Sound, Music & The Art of Self Discovery
by Marnie Jones, September, 1994
Diane's studio was in a nearly empty beige office building. In contrast, her walls were lavender and everywhere crystal clusters caught the soft light, a mixture of dim office flourescents and candles. Diane was an energetic redhead in her mid-thirties. I had met her at Unity Church the Sunday before and decided to get a massage.
As I relaxed on her table, she told me she worked with spirit guides and that "Tajmoo" had come to assist. He had never attended a session before and suggested that I sing my way through my massage. I didn't have any idea what singing through a massage meant, but as Diane expertly discovered my tight places, she would say, "sing that tone, see that color". I discovered to my great surprise that somehow I knew which tones and colors to sing and see! The blocks melted easily, much more gently and powerfully than if Diane had just kneaded them away.
Thus, in 1984, my self-discovery through sound and music had its start. A year or two later, I visited Mexico on vacation. After days of dysentery, which featured hallucinations involving virginal sacrifice, I went to Tulum, a city in ruins on a beautiful green site overlooking the sea. It felt like home and was a great relief after the sacrificial scull art of Chichen-Itza. I walked up to a temple with a crude bamboo door and was moved to sing a particular note. My crown opened so dramatically that the tops of both my ears tingled. Did the ancients who constructed this temple have some esoteric understanding of tone, architectural acoustics and the human spirit? Had I been part of that culture and somehow kept an unconscious knowledge from that time? I may never know for sure.
As a result of my work with Diane, Tajmoo encouraged us to meet with other musicians interested in healing with sound. Four to six musicians met several times. Diane would go into trance and various guides would come in and speak to us about knowledge we once had from ancient China related to music and the elements and the music of the spheres. And to her great chagrin and disbelief, the guides would sing Diane's voice. LOUDLY! This and other sonic medicine was doled out. We were to play certain notes for our own healing. But, it was like trying to remember to take your vitamins. Soon, the group disbanded.
About two years after I met Diane, I started playing the harp, and shortly after that, I found that I could intuit music for individuals. Some people's energy would virtually shout a key at me and then seemed to drink the notes right out of the air. I would play to enhance creativity, heal old pains, touch the inner child and reconnect them with a personal sense of heaven. Recently, I have found that the music can help to heal the painful cultural cramping an immigrant feels at having to fit into mainstream American society. Each musical "reading" has unique flavors, and often I discover new musical combinations to play. A typical response for the client is to want to cry.
For about a year, I was a member of a Sunday afternoon support group. One day, the leader came in with a painfully stiff neck. I put my hands on her neck and head to give her Reiki, and then with her permission, I sang a particular tone for a second or two. The stress in her neck went up and out her head. She and I both felt it leave and it was completely gone!
Another highlight in my self-learning through music was during the fourth month of my pregnancy at age 42. I was at a Don Campbell workshop. He played several poignant pieces of music for us to move to, and during a cello piece, I started to cry. I felt the pain of a lack of bonding with my own mother! It was a wrenching, despairing cry, which this music seemed to visit upon me in unrelenting fashion. In the release of this pain, I felt I reacquired the ability to bond and spared my baby a similar agony.
Later, during labor, I found myself at an emotional impasse. I didn't feel ready for motherhood. A piece from my first harp record seemed to hold the answer for me. In the recording of this piece, I had felt the presence of the divine mother. After listening to it on repeat for about twenty minutes, I felt myself welcomed into a sisterhood of spiritual mothers. In this divine company, I was ready to proceed with the birth. A few deeply intuited tones helped my labor pains!
Sound and music offer us humans an apparently infinite range of possibilities for self-discovery. I once came up with an award-winning bumper sticker slogan for a songwriters association: "Compose yourself; write a song". When we allow the creative process to move us, we can find just what we need to be inspired, to be awoken, to be healed. Sometimes, in inviting others to intuit out their own sonic tonics, I get to hear and see amazing new possibilities I haven't thought of. Other insights come from interactions with the sonic environment, like the temple. Often, it takes a reverent faith and an invitation for higher beings, guides, angels or God to bring us what we need in healing, guidance and inspiration. If we are alert, even the simplest song can give us an answer. If we are willing to live in our own mystery, to "sing our own song" as we write it, music and sound can lead us on a magnificent journey of self discovery.