Music is a time machine. Isn’t it amazing that we all tend to develop our own independent tastes in music at more or less the same age? There’s a strong consensus among psychologists and neurologists that, around age 14, we tend to reach out beyond the musical tastes we’ve inherited from our family of origin and establish our own. This is fascinating!
The age at which we form our independent musical tastes is also the beginning of a time of great sturm und drang in human development: emotions are greatly heightened, and feelings become more powerful than at any time prior. Our connections to friends and love interests are also incredibly powerful from age 14 through late adolescence (early 20s). As middle aged and older adults, just hearing the soundtrack of that period of our lives can put us back in that magical period in a heartbeat. Add olfactory stimuli, our most ancient sense, and the time machine is enhanced even further. The waft of a fragrance can cause us to recall events, feelings and connections long forgotten. One feels a bittersweet recollection, a poignant pain laced with pleasure. It’s magical.
I’ve found that playlists of the more mellow songs of my youth provide an excellent backdrop to yoga and meditation. The practice is enhanced by powerful emotional connection, and feelings of familiarity, safety and contentment. An excellent elixir indeed!
Music is a universal human preoccupation; everyone has his or her favorite. What’s yours? Have you tried augmenting your spiritual practice with a carefully chosen musical soundtrack? If not, I highly recommend it!