Good Vibrations: Live Harp Music as a Doorway to Healing and Meditation

by Jess Frey and Grace Cloutier

There are many doorways into the heart and soul. Many doorways that bring us back home to the raw pureness of awareness, presence, and connection.

The harp, considered the most ancient of the stringed instruments, is one such doorway. For thousands of years, woven throughout some of the earliest traditions, the harp has been admired for its soothing timbre, angelic sound, and mystical connections; and it has been recognized as an influential healing instrument on every level—physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically, and spiritually. The vibrating strings awaken the rivers of sound within this vast universe that exists both externally and internally, beneath the layers of our skin.

Have you ever listened to your favorite tune and felt a sense of being captivated by each note, dissolving into the vibrations? Your mind quiets, and you are transported into a trance-like state in which your whole being is delighted by the melody. The rapture of music and its complex inherent characteristics—sonic patterns, momentum, resonance, rhythms, repetitions, and the mysterious ways in which it evokes emotion—all become a meditative gateway, an entry that guides us into the gaps between thoughts, the silence within the sounds, and the calm within the chaos.

In his translation of the ancient yogic text known as the Radiance Sutras (Vijnana Bhairava Tantra), meditation teacher and author Lorin Roche, PhD, describes the interplay of song and silence. He writes, “When a song ends, the silence throbs, and we can follow that throbbing into a silence louder than the music.” Sutra 18, Verse 43, invites us to “tend to each note, each chord, rising up from silence and dissolving again, vibrating strings draw us into the spacious resonance of the heart.”

Attending to sound and using the capacity to listen as a meditative anchor invites the qualities of music to freely flow though us. These currents of receptivity offer a “coming home,” a sacred return to full presence, in which we can attune to the innate wisdom that resides in our heart and body.

According to the law of quantum physics and the understanding of modern science, we can now say that all things are vibration or energy. Matter, sound, light, thoughts, emotions, our bodies, and any experience we have can be expressed as vibration or movement. Vibrations move and oscillate through us, just as sound travels though the ocean. When we listen to and hear certain frequencies, the wavelength of that frequency pulses through the air and through our bodies, causing our cells, tissues, and organs to vibrate in unison with that tone.

With its wide pitch range, soothing palette of tones, and harmonic frequencies, harp music settles, harmonizes, and eases us into profound, restorative states of deep relaxation and meditation. At its essence, the harp offers solace.

Clinical studies are quantifying the therapeutic benefits of live harp music for regulating stress hormones, equalizing and slowing down brain waves, inducing restful sleep, releasing physical and emotional suffering, and helping listeners to access peaceful states conducive to healing. When the body’s restorative systems are in a state of rest, balance, and wholeness, self-healing can occur within all aspects of our being.

The homecoming begins when we take space and time to immerse ourselves in the serene environment of live music, sound meditations, gentle movement, and guided relaxation. This combination of sound, silence, and movement creates a vibrational rhythm that begins to unlock the body’s and heart’s innate intelligence to awaken, transform, and rejuvenate.  Ultimately, music touches a part of the soul that no one and nothing else can.

Find out about upcoming programs with Jess Frey and Grace Cloutier at Kripalu.

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