The Healing Power of Music


Paul Lloyd Warner is also known as a composer. 
This Shorty Essay was written to illustrate music as a power for healing and spiritual upliftment.

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Even before King David, the kings of old must have employed musicians to soothe and heal them during times of stress and illness.  The healing power of music has been expressed throughout the centuries, from the strumming of ancient harps and flutes, to the pure voice sung in chants and folk songs.  Music has no bounds when it creates the sounds to heal and mellow the soul.  It's legacy survives every generation through history and is expressed through the hearts and deeper feelings in the people from almost every culture, ancient and modern.  Sound and music coupled with a pure heart and clear soul activates the principles of healing.  And nothing can take its place in the world.

Our world without music of any kind or genre is inconceivable.  A planet absent of music as a healing force would be equally unthinkable.  Our Earth has given birth to singers, musicians and composers who have attained mastery in the art of healing music, from the olden days, throughout the centuries, right up to our time.  Shall we name but just a few: David, Solomon, Arion, Sappho, Terpander, the inventor of the 7 stringed Kithara, Tibetan Buddhist chants, Zen Shakuhachi music, ancient native American flute,   Plainchant, Renaissance choral music, English and Irish folk songs, Monteverdi, Josquin des Prez, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Faure, Debussy, Ravel,  Aboriginal, Hawaiian, Andean, Scriabin, Gurchiev, Hazrat Inayat Khan, ancient and modern Chinese healing music, Balinese, Javanese, and a host of contemporary composers from around the world who have sprung up since the 1970's are but a few from the galaxy of unknown musical artists who have contributed to the creation and playing of - music for health, healing, and spiritual enrichment.

And what distinguishes "healing music" from other musical forms?  In one word: SPIRITUALITY.  In a few words: Music created from the soul to and for the soul.  In a paragraph:  Music aimed toward a healing effect, a mother singing a lullaby to a sick or tired child. 

A young boy playing soft guitar music for his ailing father.  A woman playing lyrical piano music for her grandmother.  The gentle strumming of the harp, the plaintive sound of a flute echoing through the mountains, acapella choral music sung in a cathedral, the digeridoo sound-power of a priest, a solo violinist singing out a great human voice through five strings, an orchestra playing Vaughan-William's "Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis", Segovia playing the guitar, Bill Evans playing the piano, the Beatles singing

"All You Need is Love".

This is but a mere fragment of the healing music available to people in the world today.  And there is so much more . . .  virtually anyone reading this may add a list of favorites to the literature which comprises healing music.  Yet, what is healing to some, is not healing to others.  And what is healing today may be not healing yesterday.  It matters not who or what is in vogue; all that is important is the fact there exists music which is therapeutic, spiritually uplifting, quieting, relaxing, energizing, life-affirming, positive, beautiful, healing, awakening, soul-searching, metaphysical and based upon the affirmation of love as a active principle in within every note and phrase as they pass through the hearing and enter the human experience.  When we are touched to the depths of our being and enervated as a result; when we reach a musical karthasis, no matter what our taste or style we prefer, but one which brings to us the rapture of a musical climax, where we are moved to absolute tears, we are experiencing music of a healing nature.  And we are ennobled, enriched, and transformed.

The transformative power of music has been recognized throughout history, in all cultures and all peoples.  Sound emitted through air into the hearing reaches into our hearts and vitalizes our nerves, tension is reduced, and often vanishes.  We are refreshed, rejuvenated and attain a higher power of concentration which leads to a greater fulfillment and even a revelation.  The music which does this, regardless of style, may be considered "healing", healthful, curative, therapeutic, resonating with the spirit, and charged with the ability to be visionary and enlightening.  Nothing can replace it.  And the only substitute may be prayer, meditation, spiritual revelation, and awareness of the supreme essence at work as an active principle in the cosmos. 

          On the beach

          at evening

          everything I hear


Perhaps the music of nature may substitute for the art of sound.  The falling of water, the crashing of waves, a nightingale singing in the echoing forest, the sound of wind through leaves, the trickle of a brook, and water moving around the stones in streams.  Tall grasses rustling in a breeze, and the sound of absolute silence in a desert, the felt sound of one's heartbeat.  These are some of the natural healing sounds: the lapping of the lake shore, a chorus or birds, the silence of snow falling onto snow, and the music of rain out the window and even the mighty crack of thunder in the distance. 

Or the singing of the Humpback whale, the frogs in the pond, cicadas in the fields, and myriad sounds of insects blending with birdcalls.  The crashing of a waterfall into a churning pool, river rapids, the staccato of a woodpecker, the chirping of monkeys, a wolf in the wilderness, Beluga Whales singing like canaries, and the dolphins whistling bursts of aquatic sounds deep within the waters and into the air.  The Fin whale's deep amplitude communicating over far distances, and the purring of a cat vibrating throughout one's body.  These are just a few of the sounds of nature.  The rustling of autumn leaves, an owl's hoot, hummingbird wings, and a flower whirling though air, touching down on a pond where the sound of ripples vanish into thin air.

In these few words may be found the sources for music as a healing principle in our daily lives.  And no matter how it manifests in our hearing, music has the power to reach into our very core and extract from us, the deepest feelings, the farthest insights, and the most profound thoughts from our minds and hearts.  The divinely inspired musical artist ignites our selves into a greater awareness.  The sequence of natural sounds reawakens that place of beauty within us long-forgotten.  The most finely tuned bells, chimes, gongs and drums exchange confusion for harmony.  And the greatest of choirs can elevate our souls to the regions of cosmic consciousness.

Healing music is limitless in its ability to transform the listener to a heightened state of awareness.  And just to imagine the music of the spheres, the sounds in the stars, can bring us to nirvana where we can die and be reborn into even greater human beings, evolved by our keen awareness into a finer person, a loving human being, and a more highly conscious Human Being.

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