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The Power (and Science) of Music in Mindful Living

Black boy listening to music on headphones

Have you ever stopped to think about how profound music has been for you in your life? Just the beginning of a song can change someone’s mood, drop us into a state of reflection on life, reduce stress or even prepare us for a better athletic performance.

For many people there may be a calming effect to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Or Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” can create a surge of energy bringing up a feeling of courage and confidence. Or Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” can drop you into a reflective mood on the impermanence of life and the longing for connection. Apparently, science shows that Beethoven’s 9th symphony can lower blood pressure and improve heart disease. Then there’s Matisyahu’s “One Day” that can inspire a sense of global hope and instantly bring a smile to your face.

That is why throughout my upcoming program A Course in Mindful Living, a small part of each Lesson introduces a song that is meant to inspire the theme for that time. For example, in the first month we’re focusing on the understanding and practice around making our minds functional again. This means allowing them to be deeply relaxed, awake and focused. The theme revolves

Pure Water - Poetry of Rumi with Coleman Barks and Eugene Friesen

Pure water300Today we are happy to bring you this offering featuring two world class performers sharing a performance and learning experience for the mind, body, spirit and soul!

An inspired live performance of the poetry of Jellaludin Rumi (1207-1273) with Sufi stories & jokes, accompanied with music by Bach, O'Carolan, Friesen and others. One of the premier translators of Rumi (1207-1273), Coleman Barks is a renowned poet and bestselling author of The Essential Rumi and Rumi: The Book of Love. In concert, Coleman brings his earthy mastery of Rumi's work to life with drama and humor.

The performance captured on PURE WATER recalls the essence of the communal celebrations of poetry, stories, jokes, prayer, and music in which Rumi's work was first uttered, but in a distinctive contemporary setting. The cello of Grammy Award-winner Eugene Friesen carries the language directly into the heart of the listener with a diverse menu of world folk melodies, Bach and improvisation. "What is the soul? Consciousness. The more awareness, the deeper the soul, and when such essence overflows, you feel a sacredness around. It's so simple to tell one who puts on a robe and pretends to be a dervish from the real thing. We know the taste of pure water..." - Rumi

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Excerpt 2 from "Healing at the Speed of Sound" with Don Campbell and Alex Doman

DonCampbell-HealingSpeedSound-Cover-BLIn this transcribed excerpt from "Healing at the Speed of Sound" with Don Campbell and Alex Doman, -- CEO of Advanced Brain Technology -- talks about how very much sound affects all the time, what we acclimate to and why, and the importance of how our auditory experience impacts our world.

I want to spend some time talking about our relationship with sound.  What is our relationship with a sound within our environment and within ourselves? It’s a very important consideration to make. And sound can be something that’s healthy and nurturing and nourishes and feeds us, or it can be something actually does harm, causes disease, and leads to ill health, so it’s about finding the balance of sound versus noise,

noise being something very pervasive that we have not the same control of that we’d like. Last night at 3:45 in the morning at our hotel on 55th and 5th , I was awoken by the sounds of trucks, and for three hours I struggled with the sounds of these trucks as I tried to go back to sleep, and finally remembered that I had a pair of $1.49 foam ear plugs.  So I had a $1.50 solution to a very significant problem and that’s all it took. Because those will dampen sounds by 29 decibels make the difference between a sleep state and an awake state that I didn’t want to be in. 
How many of you live here in the city?  And do you find it a struggle often or have you learned to filter this noise? Right -- because you have habituate to it, to learn how to filter that out, your brain decides this is no longer important to me. So you’re able to block it out. But my family and I live near the mountains and we live in a very quiet setting. It’s an urban community, but it is quiet and we awaken to the sounds of birds and the trees literally in the morning as the sun rises, so it’s a very calm and peaceful place. But when we come to the city we have to adjust. And you know, we adapt to the environment that we’re in, but after two nights we had not quite yet adapted.
So as we think about sound, I think it’s important to consider the mechanism in which we perceive and process sound, which is our auditory system, and this auditory system that we possess is the first sensory system to develop in human beings. So this system has been given precedence over sight, touch, taste, smell. It is our balance system and our hearing system that develops first in utero at about 16-20 weeks, and it’s the first system to fully develop in utero and be functioning. So, the unborn child is processing sound -- both the internal sound of the mother’s womb and the external sounds around the mother.

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More on "Healing at the Speed of Sound"


Excerpt 2 from "Carlebach Teachings of Joy and Oneness & Other Stories" with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

ShlomoCarlebach-TeachingsJoyOneness&Other-cover-BLThe late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach offers profound wisdom in how to love wholly in this beautiful transcribed excerpt from "Carlebach Teachings of Joy and Oneness & Other Stories."  His words are touching and deep, with instruction for us all.

We are living in a world which needs healing.  The whole world needs healing.  The whole world needs fixing.  The saddest most heartbreaking thing in the world when parents look at children and they think, “You know – hey! What’s going on? Why didn’t you have A+ every subject? Why aren’t you the best in piano playing? Why aren’t you the best in everything?”  So this is why a child is born in your house?  Because never has a child thought before it was born, he had two people who love me enough to fix me.

I want you to know the deepest, deepest, deepest depths, and I don’t mean you meet someone with something wrong with them, that we have to stay in order to fix them.  You have to love people a lot.  Even to have the urge to fix them, right?  But then once you know something

… let me come back to it. When people get married in a holy tradition, it’s a custom that groom covers the face of bride.  It has many of meanings I don’t think I ever said it about your wedding, but maybe I did… It has millions of meanings but you know we always… what is the one part of us which needs fixing the most? The one part of us which needs fixing the most is the part you always cover up. We always cover it up. Because I’m so afraid that if someone will see what’s wrong with me they won’t love me anymore.  So the beginning of the wedding is that the groom covers the face of the bride telling her, “You know how much I love you.  Everything you want to cover up is what your love also.”

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Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach Bio and Links