By Valerie Minard
Some time ago, I was sitting in a theater with a friend waiting to see a movie. I wasn’t too keen to watch this depressing movie since I had had a stressful day. But, then some classical music came on. It was Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” I’m familiar with this piece because there is a popular hymn we sing at church set to this music.
Immediately, the words by Elizabeth C. Adams began to play in my mind, “Father, we Thy loving children, Lift our hearts in joy today, Knowing well that Thou wilt keep us Ever in Thy blessed way.”
I had to laugh because those words were the opposite of what I was feeling just then. But they reminded me that I had a choice; I could choose to express joy and not be pulled down. I didn’t need to be influenced by the events of the day or the movie I was about to see. As the hymn implied, my loving Father (and I like to think of God as Mother too!) could “lift my heart in joy” and nothing could shake that. These encouraging ideas and inspirational music lifted my concern and I was able to appreciate the movie.
It was a powerful message. To this day, I don’t remember the movie. I do hear the music and recall the uplift I felt knowing my joy had a spiritual foundation that couldn’t be compromised. In fact, my experience was not all that unusual. Nowadays, the healing power of music is becoming more recognized.
The Bible tells how the shepherd-boy, soon-to-be-king David, played soothing harp music for King Saul during his bouts with mental illness to help him regain his peace of mind. In addition to offering us a glimpse of the power of music, the scriptures also tell us that our creator made us good and gave us dominion over all the discord that would upset, concern or frighten us. Health expert and theologian, Mary Baker Eddy, describes it this way, “Harmony in man is as beautiful as in music, and discord is unnatural, unreal.”
Researchers are beginning to recognize music’s benefits also. They have found that listening to music helps to capture attention, stimulate memory, and increase productivity. They are looking for ways to adopt it into healthcare, such as helping patients who are recovering from surgery or dealing with Alzheimer’s. According to a CNN report, music, in some cases, has improved people’s health better than medications against which it has been compared.
It was the ability of music to capture my attention that day that perhaps was the a key to its power. I’ve often found that it helps to refocus and silence my discordant thinking and remind me to reconnect with the divine source that’s always governing me. In a way, it’s a catalyst to prayer — re-establishing harmony to the point where I find I am receptive to fresh inspiration and spiritual ideas. It makes sense that it’s been used in worship services down through the centuries.
So, whether it’s a hymn, Beethoven’s 5th, or Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” song, let the music move you to that place of prayer, where you can turn from the worry of human problems to the harmony of spiritual solutions. This frame of mind not only will bring peace, it will also improve your wellbeing.
Valerie writes regularly on the connection between consciousness, spirituality, and health. She is a Christian Science practitioner and the spokesperson for Christian Science in New Jersey.