During that impromptu stillness, besides feeling the pain and heaviness in my body, I also started feeling the burden of a few old scars and hurt in my heart.
4th August 2017, Noida. While lying on my bed, I was looking up at the ceiling fan and thinking about what I should do for the next forty days. Earlier that day, I had been discharged from hospital after surgery, and the doctor had advised me complete bed rest for the next forty days. My immediate surgery had not given me enough time to plan for the recovery phase. During that impromptu stillness, besides feeling the pain and heaviness in my body, I also started feeling the burden of a few old scars and hurt in my heart.
Sometimes life runs so fast that, forget the healing part, we don’t get enough time to even feel our pain. Unknowingly we srore those emotions and traumas in our subconscious mind. And when the baggage gets too heavy, then the universe has to intervene with a pause. My post-surgery phase was such a time in my life.
Initially, for a few days, I felt drowsy because of the side effects of the medicines. It eventually subsided with a decreased dose of medicine. Thereon the boredom started setting in as I was only allowed minimal body movement, but my mind was alert and empty. As they say, an empty mind is a devil’s workshop. Random hurtful memories of people and situations from the past started coming to the surface. Suddenly, I also began receiving thoughts of people whom I had left behind in the past and never reconnected with. I used to think I had erased them from my memory, but then I felt they still occupied a part of it.
I turned to instrumental music and chants to navigate the deep waters of my emotions.
Often, when we get emotionally hurt, we run away without acknowledging it and start diverting our attention to something else that elevates us. It is an excellent way to keep the negative, damaging thoughts at a distance. But it is also essential not to ignore the emotions to heal the pain and eradicate it from our subconscious memory. We require a lot of strength to do inner work at a subconscious level because no one wants to go to a place of hurt emotions, as there is pain; hence we keep ignoring it. But if we keep running away from painful emotions without treating them, then we keep adding it to our subconscious mind by building and repeating negative patterns. This way, we keep attracting those situations and such people again and again into our lives. So, it’s crucial to heal our mind and soul along with our body.
As I had enough free time, I used to spend most of it on the internet – searching for something or passing time on social media. However, to break the silence in my room, I used to play classical instrumental music on my laptop. With each passing day, I felt my connection with music was growing deeper. Though I had been listening to music ever since I was born, I had never looked up to it as a counsellor or healer. It was the first time when I admitted to the universe that I am hurt. That whatever sense of safety and control I had over my body, my emotions, my mind was failing, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get better. I turned to instrumental music and chants to navigate the deep waters of my emotions. When all I felt was numb, rhythms and sounds helped me feel something again.
Just listening to music or humming had helped me through some of my struggles in life – but that time music transformed my life. Because when I finally admitted to myself that I am a human being and I can be exhausted too, listening to music and chants gave me the confidence to not run away from my emotions. I thought, sometimes it was okay not to be okay, but the important thing was to search for ways to bring light to the darkness.
I sorted out my priorities, started taking care of myself and began to take out time for the things that I love to do. I began seeking help from sources outside and joined a music school to learn Indian classical vocal.
Post-surgery, my new relationship with music had made me realize I couldn’t “fix” things until I accepted that there was a problem, and then I needed to work towards it. Music helped me watch my thoughts and heal my emotions at a more profound level. It had not only sped up the recovery of my body but also recovered the unresolved emotional conflicts in my mind – that had brought me to a happier and peaceful state.
Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch.
Music has miraculous healing powers. It enables the brain in healing socially, cognitively and physically or even developmentally. It taps into a part of our brain that we respond to immediately even as young as a foetus in a mother’s womb. Scientifically music precedes language and can even be used to calm a distressed baby. It is cultural and can be used as an incredibly powerful and motivating tool that, in many cases, is therapeutic. Music therapy is now an established health profession. In this system, the doctor first assesses the needs of the patient. A qualified music therapist indicates what choice of raga and tala and whether it is vocal or instrumental music that suits the patient. While instruments provide a continuous melodic pleasure, vocal music adds a pinch of the spiritual element through the lyrical content. Music is more suited for palliative care and hence should always be combined with traditional treatment. In some hospitals, mellow music is played to divert and relax patients.
There are many ways in which music contributes to our wellbeing:
It works as an emotional fix – Listening to happy and upbeat music is a boon for people who are sad and depressed. It can instantly uplift their mood and stabilize their emotions.
It motivates towards life or achieving a goal – Music enables motivation. Listening to motivational music or songs can inspire people to take action in their lives.
It helps with physical therapy and rehabilitation. If we exercise to a playlist, we have probably noticed that music helps us stick to our routine.
It aids pain relief. Music decreases pain perception, reduces the amount of pain medication needed, helps relieve depression in pain patients, and gives them a sense of better control over their pain.
It improves the quality of life. Music can help to evoke memories, reduce agitation, assist communication, and improve physical coordination.
Everyone likes different kinds of music: some people may feel more uplifted when they listen to Indian classical music, while others get the same high when listening to Bach or Beethoven. Personal preferences aside, music, in general, has a synchronized effect on people’s brains. Music taps into our memories to stimulate or recall a story from our past and reminisce about our life. It’s truly a beautiful thing and something that continues to captivate us.
Music cannot be interpreted or put into words, which goes to show its complex and intricate nature. Music can only be felt, and in feeling, it gets translated into thoughts and emotions. It permeates your entire body like pure energy and touches you where nothing else can. It’s no wonder that people have used music for rejuvenation, expression and as a healing mechanism for ages, that’s why Heinrich Heine once said, “Where words leave off, music begins.”
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