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Saturday September 10, 2005: Music and the Chakras

        There is a way to listen to music with the body that focuses on how the chakras are being activated. The music listening experience is intensified into an incredible emotional experience.

         While in Warsaw, Randy and I are told not to miss the organ recital given at St. John’s Warsaw Cathedral in the Old Town. It turns out to be one of the few sites recommended by our host that is actually open to the public (most of his favorites were closed for renovation).

         St John’s is a massive gothic cathedral church, easy enough to find; we stop there first to purchase tickets for the noon recital. Then we wander about the streets of Old Town, making sure we arrive back at the church in plenty of time to quietly slip into a pew. I notice a few people praying, but most of the small crowd appear to have come only for the music recital. In fact, they seem so oblivious to the power of the church’s gothic interior that I wonder if this is just one more experience for them to cross off their list of ‘things to do while in Warsaw.’

          Every gothic church has towering vaulted ceilings, but St. John’s ceilings seem higher than usual. I delight in the way it pulls the eye and the heart upward. Whoever thought up the design for the first gothic cathedral was truly inspired, for how can one help but feel awe: a sense of humbleness in the midst of a grandeur that reaches so far beyond that of everyday structures, and hope, as one’s heart opens to the spaces, following the lines of manmade structures upward toward the heavens.

         A man stands before us with a microphone; it amplifies his voice until it echoes off the walls and ceiling and one must strain to catch the gist of his speech. He explains in several languages that the organ has over 4000 pipes and 60 voices, then gives a short list of the pieces to be performed today. When he disappears to the rear of the church, I am surprised to discover he is not just there to introduce the performance but to give the recital. I sit back and wait in the silence to be hit with that first glorious chord.

         If one actively listens with the whole body, rather than passively letting the sound hit the ears, one learns that every piece of music activates a mixture of chakras. I believe the combination to be unique to each musical composition, or I should say that I have not yet noticed exact reproduction of a single pattern, even by the same composer.

          There are certain basic patterns. The music played at bars and teenage rock concerts tends to hit the lower chakras, country-western I found (not surprisingly) centers more around the heart chakra, classical spreads out in various patterns over the heart, throat and forehead chakras, jazz leans more toward throat and forehead involvement. Other than these basic patterns, I have not been able to tell why the unique variations develop. Patterns did not seem necessarily dependent on instruments played or on composer’s unique style.

          Pieces of music may spread out the awareness beyond the body, so that (for example) the influence is narrow but strong at the heart, with wide and narrow peaks working up to the shoulder area; the influence then expands in a wide soft band out beyond the shoulders, narrows a bit at the neck and focuses itself upward through the back of the mouth to end in a narrow but noticeable activation of the forehead chakra. Another pattern may remained centered in one area but extend outward in a wide donut or egg shaped expanse, blending into a second or third chakra, with thicker spikes on various levels within that expansion.

         Music is fluid and those small changes can be followed within these body impressions, even though a basic pattern evolves for each piece of music. I can remember hearing a definition once: "music crystalizes the emotions." Perhaps the chakras are intimately connected to our emotions. I can only say that, for me, listening to music with the body is a powerful -- almost overwhelming -- emotional experience, well worth the effort of shifting one’s awareness from the perceptions of ears to that of the body. One still audibly hears the music, but it is enriched and layered into a new type of more complex experience.

To be continued.........

Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2005 at 08:15AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | CommentsPost a Comment

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