The Power of Music (Part 5)

What is it that music can do that no other art form can do? Articulation of certain feelings (writers can do that), reliving a moment to reflect on it (film-makers do that), connect the visual universe with the inner one (painters do that).

What music can do it is tied into the very essence of music itself. Music connects to a feeling, it sonically translates a feeling; though the artist seldom knows what emotion he is tapping into himself. The music itself finds the right notes.

The music dives into a part of ourselves that we have not yet gone in. It reveals to us things we were not able to know. And even after the experience we still do not know (in the rational sense). It is the field of the non-rational, or extra-reasonable.

It is so luring and powerful because there is something unknown yet incredibly familiar about it. Deep calls to deep. Our longings are certainly hard to translate, yet they can be experienced. Music helps us experience our deepest longings.

Longing is essential to the human experience, though uncomfortable. It gives us the overwhelming feeling that we are not in our permanent state, that something about this world is missing. Longing is a painful but deeply pleasant experience.

It’s similar to having a “good cry.” No one seeks to go out and have a cry, but when it happens it feels very good. The dopamine in our bodies releases. We get past the temporary things to the ultimate things. We know it is a good thing.

It’s similar to going to a funeral. Again no one wants to go to a funeral. It is awkward and sad. Yet there is something healing in the environment. People are drawn together in unusually close circumstances. God works.

Music is like that healing agent in a good cry or that depth experienced in a funeral. No one wants to go there but once they enter they are so glad they did. Once taken out of our focused routines we realize just how wonderful a gift it is.

The reset that happens during a spell of longing (think a funeral), though uncomfortable and not preferred, does something unusual to our schedule. Where before it we were sure we could not afford the time to go, after it seems we’ve nothing to do.

Longing literally slows down time. As we peel our gaze away from the fury of things on our to-do list and look into heaven we are convinced again that life has more meaning than merely the things for which we produce day to day.

We are more than our jobs, more than administrators of programs. We are human “beings.” Longing reminds us of our being-ness; our grounded-ness is something far greater than our ability to produce. It is our essential human-ness.

When we get back into ourselves we start to discover the ache of our longing is leading us somewhere. It is not there simply to bring discomfort, it is there to remind us in that discomfort that comforts here are temporary. Be homesick!  

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