How can music help us connect with the world, most especially during these difficult times? Indeed, 2020 was definitely a very challenging year: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, people from all over the world are worried about their health. During these difficult times, you will need other people to hug you or to laugh with you, which is exactly the opposite of social distancing.
Most people will not be able to spend their holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations with their loved ones. This is very sad. However, discovering spirituality for oneself can be very helpful. Connecting with something that is beyond your limits can help you realize that you are not alone. But how can you obtain spirituality? The most popular way is through music!
How Did Music Start?
Several years ago, researchers discovered flutes made of mammoth ivory and bird bones from a cave in the Swabian Jura. They found out that these flutes dated way back more than 40,000 years ago. During this period, the Homo sapiens conquered Europe. Since most musical practices can be done without instrumentation, then we can conclude that people have created music even before they have invented instruments.
Music Varies in Different Cultures
Every community has its own particular musical practices. But despite this, we can still find common features from different cultures. Music is the basic element in the formulation of myths and ritual practices. It helps in strengthening social relationships. Ever since ancient times, it is believed that sound is the origin of the world. For instance, Plato’s spherical harmony.
Acoustic theology is also practiced in Hinduism because they believe that sound is divine. The indigenous inhabitants of Africa and America find music and sound in their dream world. And they believe that those who can access music in this world have gained extraordinary powers. Thus, they consider them as healers.
Music and Spirituality
This is why music and spirituality are greatly associated with each other. Some musical expressions and compositions are inspired by spiritual experiences. Aside from this, music is also used for creating the right mood rituals, meditation, and church services. Music and spirituality are closely related, making it difficult to identify their respective boundaries.
In the book of Marcel Cobussen, “Thresholds: Rethinking Spirituality Through Music”, he talks about this relationship. He believes that spirituality is the open domain between the divine world and the people. Furthermore, he contends that music is the one that’s keeping this space accessible and suggests that music made this space.
What is the Reaction of the Brain to Music?
According to the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, the impact of music is very powerful, and more penetrating compared to the other types of arts. When it comes to music, people talk about its essence. There might be some confirmation on this assumption if we take a look at the human brain.
Clearly, music can positively affect our brain on the chemical and anatomical levels. Somehow, it permits the gray matter of the brain to develop, while the corpus callosum gets thicker. Aside from this, the data from MRI scans and EEG show something more incredible. When the person is creating and listening to music, almost all parts of their brain are active, including the brain stem, which is the more ancient part of the brain. It does not respond to language, yet it responds to music.
The Positive Effect of Music on Health
The response of music to the brain is the same as the body and mind response. Music has a positive impact both on mental and physical health. This is the reason why music is commonly used in therapeutic settings to heal specific illnesses. Aside from minimizing stress and promoting relaxation, it can also help in relieving depression. According to Professor Christian Gold, there are a lot of studies that show that music therapy is beneficial. For instance, in helping people conquer their learning disabilities.
Patients who are suffering from dementia and schizophrenia can also take advantage of music therapy. On the other hand, in 2011, Professor Sandi Curtis conducted a study that investigated the impacts of music therapy on palliative patients. Based on the study, the music therapy treatment has provided these people with guaranteed relaxation, pain relief, and enhanced mood. For most patients, their quality of life has improved. They even want to have music played during their final moments.
What is the Right Music for Every Mood?
Music has a strong influence on your mood and your visual outlook, according to the study published in PLoS. The participants of the study were shown images of sad and laughing faces while listening to the music. When happy music is played, they could see the laughing face. And when they were listening to sad music, they could see the sad face.
Music allows you to put yourself in various moods, and there is appropriate music for each mood. For instance, in summer, most people love to listen to fast-paced, happy music. As you are listening to pop music, your brain releases dopamine, making you feel happy. You can put this effect into use. For instance, you can put yourself in a positive, joyful mood, before taking an exam by listening to enjoyable music. In this way, you can feel confident while answering the questions.
For a Quiet Reflection, Listen to Soft Tones
The wintertime is usually the time for pondering about life and the time for relaxation. During these times, it is greatly recommended that you should listen to more moderate tones. However, there is no need for you to listen to spiritual music like the Gregorian chants. Some of the great choices would be modern, classical as well as short compositions that include natural sounds rather than some singing.
Silence can even be considered as music to your ears. Most especially, if you are interested in satisfying your need for spirituality. Several studies reveal that silence can provide positive impacts on people’s health and well-being. In fact, by just having two minutes of peace, you can already enjoy deep relaxation, which is far better than music.
Are Spirituality and Mindfulness the Same?
Absolutely not! Spirituality and mindfulness are not similar. Mindfulness refers to the immediate perception of the occurrence at the moment. On the other hand, spirituality is not restricted to the person’s perception and to the current situation. It incorporates the deep, spiritual life within you and beyond your individual limitation.
Nevertheless, mindfulness can potentially provide us with inner freedom. By practicing it properly and sincerely, it can help us eliminate our pride. In this way, it gives us the chance to live our spirituality.
Indeed, 2020 was such a difficult year for all the people all over the world. Most people are even having a hard time finding new hope. After all, even now we are still in the middle of the pandemic crisis. No one can predict when this catastrophe will end. However, during this consistent uncertainty, it is even more important that we should connect our emotions and thoughts. This can be achieved by reflecting on the things that happened during the previous year as well as the next.
The Connection of Music and Spirituality
Music and spirituality are often combined together in different cultures all over the world. With its main objective of improving engagement with the divine. Music is sometimes instilled in spiritual practices with the intention to improve transpersonal elements of worship, ritual, and meditation. Consequently, musical experiences are also instilled with spiritual practices and beliefs so people will be able to make a connection with themselves and to others in the most powerful way.
For several people, this mutual connection between music and spirituality is not at all surprising. Both of these mediums are responsive to the people who engage with them. For instance, people perform Amazing Grace in a louder voice during a funeral in a church. This is done to compliment the energy of the congregation as they are worshipping.
On the contrary, when Amazing Grace is performed in a hospital, it is done in a calmer and prayerful way, since its intention is to comfort the patient during this depleting moment. When music and spirituality are entwined, their limitations become more adaptable to the point that determining one from the other becomes more irrelevant. Hence, to be musical means to be spiritual, and to be spiritual means to be musical.
Similar flexibility can also be applied in every person’s health journey. Objective aspects of health, such as its symptoms, treatments, and curative versus palliative care, are experienced by individuals based on their morals, values, and course of the disease. For instance, if 6 out of 10 of a person’s pain can be manageable, then he might choose palliative care for improved quality of life.
On the other hand, if 6 out of 10 of a person’s pain needs treatment, then he will prioritize the curative treatments for potential longevity of life. Angelus Music offers various types of sacred songs. For more information about spiritual music, just visit us at https://www.angelusmusic.com/.