Rosicrucian Writings Online
Tuning Your Health with the CosmicLET MUSIC BRING HARMONY INTO EVERY PART
OF YOUR BODY
By The Imperator
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Rosicrucian Digest July 1932]
MUCH has been discovered in recent years regarding the value of light in restoring normal, healthful conditions in the human body, and all that is now known in regard to this subject is but elementary compared with the vast possibilities still awaiting practical experimentation. But in the field of music are to be found similar possibilities, more easily analyzed and applied and more fascinatingly introduced into our every day life.
The ancients knew a great deal about the effects of music upon the human system. Some centuries ago it was believed that the ancients thought that the whole effect of music was mental, or shall we say emotional, but many recent scientific discoveries have revealed the fact that the ancients really understood the psychic or spiritual effects of music as well as the emotional and that is why music in various forms was introduced in the religious and spiritual rituals of nearly all of the ancient cults.
From analyzing the psychological effects of music the investigations led into the study of physiological effects and here a new world of possibilities was found. It became evident, then, to all of the investigators that the mystics of old had utilized sound, especially sound in relationship to rhythm, as a means for not only affecting the human emotions but the human health and the harmony of the body generally.
It may be necessary here to state just briefly that music, as we understand it today, is a combination of sound and rhythm, or shall I say sound regulated by rhythm. When I say sound I mean all of the various sounds which the human ear can hear or interpret normally. There are many sounds in the universe which the human ear cannot hear and many which the average ear does not hear, but which the developed ear can hear. Sounds may be produced by nature or by man accidentally or deliberately. Every sound has a definite place in the keyboard of sound and we may say theoretically, that the keyboard of all the sounds in the universe would be like unto a piano keyboard that reached through hundreds of octaves. Many of these octaves would produce a sound that the ear would not hear because their pitch would be too high or too low. Taking the normally heard sounds, however, we find that these can be placed within a keyboard that is not much larger than the standard piano keyboard. The whirl of a revolving wheel on a piece of machinery, the blowing of the wind, the howling of air currents around a house or through a tree, the patter of rain on the roof, the sliding of coal down a metal chute, the beating of horses hoofs upon the ground, the chirping of the birds, the falling of water over the rocks into a pool, the words of the human voice, the tum-tum of a tribal ceremony, and every other sound that the ear can hear is connected with one of the notes of the universal keyboard. Musicians learned this fact many years ago and in all of the great masterpieces of music we have either an actual imitation of nature's sounds or such a symbolical resemblance to them that the idea of the representation is set up in our consciousness even though an actual imitation of the sound is not attempted.
We need not take time to argue the fact that the human emotions have a very definite relationship with the health of the human body. The fact is that the psychic or psychological side of man is so closely related to the normal functioning of all of the organs of the body and with the normal activity of the spinal nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system that anything which disturbs the harmony or equilibrium of the nerve energy and emotional activities of the body is sure to disturb the harmony of the health and produce either disease or discomfort.
The spinal nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system are two separate channels for the expression of the vital energy in the human body and for the distribution of that energy into every part of the body. Anything that disturbs the proper flow and activity of the nerve energy is sure to produce not only a nervous effect but a physical and chemical effect in the human body.
Throughout our bodies are distributed not only the many nerve centers, known as ganglia, but a number of larger centers sometimes referred to as the psychic centers of the human body, or the emotional centers. The solar plexus is but one of twelve such centers that controls the emotional reactions which set up certain definite effects in the nerves and physical functionings of the human body either for good or evil.
Those musicians who have studied the subject and especially those scientists who have gone very deeply into the analysis of the principles involved have found that these twelve psychological centers of emotionalism are so connected with the ganglia of the sympathetic nervous system and with the nerve centers of the spinal nervous system that there is a harmonious relationship like that which exists between the various notes of the musical scale.
The twelve large psychic centers are especially sympathetic to twelve definite sounds of the musical scale. With each human being these musical notes are different. In other words, the solar plexus may be attuned with the note of C with one person and with the note of E with another. Another one of the psychic centers in the left side of the head may be attuned with the musical note F with one person and with F sharp, with another. As persons grow older or more healthy or more developed in their intellectual and psychic sense the pitch of these notes to which the psychic centers are attuned may be raised and with persons who are deteriorating in physical strength through disease or through the violation of natural laws, the pitch may become greatly lowered.
The attunement of these psychic centers with the musical notes is such that when the proper note is played upon a piano, violin, or any other instrument, or actually sung by the human voice, the psychic centers respond to that note by vibrating either in attunement with it or inharmonic attunement with it. For instance, if a person's solar plexus is in attunement with the musical note of E natural, of the first octave above middle C, then every time that note is played or sung in the presence of that person, there will be a mild stimulation of the vibrations of nerve energy acting through the solar plexus, and this stimulation will cause the center and its connecting nerves to function more freely, more perfectly, and with a tonic effect upon all those parts of the body connected with that center. On the other hand, any note that is discordant with the note of E or out of harmony with it, and especially one which is removed a musical fifth from it, will cause the solar plexus to become disturbed by such vibrations of sound and thereby cause the nerve energy connected with that center to become disturbed in its harmonic or rhythmic functioning and a sense of illness, depression, slight pain, or nervous strain will be felt and this condition may leave an impression upon certain parts of the body lasting for several hours or several days.
As stated above, all music consists of sounds regulated by the laws of rhythm. Taking the finger and tapping on a drum with a regular beat like the ticking of a clock does not constitute a form of music except in a very fundamental sense, but the moment you break up the beating into one beat with a pause, then followed by two, then one again and followed by two, you have the elements of rhythm and the striking of the drum begins to imitate the fundamental use of the tum-tum in Oriental music and additional varieties in the rhythm will produce various effects which are essential to all forms of music.
The moment you begin to vary the pitch of the sound and change from one note to another you enter into the second law of music which deals with melody. Thus by varying the pitch of sound, or the time of it, you have sound, plus melody, plus rhythm, and all music is composed of these three elements.
By varying the pitch of the sounds you cause the sounds to affect different nerve centers. Producing only one sound continuously would only affect one of the nerve centers. By changing the pitch from one sound to another you include many or all of the nerve centers. By changing the rhythm you also produce a variation in effects because you cause either a harmonious effect upon the natural rhythm of the nerve energy or a disturbing rhythm.
It must be remembered that the nerve energy in the human body is not a continuous stream but a pulsating stream. The electric energy in the wires of our homes which supplies us with the so-called alternating current, flows at a rhythm of sixty pulsations a minute, usually, producing what is technically called a sixty cycle current. It is due to this fact that the present-day electric clocks will keep such good time because the sixty pulsations per minute move the hands sixty seconds per minute. If another energy were to flow along the electric wires at the rate of seventy-two pulsations per second, it would upset the rhythm of the original pulsations and would cause the electric clock to go wrong and it would disturb the effect of the light and of any other machinery or device connected with the wiring. Through the human body the nerve energy pulsates at different rates in order to affect different parts of the body and to cause different organs to act and respond and do their work. Any disturbances of the nerve energy is sure to produce a disturbance of some physical functioning in some part of the body, resulting in temporary illness or the beginning of some disease. Anything that will stimulate the nerve energy in its pulsations will produce a greater amount of vitality and energy in some part of the body either for the good of the health or to its detriment, according to where and how the effect is produced.
A note that is harmonious to a nerve center strengthens the nerve energy, stimulates it, invigorates it, and causes it to make the nerve center function more completely and more beneficially. Anything that causes the nerve center to feel a shock of inharmony or an impulse of inharmonious vibrations will cause aches or pains or cause the breaking down of some blood cells or cells of tissue or cells of other matter, and when such cells break down the beginning of a disease of some kind is established.
It should be seen from this, therefore, that music can have a very serious as well as very beneficial effect upon our nervous system and, therefore, upon our health. Caruso, the great singer, was known for his ability to sing certain musical notes that would occasionally cause pieces of glass in the room to shatter. This is because everything that exists has a harmonic relationship to some musical note and if an inharmonious note is produced the disturbing vibrations of the inharmonious rhythm or pulsation will cause all of the vibrations in some article to be upset and it will shatter or crack and break.
Many musicians have produced upon the violin or cello or upon the flute or clarinet musical notes that have caused articles in a room to sing forth their own note out of sympathy, or to give forth another note as a sort of protest against the inrush of inharmonious vibrations. The pipe organ is especially qualified to produce some deep notes that are very disturbing to material things and to the health of the body or to produce other notes that are very harmonious.
The great musicians of the past, who are known as the great masters of music, composed many of their pieces for the purpose of bringing together as many musical notes as possible which would affect certain centers of the body and produce soothing or enlivening effects. Sousa, the late eminent march king, learned the secret of writing military music in such a manner that the standard rhythm of march music could be augmented by the use of certain notes in certain passages of his compositions which would arouse the nerve energy and produce a tonic effect and cause the listeners to be invigorated and stimulated and even over-energized and thus encouraged to march and carry on their tiresome walking in the face of great fatigue and suffering. Other compositions arouse the centers which deal with the emotions and produce emotional effects that are joyful or sad leading to retrospection, visualization, and other mental conditions.
If these musical laws and principles are utilized in a therapeutic way they can be made to stimulate a broken down nervous system, to awaken a sluggish organic action, to quicken certain nerve centers in their functioning, to stimulate the blood, to soothe over-active glands and organs, to lower a feverish temperature, to purify the blood through stimulated nerve energy, and even to quicken the healing processes of diseased tissues.
I have already stated that certain musical notes affect each of us beneficially. It is rather difficult to learn just what those notes are except from noticing that certain pieces of music, played at certain times, do make us feel stronger, happier, more harmonious and vitalized, while others are very depressing in their effects. It has been noticed also that if a person sings such notes as are beneficial, the effect is greater than when they are played or sung by someone else. Unconsciously a great many persons have become attracted to certain songs that they find themselves humming or singing many times a day. Usually they think it is because they like the tune, or like the melody, or perhaps like the words. The fact of the matter is, they have unconsciously noticed that the music is soothing or beneficial to the nervous system, perhaps to the entire system, and that is why they continuously sing or hum such songs. These songs become almost like theme songs to one's life. Every now and then a new song will supplant one of the old ones but a careful analysis will show that the new one has many of the same strains or groups of notes that the older one had.
There is no question about the beneficial effect that comes from having good music in the home. Naturally enough those compositions which have been carefully written and inspired in the minds of great masters and then carefully developed, are the ones which are the most beneficial, while much of our popular music and especially the so-called jazz music has little or no effect upon us except in a detrimental way. If one cannot play properly and express the right music for one's moods the best thing is to purchase such phonograph records as contain such music as we feel stimulating and helpful to us, and listen for them on the radio also, and tune out or eliminate the undesirable music. A person who has a collection of eight or ten beneficial phonograph records in the home and who plays these once or twice a week or hears similar pieces over the radio is sure to have better health than the person who never allows the effect of music to harmonize his being. All of the Cosmic operates in harmony and with vibrations that harmonize in all departments of life, and by finding the theme song or any song that contains the proper group of notes for our own individuality and having these played occasionally, we attune ourselves with the harmonies of the Cosmic and keep our physical well being balanced and in attunement with nature's creative, curative forces.
No one can tell you what pieces of music are best suited for you except after weeks and months of study, but you can discover for yourself by playing those pieces which have always appealed to you the most and analyze what effects they are really having, for often during such self-analysis and meditation one will notice that a properly selected piece of music will cause the nerves to become stimulated and invigorated and the whole body to feel soothed and strengthened and at the same time there will be an emotional or spiritual sense of uplift and contentment with life. When such pieces are found they should be prized as ones containing the keynotes for your own life, while those pieces which seem to have an opposite effect should be carefully discarded and eliminated.
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