Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Practice--Awareness of Words & Intent

Crowd, photo by Patricia Herlevi
When I came up with the idea for this post on lyrical content and consciousness, I remembered an incident that I experienced shopping at Whole Foods Market in Seattle.  As I was making my way through the organic produce section, and then the supplement and beauty sections of the store, a rock song from the 1970s, "Smoking in the Boy's Room" blasted from the store's PA system. I even heard this song (which I never liked) while I was in the restroom.  And no, I wasn't smoking in the ladies room.

How many times do we find ourselves in a public situation where we have no control over words and music filtering into our brain, heart, and nervous system? I remember thinking about the irony of unhealthy music playing in a store that promoted its healthy lifestyle.  And yet, many so-called sustainable businesses have no clue about music consciousness. For the Whole Foods Market of that time (2005?), the decision makers did not make a connection between unhealthy music and unhealthy food or healthy food and healthy music.

Is it too much to ask for a peaceful salon? photo by Patricia Herlevi
Another incident took place at a hair design school for Aveda in Seattle.  I expected salon-style treatment since Aveda ads feature images from the natural world that give off a tranquil feeling.  But when I had my hair cut at this school, I was sat next to a wall with dryers rumbling on the other side and loud music blasting through the store.  My nerves felt so jangled that I left the school with a migraine and I felt furious so I sent an e-mail to the Aveda headquarters.  Of course, I never received a response.

You might wonder why I'm sharing these two experiences with you involving music awareness or consciousness.  And I believe that for anyone who is already musically aware could make a career out of consulting "green" businesses to choose healthier music choices.  But what I want to mention the most is how we carry these musical vibrations (healthy or non-healthy) around with us for the remainder of the day and any ill health effects we could experience.

With my first incident, the one I mentioned about Whole Foods, I ended up with an ear worm (lines from songs that repeat in thoughts) from the song that played in the store. All day, those lyrics, which I found negative and unhealthy (as if smoking is good for anyone), repeated in my thoughts for a few hours.  And no, listening to other music did not solve the problem.  If words, thoughts, feelings and beliefs shape our how we experience reality, then what were the words from that song doing towards shaping my reality?



marketplace, photo by Patricia Herlevi
Now, when we are in a public place, we have little control over what we hear.  We can do our best to block out the songs we hear, but our subconscious mind is still picking it up.  Our bodies are still resonating to the rhythms, words, and catchy melody and every cell in our body entrains to the rhythm of the song.  The vibration of the lyrics, especially the intent of the musicians also resonate with us.  And more sensitive people absorb these vibrations to their own detriment.

I suppose we can shield ourselves with light, carry certain crystals around with us, and ingest flower essences to protect ourselves.  But as songwriters and producers I believe that we need to become conscious of the words and intentions in the songs we compose and distribute among the masses.  Some musicians have produced kirtan or mantra CDs which work in a new age setting.  However, what happens when someone wants everyday words and stories portrayed in their songs, and they don't prefer new age CDs?

Trish Hatley came up with a brilliant idea by taking the teachings of Abraham channeled by Esther Hicks and combining affirmation lyrics to swing jazz.  Hatley's affirmations still have a story quality to them and are catchy in a pop music way so that these positive affirmations stick in the brain, in a good way.  The beauty of affirmations is that they create new grooves in the brain erasing old unworkable beliefs with more positive beliefs.

Granted, you can find tons of affirmation CDs on the market, but from my experience so many of them are cheesy, empty and set to synthesizer drone and programmed drums.  Personally,  I would feel embarrassed getting caught listening to any of those programmed affirmation CDs because of my background as a music researcher.  I choose to hear positive lyrics with warm acoustic instruments in a genre of musical styles.  This is why Hatley's CD works for me (Ask and it is Given, Trish Hatley).  And I would love to see traditional and other types of musicians employ positive affirming text to their songs.

And I would like to hear these songs played in public places.  Imagine what this could do to bolster health and well-being in our societies.  We can even sort through all the songs we already have with positive messages, because we have probably thousands of songs that fit this category worldwide.  We can have real music with life affirming or healthy lyrical content as we grow our music consciousness.  I look forward to this day.

For information about Trish Hatley's CD, go to www.singingpositiveaffirmations.com

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