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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Healing Power of Music

In time, probably, there will be schools of healing based on music, where patients will be taught how to center themselves in the harmonious Christ mind. The body will then respond, for it is mind, has its foundation in mind, lives in mind, and is moved upon by mind.” – Charles Fillmore

Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity, was a man of his time in many ways, yet a man ahead of his time in others. In the quote above, Fillmore postulates that music has healing power, a theory which modern neuroscience is now proving to be true. According to a paper published in Nature Neuroscience, a team of Montreal researchers discovered that music triggers the release of dopamine in the areas of the brain associated with the feeling of pleasure. Music has also been found to boost the immune system, lower stress and decrease the heart rate in cardiac patients. Additionally, researchers at Cal State University found that children who are hospitalized were happier during music therapy than during other play activities. This research shows that music affects the brain, and that the effect is most often a greater sense of happiness and emotional well-being.

Studies, such as the one conducted by Carnegie Mellon University Psychology Professor, Sheldon Cohen, show people who are happy, lively, calm or exhibit other positive emotions are less likely to become ill when they are exposed to a cold virus than those who report few of these emotions. There are many studies that show the correlation between emotions and physical health and healing.

It follows, that since music produces a neurological response in the brain which promotes the feeling of happiness and the feeling of happiness contributes to physical well-being, then music, whether directly or indirectly, contributes to physical as well as emotional health thereby proving that Charles Fillmore’s postulate was correct.

Fillmore also said, “The spirit of music is within all of us. When we have developed and brought it forth; when the quickening, harmonizing life has entered the physical, by the union of God with man, then we will realize that there is a power in us which will produce harmony. And harmony is health. Bring harmony into your life by singing and praising. Everybody should play and sing. We should rejoice in the divine harmony. We should sing songs of joy and of love and of peace and of the unity of the Spirit.”

There is currently a facebook page entitled “World Singing Day” which is the brainchild of Scott Johnson from Boulder, Colorado. His premise is simple; music has the power to heal and help join the world together in peace. His invitation is to join others from all over the world in a day of singing on Sunday, October 21. It involves no sponsorships, endorsements or commercialism, just a joining together of people in the joy of music and singing. We at Unity of Arlington are accepting his invitation and will participate during the 10:00 am service this Sunday. Join as we explore, through message and music, Charles Fillmore’s lessons on the power of music and singing. Come sing with us!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Presidential Election

It is now less than one month until the Presidential election. As is always the case, we're hearing all sorts of opinions about how best to address economic problems, provide adequate health care for everyone, and help bring peace to the world. Each of the candidates is telling us that he has the best plan, and that he is the candidate that will help America move forward. Of course, both think the other is "out of touch" with the reality of the current domestic and global situations. I am quite sure that each of them truly believes his plan is the best. With the help of many experts, each candidate has assessed the problems and developed strategies to solve them. Their platforms are important to the political process as we consider whom to elect to lead and guide the world's most powerful nation in difficult and challenging times.       

One personal danger any of us could easily encounter in the process of choosing a leader is slipping into a mindset of thinking that someone else is responsible for our well-being and they should do something to "save" us. Amazingly, every four years many vie for the title and answer the call to be that "savior" that many people seem to seek. Perhaps some candidates believe they really can personally solve the problems of the world through focused determination and sheer force of will. Despite some evidence to the contrary now and again, I prefer to hold the vision that, at least somewhere within them, they also remember they are asking to serve as dedicated public servants of the American people.

However, sadly - in my observation - neither the Republican nor the Democratic candidates has shown me that he is "in touch" with reality. Both seem to believe that they can tackle the perceived problems at the level of those problems and make lasting change. One would think that history would be proof enough of the falsity of that ideology. I recognize that each of them, in his effort to be elected, may be choosing to say and do what is expected and what seems to be acceptable to the American public. Again, sadly, I believe that each of them is a reflection of the current state of evolution in mass ("race") consciousness. In other words, enough American citizens have not yet evolved beyond focus on physical circumstances and intellectualized solutions.

We teach in the Unity movement that our life experiences are a reflection of our consciousness. In order to effect real change and move forward in our life experience, we must first make lasting change in our consciousness. A problem cannot be solved by trying to change the condition. There is one spiritual solution to every perceived problem - focused attention on the Truth. The Truth that expresses itself as you and me is the abundance and prosperity in the light of which no economic concern is a reality. The manifestation of Divine Life in and as our physical bodies is perfect health and vitality; when we realize that Truth, we will demonstrate it. Perfect Peace is the nature of the One as us, and when we surrender to that Consciousness there will be no more war. When we truly get "in touch" with our Truth our life experience will reflect it.

"For He will dwell with them, and they will be his people...and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more, mourning and crying and pain will be no more." - Rev. 21:3-4.

That is not a prophecy yet to be fulfilled: it is the current and only reality now. May we realize this Truth, and move forward co-creating a world in which all are cared for, supported, nurtured and valued, and a world in which peace prevails.