My Early Experiences with Music
When I was in high school something very special happened in Calculus class. Our teacher would play classical music for us as we worked on problems; often he played works of Vivaldi such as “The Four Seasons.”
As ambient music, this was very nice; and I had many mathematical discoveries while the music played in the background.
But there was something else.
Sometimes, instead of working, I would just listen for a minute or two.
I felt something in those times that I couldn’t explain.
I felt a certain liveliness: not like being hyper or energetic, but a sense of deep relaxation, peace, serenity, and a feeling of openness or connectedness.
This liveliness was quite distinct from the feelings I would get from listening to the pop, rock, or rap music I had in my personal music collection. It was very interesting.
Learning about Faculties of Consciousness
A year or two later, I began to understand why I felt the way I did when listening to this music.
I was taking Belsebuub’s Searching Within course. In the course he wrote about the spiritual faculties of consciousness and music. He’s also mentioned it in one of his books:
The natural faculties of the consciousness when combined with the superior emotional center give the ability to appreciate fine art and music. ~ Belsebuub, The Peace of the Spirit Within
It seems when I listened to the music consciously, I was more perceptive to its beauty and spiritual qualities. And some pieces of music seemed to really “feed” my consciousness.
Since these discoveries, listening to spiritually uplifting music has been an important part of my collection of practices. I could give a whole list of pieces I enjoy, but I want to highlight a piece of music that has touched me deeply and served as a big boost in my quest for self-knowledge.
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony
I don’t think I can ever say enough about how much I love this piece of music and how much it has helped me.
There was a time when I would listen to this piece almost on a weekly basis! And I never got tired of it.
Somehow, despite sometimes initially feeling absolutely downcast, by listening to this music, I was uplifted. To me, this communicated the ubiquitousness of the divine and the Soul’s journey to enlightenment through endurance and perseverance.
During my first or second year at uni, I went to the university orchestra’s rendition of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. It was the first real concert I went to and due to the short notice of the event, I had to go alone. But truly that was one of the most beautiful evenings of my life.
Here is another quote from Belsebuub, where he mentions Beethoven’s music:
Beethoven’s music elevates the melody out of the pure emotion into the spiritual realms and connects you with the internal worlds, that is, if you at least have a solar astral body created with alchemy, which gives the ability to feel superior emotions. ~ Belsebuub, The Peace of the Spirit Within
It was really great to read about your experiences with music, Mike, and the good effects it has had on your inner state, and also reading others’ experiences with it.
It’s so revealing because I’ve never been able to ‘get’ music! Music just doesn’t seem to touch me, in the way that words can, even though I’ve tried listening to these composers and genres that people have mentioned and specifically concentrate on it too. Perhaps an exception though is Tchaikovsky’s Hymn of the Cherubim, when I first heard it I felt it was extremely powerful. But so maybe I haven’t done it right, so it’s really nice to read how it can lift you up spiritually and has me inspired to try again to perceive classical music with consciousness. “Like someone has done some spiritual work on your behalf” wow! I want to experience that ; )
It’s funny because someone in my family is always listening to music from a vast array of different genres, though they tend to choose light and spiritually meaningful music, with some particular classical favourites, and it’s always been a bit mystifying to me but when I ask, they can’t really explain what the music does for them.
Thank you for sharing these inspiring experiences with music Mike. I especially liked your description of the impact the classical music piece had on you: “… a sense of deep relaxation, peace, serenity, and a feeling of openness or connectedness.”
Like you, I can also testify to the otherworldly and uplifting effect of some classical pieces on me. Interestingly, I have found over the years that for me personally, the Russian or Slavic classical composers are the ones whose music speaks to me most, despite the fact that I have never tried to deliberately chose them, it just happened that my classical playlists contain most of those pieces. So I figured that it must have something to do with my origins, and started to speculate that maybe some harmonies are “written into our genes” so to speak. 🙂 Andean music is a different story though, and has totally captivated me the first time I heard it. I think there must definitely be something “cosmic” on it, as the quote from the Flight of the Featheed Serpent book you mentioned shows. I also love how light this music feels, and often feel like swirling when listening to it (maybe tapping into the “rhythm of the celestial bodies” the quote mentions?). No wonder you felt vibrating at a higher frequency after listening to it! 🙂
Thank you for sharing again and wishing you many more musical discoveries.
I can relate to your experience of how some classical music makes you feel, Mike. I feel so uplifted and aware after listening to Beethoven for example as though someone else has done some serious spiritual work on me without me doing anything.
As Seraphim mentioned it I also feel that music/sound has healing properties as I have had some interesting experiences in relation to it.
Your remark on music making you feel like someone else did a spiritual work for you is just bang on for me, too. I try to think of it as the music offering us a taste of what could be experienced daily, with a serious inner work.
Being able to heal from music is quite interesting. It’s not something I have experience with, but I’ve heard things to that effect. I remember once doing a mantra with a group and one of the participants remarked that the pitch of our chanting, what he described as a mid C if I remember correctly, was of a healing quality…
Thank you for sharing your experiences Mike. It inspired me to put on some classical music 🙂 I feel music saves me every day, really. Whenever I put some on through my headphones it totally changes how I feel. It lifts me up.
Yes, I agree Anne Linn. The right type of music can lift me up too.
Your experience is all so familiar!
My first experience with classical music was when I went on a school excursion to watch an orchestra play classical music. I do not remember the composer though, I was in 5th grade and it was the first time I went to watch such a musical performance. The venue was particularly good it was constructed specifically for this type of music. It was round inside and when the different instruments played they sounded like they where being played from different places all around us which created a beautiful ambiance. I have such a fond memory of the music having a noticeably uplifting effect on my mood.
I have experienced similar effects from listening to the type of classical music you mention including Andean music even when I have had it playing in the background while doing something else. I recently was playing some Andean music in my car as I was driving and I had some passengers in the car accompanying me. My passengers when they entered the car where somewhat argumentative with each other and I thought that they may have a big argument but as our car trip went on with the music playing in the background they gradually calmed down and commented on how pleasant the music was. It then became quiet as everyone listened to and enjoyed the music and the atmosphere in the car became much lighter.
Thanks for sharing your experience Mike! I enjoyed reading it.
That’s really nice Penny. I’m glad the Andean music was able to create a more peaceful atmosphere among the passengers.
That sounds like a really special school excursion. Yeah, it’s amazing how, within a well-designed music hall, that you can hear the music coming from all directions. You can get completely immersed in the beauty.
It’s also neat to read how the Andean music seemed to have such an elevating effect, even upon people who were in an argumentative state. Too bad the ambient music in most public spaces is… less conducive to spiritual peace.
As I was reading your experience, I was gladly surprised of hearing about your teacher playing classical music during class. How awesome would that have been! Personally, I was only introduced to classical music in my early teens, and funnily enough it was through Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as well 🙂 I remember one afternoon coming into the living room while the TV was on and Vivaldi was playing as an add was advertising the release on a CD of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
To this day, I still remember stopping what I was doing to simply sit on the couch being transfixed by the music. I think that was the first time I had heard classical music, and I thought to myself it was soooo beautiful. How could someone create something so melodious, so beautiful to the ears and the heart. It really captured my whole attention.. I remember once the add stopped, I tried to remember everything that was advertised and ran to my mum to beg her to get me this CD for my birthday! I was so hooked and was so thankful that she did remember and listened to it quite a lot. Well it was pretty much the only classical music CD I had for a long time..
As a young adult, I took a class on music at Uni, and my teacher introduced me to Beethoven… I remember right after class, and after listening to Beethoven for the first time, how I also ran to a music store, to see if I could find the 9th symphony. I also got a couple more CDs that were on special, but again this one was also one my big fav..! So it was really interesting to hear of your own experience, how you noticed such type of music elevated your spirit. I can honestly say I have felt the same but without really understanding this was happening. I just really appreciated the music and always felt ‘happier’ or more ‘at ease’ after listening to those particular music you mentioned instead of feeling edgy or emotionally charged toward other type of music which I liked as well but did not have the same qualities so to speak. Beethoven, Vivaldi, Bach just have this quality to their music which really always elevated me, and I only understood why this was the case after reading what Belsebuub mentioned in his books and how what he mentioned really correlated to my own experience. I could then make sense of that ‘joy’ I felt and why it had such a positive action. How interesting that certain music can bring such universal responses in people. Now I feel like having a listen of these special classical pieces 🙂
Thanks for your experiences there, Geraldine. It’s so cool that the Four Seasons struck a chord with you, too, and lead you to begin to appreciate classical music. I’m glad your mom bought you the CD!
It’s great that there is still an appreciation and preservation of classical music in society. Life would be less complete without such beauty.
Thanks for bringing up classical music and giving it some of its due justice Mike!
My proper introduction to classical music also happened when hearing more about it from Belsebuub and people sharing their favourites on his online courses running at the time.
I was one of those ‘kids’ who had thought classical music to be very boring up until that point. 🙂 But when I took the time to accustom myself to this other way of listening and appreciating music. When listening ‘with my heart’ (rather than gaining some pleasure due to an emotional drain of modern pop music) the music, that of Beethoven especially, had a deep impact within me. Alone in the dark in my room I was being taken along the dramatic currents of that music.
In contrast to my ideas about classical beforehand, I actually found Beethoven’s music to be very strong, powerful and revolutionary!
I listened to some of my favourites a lot back then and I think the music helped a lot in shifting my focus from looking for lower emotional pleasures to better activities.
A Beethoven piece that I also really liked, along with the 9th (and others), was the ‘Egmont Overture’. Like a well of strength and spiritually rebellious life within exploding outward.
Another one someone played to me a few years ago was Parsifal’s overture by Wagner. Wow….. So delicate and so powerful. That really has the ability to take me to forest paradises where sacred knightly adventures of a secret path take place.
Those online courses were treasure-trove of valuable classical music suggestions. My personal collection expanded quite considerably after reading through those forums!
I found it interesting how in Belsebuub’s new “Searching Within” book, he gives the music tip of listening to music that’s of a slightly higher level than our current state so we can be brought up by it. I think it relates a lot to how music can help shift our priorities and take us out of low states into higher states with higher activities.
Thanks for sharing those pieces, Karim. That Edgmont Overture is very powerful. Beethoven’s music was very revolutionary at times!
Wow,So true Michael without the spiritual connection music does
not have the quality or depth that gives such an experience.
Thanks for sharing.
I can also relate to an appreciation of Beethoven as well as Andean music. I used to come home tired, turn on an Andean or a classical piece and listen to it for up to one hour. I found that having good quality speakers made a big difference. I was able to appreciate the music through being aware of it playing. I do not have strong experiences with having music in the background. I may be choosing the wrong music, or I might be not approaching it correctly. Do you have any advice on how to appreciate music in the background?
I think you touched upon a good point about active concentration being the key to fully appreciating music, just as Mike discovered in the maths class. So regarding background music, I think the same approach can help. In other words, also focussing the attention on the music more fully, rather than having it playing in the background, while the mind is on something else.
I suppose in a way there is a bit of multi-tasking involved in this and there may be individual differences in the way different people’s brains process the environment. But I’ve been able to concentrate quite well on some music by Mozart playing while typing this reply, for example. I’ve also read quite good things about “The Mozart Effect” – how listening to his music while studying can actually stimulate the brain beneficially and create a better learning environment.
I have to say though, if I try to do something involving language while listening to music with lyrics, it’s often a different story altogether! I can listen to world music and not be distracted, as I don’t understand the language, so my brain doesn’t try to process it. But if I’m listening to music with lyrics in English, it can often be a distraction, depending on the style of singing, or complexity of the lyrics. I discovered during my early university years that trying to write an essay while listening to Bob Dylan was a big no no!
Interestingly, I could easily do maths or art while listening to popular music with lyrics though and quite enjoyed working like that. So I guess the key for me is not having the same part of the brain working overtime on two different tasks – in this case, the language centre. The brain needs to process multiple stimuli from the senses all the time, so I guess it just depends on how each person processes information and whether something like listening to music while doing another task would serve as a boost to concentration, or as a distraction.
Yeah, I can’t say that in general I’m successful at doing tasks and being able to appreciate classical music in the background, Aleks. Usually I need to concentrate on the music. But if I’m going to work and have background music imposed on me, I think classical music offers a greater chance of successful work and provides something nice when I take a mental break.
I think you’ve got a good point, Michael, in the language centre of the brain. I also find if a song as lyrics, especially those of my first language like English, it’s much harder to concentrate on work and listen to music. On the other hand, if the piece is simple enough, like a mantra that just repeats, say, then I can concentrate quite well on my work with that in the background. It can be very soothing and help block out external distractions.
Yes, I agree Mike. I have also played mantras while working on other tasks and have found them beneficial in creating a more spiritual focus.
I can relate to what you’ve written here Mike, about how the right type of music can uplift us out of lower emotions. I found this recently when listening to some light classical music. I’ve also noticed how the wrong type of music (like some pieces of music in the styles you mentioned from your early collection) can negatively affect the emotions. I used to be an avid collector of different types of music and my collection certainly included those genres.
It’s interesting to see how the music I was drawn to over the years was so much a reflection of my inner state. I used to enjoy light-hearted pop as a child, heavier-sounding stuff as a teenager, then sometimes mellow, but slightly melancholic music as a young adult. I used to also be keen on experimental and electronic music, but nowadays tend to hear disorder within these genres and a lack of harmony and beauty.
I was never particularly keen on classical music years ago, but that has definitely changed. As you mentioned, the lighter type of classical music can have a positive effect in uplifting us, and concentrating fully upon it can be a very rewarding practice in itself. It’s worth working to clear our inner state, in order to enhance our perception of beauty – both in the natural world and in art and music.
Thanks for sharing your post.
Thank you, Michael, for sharing your experience with music. I like also this piece of music of Beethoven. It has something uplifting and optimistic.
I dare to say that superior music has something healing in soul and emotional center. It can change a negative internal situation in a more peaceful and balanced situation to a degree that can surprise me.