Have you ever stopped to think about how profound music has been for you in your life? Just the beginning of a song can change someone’s mood, drop us into a state of reflection on life, reduce stress or even prepare us for a better athletic performance.
For many people there may be a calming effect to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Or Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” can create a surge of energy bringing up a feeling of courage and confidence. Or Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” can drop you into a reflective mood on the impermanence of life and the longing for connection. Apparently, science shows that Beethoven’s 9th symphony can lower blood pressure and improve heart disease. Then there’s Matisyahu’s “One Day” that can inspire a sense of global hope and instantly bring a smile to your face.
That is why throughout my upcoming program A Course in Mindful Living, a small part of each Lesson introduces a song that is meant to inspire the theme for that time. For example, in the first month we’re focusing on the understanding and practice around making our minds functional again. This means allowing them to be deeply relaxed, awake and focused. The theme revolves around “Relax and Retune.” Oxford University scientists took 24 healthy volunteers and had them listen to a variety of different forms of music. They found that listening to music with a 10-second repetitive cycle like Beethoven’s third movement No. 9 can lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
Music has dramatic effects on our thoughts, emotions and sensations.
Okay, so Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is over an hour, but take a moment to soften your shoulders, even lie down if you can, and listen to this for a few minutes. Your only job is to see what you notice, and then I’m going to ask you something after.
Now, tell us how music impacts you! Share with us music that inspires any of these feelings for you – calm, wakefulness, self-acceptance, self-compassion, joy, happiness, energy, compassion, generosity, and balance.
Let’s learn from one another, allowing for the creation of a Playlist for life.