The Power of Sound: And How it Can Heal Families

Water exposed to the word Ubuntu: Zulu for human kindness.

Water exposed to the word Ubuntu: Zulu for human kindness.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Remember that little saying? Well, I just don’t buy it. I’d rather break my arm any day than to go through another episode of raw, explosive, uncontrolled anger. Why am I talking about this? Well, recently I overheard a parent yelling at his children. I became suddenly overwhelmed. My heart raced, tears sprang to my eyes and a deep, sinking, sick feeling overcame my body. The child had not done something right. Whatever he didn’t do, clearly didn’t merit this explosive, uncontrolled reaction. Nothing. Ever. Does. Intellectually, I’d guess that most of us agree. But this type of situation doesn’t stem from making a rational choice for peace. It is something that explodes, out of control, like a monster that breaks free in the heat of the moment  This dad screamed at the top of his lungs with such hatred that all I wanted to do was grab this child, hug him and tell him that it wasn’t his fault. Well, maybe he didn’t do something right, but he didn’t deserve to have his soul crushed or to feel unlovable, to feel worthless. I’ve experienced a few outbursts like this in my lifetime from abusive people who at their core, are kind, scared children who have been abused in the past—just reacting like their parents did.  It’s always a surprising flash that catches a child completely by surprise. Uncontrollable anger is terrifying. And when it ends, that angry person may act as if it never happened, but the effects on the target of rage lingers for weeks, sometimes years. It’s as if the words, and vibration of hatred, wounds in a physical way, to those unseen places—on a cellular level.

My hunch is on the mark. Now there’s scientific proof that sound heals—or kills. A few years ago I discovered Dr. Masaru Emoto a Japanese scientist, who played classical music and folk songs through speakers placed near water. He later experimented with heavy metal music as well as words of hatred taped to the sides of glass with water. He would then freeze the water to make crystals which he would then compare with crystalline structures of different samples.

watersick

When different musical pieces were exposed to the water sample, it formed unique beautiful geometric crystals. If he then played heavy metal music or taped words such as demon, Hitler, or “you make me sick” to the side of the glass, the crystal basic shape would break apart.

One of my absolute favorites is how the water responded to John Lennon’s song “Imagine”:

Water exposed to John Lennon's song Imagine.

Water exposed to John Lennon’s song Imagine.

Since our bodies are approximately 60 % water, it’s hard to argue that words and anger doesn’t hurt us physically as well as emotionally and spiritually. Dr. Oz recently did a show about uncontrolled anger that proved how it also hurts the person who can’t control their outbursts. A working mom of 5 children kept finding moments of road rage, of “being set-off” over little things. (To see a clip of this show, click HERE.) It was shown that she had no “me-time,” little sleep, lack of help and was basically a ticking time bomb. Her heart would race, her blood pressure would soar and she’d explode. Later, she’d be overwhelmed by guilt and communication broke down, making it impossible to teach life lessons, or help her children navigate mistakes or choices. It was compelling, as the woman was bravely honest and I’m sure she helped many parents as the person who has outbursts isn’t necessarily evil. He or she needs help. Dr. Oz suggested more sleep, exercise, carving out one hour a day for me time. YES. (And I’d say YOGA!! My life has changed forever because of it…)

And I’d also suggest introducing music. Let sound heal. We know that anger and outbursts hurt, so use sound to your advantage. Play music all the time in the house and in the car. Tune into frequencies of love, joy, silliness, beauty through music. Mix it up. Country, Reggae, Pop, Classical, Folk, it’s all good. And if you have the ability to let your children learn how to play an instrument, even better. I stumbled upon this TED X video called “This is Your Brain on Music”. Wow, so powerful. It showed how all areas of the brain, including joy, light up when playing music. Many light up when listening, but almost ALL areas of the brain— from problem solving, to logic and critical thinking—light up when playing music. Check it out: This is Your Brain on Music: 

We all have the ability to lower our stress, let go of unresolved anger, soften our voices, raise our vibrations—no matter where we’ve come from. Last Valentine’s Day I wrote an article about finding a Vibration of Love.  I had just been exploring sound and vibration and had read some of Dr. Emoto’s books. I recall thinking instead of looking for love outside of ourselves, create it inside and let it flow with every soft, compassionate sound voiced to friends, to our children, our loved ones. This sound heals and attracts those on a similar frequency. Clearly, we aren’t perfect and don’t behave in a zen way ALL the time. But we can become more aware, take care of ourselves, limit our triggers and alcohol, apologize when necessary, rebound, begin again…I’ll leave you with a simple line from that Valentine’s Day article I wrote last year, that seemed to resonate truth:

“I’ve come to believe that sustained love lies in the subtlety of how we speak to one another—much more than what we actually say. It’s about speaking kindly and respectfully, at all times, even when voicing concerns. I’ve always loved the James Taylor lyric: “It isn’t what she’s got to say, or how she thinks or where she’s been. To me the words are nice the way they sound.”

~ With Peace,

L.

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2 responses to “The Power of Sound: And How it Can Heal Families

  1. manette jen mcdermott

    You are such an inspiration, Laura. Thank you for this absolutely remarkable piece – I love your quote from James Taylor. I, too, strongly believe in the healing power of music – thank you for sharing!

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