Songs of the Quiet Heart

By Bill Dougherty

Rare indeed is the individual who does not respond to music. How often have we dragged ourselves home after a hard day's work, exhausted physically and mentally, and lain down to listen to a favorite recording. Soon the soothing melodies so relax our nerves and psyche that we forget the day's problems and conflicts and begin almost to float in a warm, comfortable oblivion in which the swirling and dancing harmonies occupy our whole attention. At this point, especially if we are very tired, sleep comes easily.

This pleasantly familiar experience is but one example of the healing power of musical harmony. Doctors are currently rediscovering just how useful music can be in treating a wide variety of ailments both mental and physical. But if music can so powerfully affect our well-being, is it not equally possible that the ideas we entertain, and the feelings that can carry us up to the heavens or mire us in crushing depression -- might not these thoughts and emotions also emit corresponding sounds, wonderfully musical or dully moaning as the case may be? Perhaps this would help to explain those occasions where someone was able to charm the anger or hurt right out of us, merely with a word or two, or even just by his presence. If we try to analyze how he did it, we generally find that his help had no direct connection with whatever had been troubling us. Rather, our self-imposed unpleasantness evaporated because we were able to resonate with the inner harmony that that other person was living at that moment. No doubt, if we had had the ears (and the heart) to hear it, we would have consciously recognized the magnificent and uplifting melodies pouring forth from that person's mind and soul. Yet even without such mystic hearing we still potently feel the effects, provided we open ourselves up enough to let this music enter our being.

In this way each of us can live music at any time, in any place or condition. If, especially in time of stress, we quietly "come home" to our inner natures, ignoring the selfishly impassioned clangings of our outer personalities, and listen instead for the universal harmonies of our spiritual essence, we may well find just the right keynote, exactly the right thoughts and feelings, to help all concerned resonate in sympathy with the great song of kindliness and love which is at the root of everything.

(Reprinted from Sunrise magazine, January, 1977. Copyright © 1977 by Theosophical University Press.)

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