The Power of Music – Part 1

BY Parvati

Summer temperatures have arrived in Toronto this week. With my sun-loving tropical flower nature, I say “ahhhh!” to days of 30C.
I have been speaking on my blog about the light of our nature, and keeping our footprint on the planet light. I would like to delve more deeply this week into the power of the artist and what inspires me to create music like “I Am Light” as a way of serving our world. I am happy to see that the video has passed 50,000 views on YouTube and the song has five-star reviews on iTunes in both Canada and the US. If you are enjoying your copy, please take a moment to leave a review and let others know!
Creativity ultimately is a personal thing. We each have unique taste. If there are a thousand people in a room at a gig, there will be a thousand opinions about the music played. That is part of human nature. We all perceive differently.
Deeper than perception, musicology and music therapy show us that certain sounds can cause a universal response. For example, minor musical keys tend to feel somber as compared to major keys. Chords that feel more open, such as a major seventh or eleventh chord, will feel more expansive, whereas a major triad will provide a sense of strength and stability. These are the colours that a composer has to use as he/she paints a sonic landscape. His/her specific collection of sounds that expand versus sounds that constrict creates the unique artist expression of that composition.
The same is true for dancers. Certain physical expressions will emit the emotion of hope whereas others will communicate despair. Bringing the various emotional expressions into a choreographed piece will communicate the overall message of the artist. And the same would follow for painters, filmmakers, writers, etc.
To look at how art nourishes the spirit, we need to explore the power of intention and consciousness and what those do to the creative process. For example, how does one singer have different recordings of a song where one makes your spine tingle and the other one leaves you flat? We could say the pitch or tone was better in one or the other. We could say that the unheard but sensed overtones varied with each performance and that affected how we felt about it. Maybe there was a certain “je ne sais quoi” in the performance that contributed to a presence in the voice that just felt right, even if it was not technically perfect.
A singer can sing a supposedly happy song in a melancholic way by changing speed, tone or vocal inflection. Depending on the state of consciousness at the time of creation, a piece with happy lyrics can come across as manipulative or insincere.
We could likely all agree that emotional presence and the state of mind are communicated in the work of art. What about the intention that the artist has to create? Does that affect the artistic work? How does intention affect the audience when the art is delivered? Does it change the way we experience art?
All art communicates, whether it is done through narrative, colour, light, mood or vibration. After we have spent time with a work of art, we either feel we have been touched or not. Why then does certain art make us feel invigorated and others depleted? Why do certain songs have us tapping our feet but wanting to run out of the room?
I believe that the power of intention is at least in part responsible for how music makes me feel. My life is dedicated to a spiritual honesty. I am therefore more likely to resonate with music that communicates sincerity and supports evolution, connection and expansion than music that comes from the ego. I find the style of music does not matter as much as the creative intention.
If someone is writing a song from a place of “gotta get it right” or “wanna make a million bucks”, I feel it. I have heard songs on the radio that, on paper, would be a song I would write. The lyrics seem positive, the rhythm catchy, and the melody imaginative. But the song either leaves me flat or makes me feel unwell and I need to change the station. If the songwriter and performers are creating from ego, that comes across to me.
My body never lies. It has been a great teacher and friend. When my consciousness rests in a place of expansion, my body feels relaxed and expansive. When I am disconnected or spaced out, my body is tense or agitated. My body is like a litmus test for my state of consciousness. It keeps me honest, humble and tuned in.
So I usually go to my body for advice on sounds and art. I ask myself, how does it feel – not just emotionally, but physically? When I look at a painting, does the collection of colours, textures, mood and tone make me feel expansive? Or do I feel like a flower that quickly fades?
In art, there is both the personal and the transpersonal. To me, powerful art is where the artist touches the realm of the transpersonal, when it goes beyond the ego of the creator(s) and accesses the timeless and eternal. Great art can become a vehicle to cultivate our human potential. It can remind us of our divinity. It can help guide our way home. It can help dissolve the ego so that we may be rooted in selflessness.
Some people create art through pain and tension. Some thrive on tight deadlines and panic. Others need relaxed quiet in which to create. Though I can meet a painful situation and create, I tend to use the creative force to move through the pain towards expansion. Though some artists rest in pain and seem to need it to create, pain to me is passing. At best, it is a catalyst to propel me towards healing. It is not an end in itself. When I wrote my song for 9/11, the pain I witnessed and the compassion I felt cracked open a well of goodness and interconnection. I could have written about injustice and anger, but more sincerely for me, more powerful for me was the call to rest in the field of interconnection.
I have written angry songs, judgmental songs, indignant songs, sad songs and happy songs, but if they do not come from a place of sincerity and honesty, they never make it past my songbook and into a recording. I am very picky that way. For me, art is a spiritual practice, a way to challenge my ego and grind it down, so that it dissolves back to the One source.
Some people are fuelled by accolade and fame, while others hold themselves back and hide in the shadows wondering why. Both are an expression of the ego and living in fear. You could be on stage in front of hundreds of thousands of people, yet never further from your soul voice. If an artistic expression is fuelled by the ego, an audience member who seeks to hide and mask pain in their own life will likely resonate with it, while those that seek honesty and humility will not find it appealing.
The voice of the soul is connected to the infinite. When the artist’s soul speaks, their ego dies a little and so can the ego of the audience. But when the artist’s neuroses drive the creative process, we end up with a potentially catchy piece that can amplify the neuroses in others.
For the most part, I write and create music and produce my shows from a place of joy. Often with a smile on my face while at the computer producing, I am told I am like a kid in a toyshop. I can be seen literally jumping up and down when a certain resonance comes together in a song or a production. I just feel so aligned, so alive, so purposeful and complete. I watch my body to see if I feel expansive or constrictive. I consciously choose to create through expansion.
I write and produce my music and shows by following my joy. I am not talking about being happy without sincerity. I speak of the expansive expression of my soul that feels positive and tuned in to life. I feel that when I connect to my joy, I contribute to the vibration of joy on the planet.
I wish deeply for all beings to be free, for all to be happy, for all to be without suffering. As such, I must first align my consciousness with these qualities so that I may serve others. I am part of a continual inner purification process in so doing. Housecleaning always starts at home. If we are to truly serve others, we must empty ourselves to be vessels for the divine. For me, emptiness comes from the dissolving of the ego, when we get out of our own way and allow Grace to flow. I feel both empty and full when creating and performing.
I will continue this discussion next week with more information about my character Natamba, the being of liquid gold light featured in my new music video “I Am Light”, what it means to be a multi-dimensional co-creator, and how to choose soul food in your life.
Until next week, remember:
Love yourself.
Love others.
Love our world.
We are one Earth family.