Thursday, August 6, 2009
Essay--On angry music
The Healing Powers of Music and Anger Issues
One of the issues regarding music awareness that comes up in my life a lot is use of dark, fear-driven lyrics and music that feels like an assault on the nervous system. While I understand that a lot of people feel powerless, especially women, children and young adults, I do not believe that listening to music performed by another angry person will heal or empower anyone. If anything the listeners will identify too strongly with self-righteous anger and end up in a dualistic situation. I have experienced this first hand and know the results.
I believe strongly in the power of words, intention and sound. I also believe that a fearful and angry person can infect an entire room. I am not blaming a person for their emotions, nor am I asking anyone to repress their emotions. A person who comes from a fearful and angry place needs love and support, but in a way that enables the person to evolve as a human being and travel through their emotions to a safe place. Emotional Freedom Technique, shamanic soul retrievals, and other types of energy healing can be employed along with various types of music.
When I was in my youth and for most of my adult life, I dealt with anger issues. While I never acted out in a violent way physically, I did sabotage many opportunities and I manifested numerous enemies because of my anger and fear issues. I lived in a world of victim and martyr mentality. And I found it too easy to point the finger of blame at others rather than take responsibility for my own healing.
I spent my twenties and thirties listening to a lot of angry alternative rock. And my own music was melancholic at best, and ravaging at worse. Instead of seeking win-win situations with political leaders, bosses, etc..., I became overly critical missing the fact that we are human, we all make mistakes, and we can all be redeemed. I am not however saying that we should not right wrongs and strive for a real lasting peace in the world. Only that the world cannot heal until each of us focuses on healing ourselves, one emotion at a time.
Now when it comes to music, I don't think that all classical music is healthy, harmonious and happy, nor do I believe that all rock music is toxic, since a lot of it has some good qualities and maybe even provides some much needed humor. But what I have seen too often and I feel greatly disturbed by it is that music when produced a certain way can have a drug-like effect on its listeners. And sometimes that effect with is fight or flight syndrome, can cause a listener to act out in violence in the worse case scenario or carry around angry energy that does not belong to them, but more or less to the performers of the angry song or songs. Which then multiplies the listener's own anger and depression.
I know when I am around angry music, being the sensitive sponge that I am, suddenly I feel tense and angry when I did not feel like that previously. In contrast, if I find myself in a foul mood (we all have them, spiritual or not), I listen to music that I know will help me to transcend, not mask that foul mood. I also combine Emotional Freedom Technique or some other energy work while listening to the music if I am in a deep funk.
Now, I know many of you reading this essay are not going to agree with me on this topic. It is written from my own observations and experiences with music. I transformed my life from deep unrelenting anger and depression to enjoying the natural world around me, relating to people in a more peaceful manner and feeling physically better than I ever have in my entire life. I connect all of this to the music I choose to have in my life. I tried other healing modalities and therapies for years, but this anger did not subside until I changed my music diet. The other modalities chipped away at my anger which I then replaced by listening to more music with dark tones and heavy emotions.
That's not to say that folk music, blues, fado and flamenco which provides a passionate outlet could not help with anger issues. These types of music, including tango and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony provide healthy cathartic outlets. And sometimes not understanding the lyrics sung in a different language than our own, proves helpful too because then the listener is dealing with pure emotions.
We are all different. We all have different needs, experiences, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. I take all of this into consideration. However, I ask those folks out there dealing with anger issues or working with others with those issues to try a new approach. Research various types of drumming and chanting practices from around the world, and employ music with the opposite emotion when dealing with anger issues, even if that peaceful music is only played in the background of a therapy session.
And if you are dealing with severe repressed emotions combine Emotional Freedom Technique which can get to the core of an issue quite rapidly. Also look into Margaret Ruby's work with releasing ancestral emotional patterns from the DNA. Her comprehensive book, The DNA of Healing is a great place to start.
I want to end with I felt a strong intuitive urge to write this essay. I encourage you to read the interviews and articles on this blog which deal more with healing clients and humanity, if this is a topic that interest you. The reviews provide a list of healthy musical choices, that will interests some people and not others. I try to provide a variety of types of recordings for various musical palettes. It is my hope that the information I provide acts as a stepping stone to more research and exploration of the healing powers of music. And like all medicine, we must choose the right music for the right situation, relying on our intuition to do so.