balance their brainwaves and support their immune system function.
Results from these two pilot studies create an opportunity to deepen the discussion of how the origination of musical expression affects measurable outcomes in listeners, which to date, is not often a considered variable in most research.
“What are they saying?”
Music can be a profound step in the discovery of self, the conscious act of honest, internal exploration that goes by many names—mindfulness, meditation, self-empowerment, enlightenment, etc. It has been said “peace begins within” and music is one way to begin the journey.
When my sons were in school, we listened to heavy metal music during our morning drive — not just heavy metal but black metal, death metal, and symphonic metal — from groups around the globe. At first it was painful to endure the apparent nonsensical growling vocals, incessant power bass drumming and wailing electric guitar riffs. The energy moving through this music felt forced, angry, combative, even threatening. Those were feelings I did not want to experience — mostly because they were feelings I did not want to address within myself.
Then one day I asked the boys, “What are they saying?” Opening myself to understanding the inspiration for the creation of this music forever changed my perspective and experience of this genre. I learned about the ancient myths and historical figures eulogized in the music and about the stories of band members who endured personal tragedy. My heart opened to feel this music as an expression of another human being’s experience of life and as a result, I learned more about myself.
Music is an expression of the philosophy of our times and of our diverse cultures. Each culture is composed of unique individuals experiencing life from their personal perspectives, inspired to express themselves through distinct highways of connection. As we encounter these diverse highways of connection, we have the opportunity to learn more about ourselves, if we are courageous enough to explore.
There is a healing quality and value in all music because it is an expression of someone’s thoughts, ideas, emotions, pain, joy and spiritual connection. As human beings, we are intimately connected to one another and music has the potential to create bonds of connection that release fears, repair misunderstandings, rectify differences, restore hope, and heal and unify our mind, body and soul.
Music is a universal language, but only to the extent we are willing to express it honestly and listen consciously. Conscious listening, along with honest feeling, provides an opportunity for compassionate healing.
Much more than background ambiance, daily entertainment, or a temporary diversion from reality, music is a vibrational connective highway which has the potential to unite and heal the world from the inside out. It is up to us as musicians and listeners to make that so.