You enter the hall, the house lights dim, the players hush, and the music begins. You enter the club and are engulfed in sound. You crank the car stereo as you drive down the road. You tune out the world and plug in your headphones. The sound reaches your ears, and immediately your body and brain begin to “hear” the music, responding in ways we are only beginning to understand.

You deliberately chose this moment to listen, to detach at least partially from an obsession with the visual and tune in to the world of sound. You chose to experience music with every fiber of your being.

Music makes you feel, and we crave the feeling experience. We are a feeling driven society. We want to feel good. We desire to feel love and bliss. Even the hardest of hearts seeks the feeling of security, power, and stability. The goal of marketing is to make you feel that you are incomplete, or that a product will bring you happiness. The massive industries of entertainment and sports take advantage of our innate desire to feel.

Watch any movie with a good soundtrack and you will be manipulated into feeling what the director wants you to experience. Walk into any mall and watch what the music does to you. It makes you feel good, energetic, and positive. It makes you feel like you have plenty of money (or at least credit), but not enough stuff.

Music expresses feeling, whether it be anger, suspense, power, love, bliss, confusion, peace…you name it, music can express it.

We live in a material world, but how many times have you been told that feelings are immaterial?

I think we’re more spiritual than we realize.

Would you listen to music for money, even if you hated it? Think of your least favorite music—could you really stand listening to it over and over again, day in and day out? This would be a special kind of torture, so perfectly expressed by Gary Lawson in his Far Side cartoons: Charlie Parker screaming from inside a locked room in hell while Satan plays an endless array of new age music, and the classical maestro ushered by Satan into a rehearsal hall filled with grinning banjo players.

No, we listen to music because it takes us where we want to go. I recently asked a wide audience why they listened to music. Their many responses seem to fit into 4 categories:

  • For a change in their energy (upliftment, energy, inspiration)
  • For a change in their consciousness (joy, peace, love, expansion, peace)
  • For freedom (catharsis, transformation, entertainment)
  • For a sense of wholeness (connection, fulfillment, union, immersion)

You don’t have to believe in God for music to take you into these states, but you must recognize that these experiences lie not in the material realm, but in the only other one there is: the spiritual. The best working definition for spiritual I have ever heard is simply this: not material.

Even google primarily defines spiritual as:

of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.

Music is not material – it is spiritual. Know this to be true. Put aside whatever stereotypes you’ve accepted of what it means to be spiritual, and start accepting the fact that as long as you voluntarily listen to your favorite tunes, you are working with spiritual (not material) laws that take you where you want to go—to the sacred place of feeling that you crave.

I think we are a lot more spiritual than we realize. But don’t worry—it’s not as bad as you think.

Music, Feeling, and the Spiritual

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