As a mantra for inner peace and tranquillity, mindfulness and meditation are manifestations for all manner of personal and social anxiety and angst, enriching adherents with a more refreshed and relaxed mindset to cope with the rigours of modern life.
Experiencing some addled upheavals in my psyche during adolescence, I turned to music, an eclectic mix of classical, rock, folk, jazz and that of a religious nature, to help clarify my aspirations and goals, if not too, my real sense of self.
At home with my mother playing records of Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, I revelled in the music as joyous and restful beauty. Taking me to MSO concerts, at nine she suggested piano lessons, learning for six years and practising daily to master the keys. We also attended the opera to hear the brilliant soprano of Dame Joan Sutherland
Listening to classical music was incredibly beneficial to my mental wellbeing, engendering a less frazzled frame of mind and enhanced emotional equilibrium.
In my early teens, Pink Floyd and raunchy pop rocked into my life, along with jazz and blues, swinging to their upbeat sounds with carefree abandon. My moods could change so quickly depending on the music I embraced.
First hearing the poignant and soulful echoes of the Shofar in the synagogue on the eve of the Day of Atonement in childhood, at 19 visiting Israel, I was inspired by the hymn Jerusalem The Golden and the national anthem, Hatikvah (Hope). Sung in Hebrew, they were soothing songs for solemn spirituality, understanding one didn’t have to be religious to rapture over music of a holy nature.
In London later, I was enthralled by Handel’s Messiah on Christmas Eve, a majestic and marvellous musical feast with its magical choral voices and orchestral backdrop. After, there was Bach’s St Matthew Passion, a hauntingly melodic and moving oratorio.
Tuning in to other countries music, my ears were enlivened by Theodorakis and his Greek genius, with Spanish, French and Russian musicians enlightening my enjoyment too, as well as relating to the psychological perspective of Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan and Carole King, among others. Pavarotti also sits on my CD shelf, alongside the unique instrumentals of indigenous music.
Over my life, my musical faith has fostered great pleasure at different times for different reasons in different contexts.
While the classics offer opportunity for creative and contemplative reflection, the profound insights of musical lyricists provide reassurance and as background, music deflects the drudgery of domesticity and complements dinner conversation without dissension.
My psyche still finds peace in music.