Archive for September 16th, 2009

As a young man in high school, I recall a project I took on for the fun of it that I was then later invited to present before the Board of Education.

I was personally intrigued by the tone poems of such great composers as Claude Debussy that were intended to capture a sensory experience in musical form. The idea of a poem using sound rather than words was so interesting to me that I undertook extensive research on the imagery that arose on listening to a wide variety of instrumental and vocal pieces.

What I discovered is that certain pieces of music had a similar impact on a wide range of people, while others evoked diverse and idiosyncratic imagery. Surely, the subjectivity involved is considerable, and the music co-mingles with all of our experiences and sensibilities, memories and associations. Nevertheless, it was the ability of some compositions to elicit very particular shared imagery that fascinated me the most.

Carl Jung discovered the power of the collective unconscious and spoke of the archetypes: deep- seated guides that underlie our motivations and passions, imaginings, dreams, and symbols. This morning it strikes me that they too are operating in the language of music. The mind resonates, as it were, to certain tonal textures and sequences, and is thereby inspired to respond with its own images, sensations and emotions.

One very simple yet powerful meditation is to select a piece of music that you regard as truly beautiful, comforting and somehow emotionally well-matched to your needs in the moment. Playing it with eyes closed in a place where you will not be distracted and without attention paid to any one aspect of the music, allow images to rise and fall with the musical phrases, changes in key, cadences, and the moments of striking harmony and disharmony.

Just sit, listen and watch for the Heart’s special stirrings and how the music invites you to the cosmic dance of the Music of the Spheres.

When all our senses are so attuned to the gestalt, to the full power of all aspects of what it is to surrender ourselves to the moment in a total immersion in the universal language of music, we surely encounter the Beloved: we touch and are touched by the Infinite.

© The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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