June 19, 2023
SF Gate

Music as a Bridge to the Soul.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

By Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, FRCP

Soul music appeals to millions of people, but the music of the soul appeals to everyone. It is the one reliable bridge to the soul in every culture, but ancient India made a specialty of it. Instead of looking back thousands of years, however, it is more powerful to begin in an Alzheimer’s ward.

Imagine that you are present the first day that someone has the bright idea to play music to these patients. A waltz starts up. For a minute, the patients are mute and unresponsive, swathed in the cocoon of their dementia. Then something happens, or rather, a whole range of things. Some patients start tapping their feet to the music; others smile. A few get to their feet amazingly, and begin to dance. We are talking about people whose brains seem too damaged to respond to anything around them.

Change the waltz to a popular song. Some patients start to sing along, recalling lyrics from decades ago. If their response is awake enough, the same patients begin to talk coherently to their caregivers.

This very moving picture represents a breakthrough made in dementia research some years ago, and of course researchers want to know why music had such a seemingly magical effect. The best answer is that music acts like a bridge. The parts of the brain less affected by Alzheimer’s responded normally to the delight of music the way we all do, but in addition, these areas reached out to damaged areas, trying to embrace them into the experience.

That’s a fascinating finding, but step away from brain scans and go deeper. Why does a character in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night declare, “If music be the food of love, play on”?Because love and music point beyond everyday experience. They are delightful and mysterious at the same time. No emotion escapes the reach of music, as every culture has discovered. We are attuned to music just as we are attuned to love.

The Vedic civilization of India looked deeper still. A science of vibrations (Shabda) emerged that gave a vibrational signature to everything in creation. Some vibrations were pure sound, such as mantras, while others pertained to objects such as gems. This conclusion is exactly parallel to quantum physics, in which matter, energy, space, and time are reducible to ripples in the quantum field.

Therefore, when you feel carried away by music, the sensation is real. Music bridges you to the fundamental vibrations in Nature, and since these vibrations are you, music carries you closer to your source and origin. You can call this a soul journey, but terminology doesn’t matter. What matters is that music connects you to basic qualities in creation.

  • Creation is organized rather than chaotic.
  • Creation has a purpose.
  • Creation is knowable to the human mind.
  • Creation on the human scale leads to inspiration.
  • The harmony (orderliness) of Nature is the invisible glue that keeps matter and energy aligned rather than flying apart in a mist of atoms.

These principles apply equally to human DNA, a heart cell, a fetus in the womb, your brain, and a Bach fugue or Mozart symphony. You can use physics as your worldview, or spirit as your worldview. Some version of these same principles will eventually emerge, the deeper into Nature you investigate.

Great musicians and composers take advantage of the bridge that music creates very directly. Their minds and brains are flooded with musical vibrations. Their delight is to remain in this world forever. For the rest of us, what is important is where the bridge takes us, because the bridge leads to infinite possibilities. When all of creation is vibration, you have the key to all experiences. Change the “signature” of the experience, and you change the experience itself.

That’s what happens to Alzheimer’s patients. Music changed a “signature” of isolation, despair, and disconnection into something better. The field of music therapy is far larger than this one example. Music has been used to ease traumas, rehabilitate physical and mental injuries, restore a sense of being present and alive. Look around, and it becomes obvious that music is the food of the soul. Where this insight might lead us no one can predict, but it is certain that we’ve only begun to take our first steps.

DEEPAK CHOPRA MD, FACP, FRCP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation.  Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 91st book, Total Meditation: Practices in Living the Awakened Life  explores and reinterprets the physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual benefits that the practice of meditation can bring.  For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution. His latest book,  Living in the Light co-authored with Sarah Platt-Finger. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com

Write Your Comment