Not long after 9/11, in a poem by Tony Kushner, a soul suddenly freed from its body that day floats up in an infinite space, surrounded by points of light. Realizing they are other souls, it begins asking questions. ‘Do you have music out here?’ it asks of one. ‘Out here,’ the other soul replies, ‘we are music.’
by Amy Blair
Music’s sounds can, almost miraculously, melt down highly defended ego boundaries, caressing frozen feelings back to life. Eventually, listening to music’s sounds opens doors of compassion towards ourselves and towards other beings – towards all of us enmeshed in the dance of human life.
The experience of music shifts our consciousness into an expanded awareness, where we unite with a cosmic rhythm pulsating in us. When this shift in consciousness takes place, we feel as if we’re being moved by a power, a something beyond ourselves. Music locks us into imagery, and its sounds can become the transformative powers for old ego-wounds to blossom forth into unexpected flowers.
Experience, feel, release, transcend.
Guided imagery, or guided meditation, is a well-known technique for exploring the inner workings of the unconscious and its universal symbolism, while you’re in a dreamlike state. A technique called Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) uses sequenced music programs that become a catalyst for images, feelings, sensations, and intuitions to arise from your unconscious.
As you interact with musical compositions, a trained facilitator assists you in going more deeply into issues. While on your inner journey, you will:
- Relax your body.
- Focus your attention.
- Listen to the music.
- Explore the imagery.
- Integrate the insights.
The language of the soul.
Elements of music – melody, harmony, tempo, rhythm, pitch, and tone color – can provide support, movement, and direction on a seeker’s journey, and can also encourage creative problem solving and healing. Being non-verbal, the language of music stimulates a shift to personal inner stories, and has the power to evoke a variety of deep emotional responses. (Think of a favorite song from your past, and see if it doesn’t take you back to that place and time.)
By contacting and reliving deeply stored material, distressing emotional reactions to your life experiences can have the potential to be changed, in a positive way.
At the conclusion of a GIM session, you’re encouraged to draw a mandala – a personal symbol revealing who you are at that moment. By drawing the mandala, your inner experience is able to express itself outwardly. Your journey flows, in a tangible way, from inner consciousness to outer understanding.
Guided Imagery and Music can be effective for people of all ages. Participants typically present some aspect of their life in which they’re feeling anxiety or frustration. As journeys continue, progress is made toward inner knowledge and understanding, creating freedom of action and the power to make decisions that emanate from secure inner control.
Amy Blair, M. Mus. and a Fellow in the Association for Music and Imagery, is an individual and group facilitator using the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music, created by Helen L. Bonny, Ph.D. Inspired by a mystical experience with music while playing the violin, Helen Bonny, noted music therapist and psychologist, felt called to bring other persons to the healing power of music.
In addition to her private practice, Amy Blair currently facilitates group sessions at Austin’s Human Potential Center. firstname.lastname@example.org.