Saturday, February 16, 2013
Music as Healer
One of the most often used words in church articles this past year was the word 'healing'. Best-selling books often had the word in their title. TV programs appeared with healing themes, healing foods; concerts and talk shows that healed seemed to be everywhere. Can we doubt that our society has a need for healing?
A member of the Spirituality Research Center at the Inchon Catholic University, writing in the Kyeongyang magazine on his experience as a professional using music to heal, states that the art of music is ever-present in our lives, a sound form we are familiar with, from our time in the womb until the time we die.
Music enters through the ear, and from there to the brain and then to our whole being, where it influences us in many ways, working on our emotions, knowingly and unknowingly. We know this, he says, from the background music we hear so often in restaurants and theaters. This being the case, what music should we be listening to? he asks. There is no correct answer, he says. What is right for one person or situation might not be right for another person or situation. Of course, a person knowledgeable in the field will be of help, but it is not necessary, he says. Choose the music you like, he advises, and learn to savor its message.
Another way of getting the benefits of music is to sing. The music will affect our emotions and even strengthen our immune system, he says. He gives an example of a woman who was depressed for 15 years. By using singing as treatment for her depression, she was able to overcome the depression. She finally could make contact with her feelings, give them expression and control them. He would like to tell all mothers when washing dishes, to sing out loud some of their favorite songs. It would be an opportunity for healing.
For a Catholic, healing is the work of God. We try try to respond to his great love without condition and judgment, and to surrender to him for the great joy of being one with him. It is when we have given up all that we hold precious and have worked to achieve that we experience oneness with him and find self-healing. If we live this way, no other healing is necessary.
One of the best ways of accomplishing this healing is to sing hymns. And at our next Mass, he says we should make this a priority, savoring the words of the hymn, letting each word fill our heart with its appropriate message. And if we listen carefully, he believes we will hear God's voice in the singing.