Meditation + Music = Powerful Medicine
Meditation has been known to be a powerful remedy for anxiety, fear, depression, high blood pressure and other debilitating emotional disorders. In recent times, numerous studies have show that the brains of those who meditate are significantly healthier, more developed, and more complex than the brains of non-practitioners. In 2011, Harvard graduate Sara Lazar and her team did a study on the impact of meditation and the brain. They found that eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which controls learning and memory1.
Along with meditation, other contemplative practices such as chanting, walking meditation, Tai chi and Qigong have a similar impact on daily practitioners and continue to show positive benefits for the rest of their lives.
There are no known negative side effects for meditation, yet the majority of us do not practice daily. Meditation seems difficult for many, as it requires one to pause physically, mentally and to still the mind. Telling our brain to stop analyzing is like telling our liver to stop cleansing our blood. Even during sleep, our brain continues to work frivolously.
Music is the most powerful tool for meditation. The sound resonates through our body and mind. Some studies that I mention in my book Divine Attunement: Music as a Path to Wisdom have shown that humans and animals synchronize their breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and physical movements to the rate of the musical pulse they are exposed to. In other words, when you play rapid music, breathing, movement, heart rate, etc. will become faster. If you play calming music, the heart rate drops and the process of relaxation begins. Thus, music can usher us into meditative state, even if we do not wish to go there! However, not all calming music is best for this endeavor. What we need is slow pulsing, harmonious and pleasurable sounds. To achieve a more powerful and peaceful sound medicine add devotional deep sacred chanting and breathing, and acoustic instruments played by master musicians.
This is the kind of music I aim to create when I work with doctors and healers who practice using sound to promote well-being. In the early 1990’s I worked with the pioneer researcher Robert Monroe of Monroe Institute in Virginia, on the bi-aural beats hemi-sync-sound series called Metamusic.
In recent years, Dr Richard Gold and I developed new music for two healing-sounds products that were inspired by Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. This music is being used by acupuncturists, chiropractors, healers, massage therapists, yoga teachers, painters and teachers to promote relaxation, sound sleep, well-being and meditative states all around the world.
Through my many years of research and professional work in the field of music, mysticism and sound healing I came to believe that sound is the most powerful medicine we have. It is the medicine of the future, as it was in ancient times.