The Frequency of Music for Healing, Expression of Emotion and As a Crutch
Healing Sound vs Destructive Sound
Have you ever pulled up at a stoplight, next to someone with their music turned so loud that you could literally feel it vibrating in your car? And was that music aggressive and did it feel disruptive to your field?
This has been my experience more than once. I want to go to the person in the car and ask if they realize they are causing chaos all around them, energetically.
Or perhaps you feel comforted by the sound, and start singing along?
That has been my experience too, at different times in my life, mostly when I was a LOT younger and a lot more in pain.
I probably once really “got” why I liked aggressive, even violent sounding music but had forgotten why until I saw a movie recently, called Reign on me.
In this movie, Adam Sandler plays a man whose life has been demolished by tragedy. We, as the audience, do not really know what the tragedy was at first but, whatever it was, it leveled his life completely, to the point that he is not able to function in the world.
Adam’s character always has these headphones hanging around his neck and whenever he becomes stressed, he puts them on and turns up the volume. We, as the audience, do not hear the music at first. When we finally do, we hear a paradox. The words are about love reigning down on a person but the sound is like murder, or death or screaming pain.
The pivotal scene occurs in the courtroom, where this man’s family is trying to get him committed for mental health evaluation. He is forced to relive the tragedy that we realize, at last, resulted in the death of his wife and daughter. At the moment that the pain of this becomes unbearable for him, a friend hands him his headset in the courtroom, he puts it on once more and cranks up the volume.
As his pain and resistance to remembering increases, we hear him begin to hum along with the song and finally, he begins to scream….this horrible gut-wrenching yet powerfully transformative sound that erupts, riding along the wave and rhythm of the song. In the body of this broken man, this father who has lost everything, there arises a rage and an expression that will not be denied; an expression that propels him toward his own healing in that moment.
In that moment I realized why he chose that song. It touched the untouchable for him; it helped him take the edge off a rage and hurt so big that he could not bear it otherwise. It released the scream he could not, until that moment, release for himself.
If you’ve never heard the song, Love Reign On Me, it starts out like love so often starts out – gentle, sweet, tender. You have to get toward the end of it to hear the scream I’m referring to, the one that releases something that doesn’t feel like love at all, not at all. At the time I posted this, someone had an mp3 of the song here: Love Reign On Me
This film caused me to embrace more tolerance when life pulls me up next to someone who needs that frequency. Who knows what the music is taking the edge off of, for them. As a side note, Adam Sandler absolutely channeled the grief of every man who has ever lost a child; every man who has ever lost a wife.
It reminded me once more of the noble potential of performance art to help illuminate, release and offer healing. It reminded me of another healing scream I experienced on television.
Side note as an actor: It also reminded me of how many elements have to come together for a powerful film to result. The music chosen, that particular song, gave Adam Sandler what he needed. The movie would not have been as powerful when the music bled out of his mouth and the headphones if it it hadn’t been “Love Reign on me” that we heard in the audience.
As actors, I pray more artists will insist on movies that allow for the transformation of grief, hurt and rage. There is such a powerful difference between films that wallow in pain and those who illuminate the indomitable Spirit, even in times of great pain.
Important: As healing and transformative as music can be, it can be equally enabling and destructive if it is used to numb expression to the point that we never address the pain that is underneath the need for vibrational blanketing.
My criteria personally is this: If listening to music that addresses my own pain helps me facilitate the release of that pain, then the frequency of music has been accessed in a positive way. If, instead, I use the frequency of music to wallow myself down into my pain body and continue to choose suffering, then I have misused the medicine.