Biofonia - English text

From the book "Biofonia - The way to healing through sound"


Music and life

From the dawn of existence, sound and music have been companions to the human being in his adventure on this Earth. Music and Life have always walked together, from the day when man felt the need to produce sounds himself, with his voice or by beating pieces of wood, to affirm his presence in the world and establish a contact with his kind and with the vastness of the forces of nature. The echo of his own sound must have relieved the loneliness of that primordial being who walked his first steps in the kingdom of this world, bringing him nearer to the mystery of the stars that shine in the deep blue night. Later on, each civilization, each ethnic group -- large or small -- or culture created a specific form of sound and music to identify and harmonize itself, an instrument to celebrate its victories, mourn its defeats and to vibrate harmonically with both; to be able to voice fear and pain that "spice up" each life in some measure, as without them life would be somewhat insipid; to express the intensity of human love or "get wings" to ascend to the high skies of spirit. During my life, sound had and still has a great role in carrying me through various existential difficulties, offering relief space to the pressure of my "difficult" emotions like anger, frustration, loneliness and so on, especially during adolescence, and later on by giving me instruments and keys to decipher and research capable to spread light and meaning into my existence.

Even the much reviled "Rock" music must be acknowledged, in today's perspective, for a "therapeutic" function in my life, as it was able to give me strength, light and warmth when I badly needed them. In facts, the beating rhythm of drums, the electric bass, the sometimes solar roar of electric guitars in that high quality "Rock" of the 70s, have nourished in me the Vital (the Consciousness levels of the first three Chakras, corresponding to the levels of survival, emotions and personal power, according to Sri Aurobindo's terminology) and helped me to pump blood to those life horizons which seemed otherwise closed.

Discovering Indian music and Sitar, one full moon night in 1974 in Kabul, was for me a kind of homecoming to a musical universe which has become, since then, my main reference point and inspiration source, harmonizing and unifying mind and heart, poetry and mathematics, precision and improvisation. Other parallel paths like Yoga have opened my eyes to the possibility that music influence on the human soul is not casual, indicating the presence of a "secret" in the ancient Indian system of modal scales, the Ragas. I have pursued this hunch and hypothesis through research in India and elsewhere, by meeting researchers and masters in Sound like Vemu Mukunda, Frederick Leboyer, Tran Qiuam Hai and musicians like Pandit Shivnath Mishra, Budadittya Mukerjee and Tublu Bannerjee. Their views have been like life-giving juice for me, just like the inspired accompaniment of master H. Mitra. For me, Sound has been a parallel universe where I found shelter. However, living in the West in this historical period -- a difficult world, sorely lacking on the human and inner levels, almost exclusively thrilled by the ideas of organization, profit and technology -- we needed even Sound to "descend among us" to become an instrument of integration and inner growth, and not only a consolation for the human condition. One step after another, I have studied my life journey and recognized the sounds, the notes that walked with me along the way, and the reason why they did.

At that time I started to share the principles which emerged and confront them with the teachings of Nada Yoga, to search for a synthesis, to experiment on it with a group of people. I was greatly helped by master Vemu Mukunda, probably the first teacher who processed a system of music therapy based on the principles of Indian music suitable for the West. Music carries within itself an immense magic power, according to the ancient Greek its magic is greater than the magic of other arts, because music is "alive" and elusive in its frame composed of time rather than space. The present challenge is, more than anything else, the task of connecting music to other contexts as well: to consciously recognize the reasons of such "magic" and utilizing it also to the service of those who are not acquainted with musical techniques. Not only in a passive sense -- through listening -- but for the direct production of sounds as well, first and foremost by the voice, the body or musical instruments. Often times, the "class" of the musicians has been perceived as a sort of "Native American reservation" based on a technical expertise, from which non-experts feel cut out. I want to clarify here that I have no intention of diminishing the value of the study of musical techniques. I rather want to stress the importance of rediscovering music as inner energy for liberation, healing, and esoteric vision which can provide a guidance in approaching spirituality. So many of us have great musical spontaneity which is never discovered or sometimes has been discouraged by an early approach in childhood loaded with excessive technicality. The principle of singing for the Self, aimed at searching inner harmony rather than producing sounds for an external audience, has sometimes helped to manifest hidden talent in people who were not technically trained in music, but through Biophony have came to see music mainly as a path to inner harmony and to the opening of "transcendent" dimensions.

Music is pleasure and magic, and also healing

A great master in classical Indian music, Pandit Shivnath Mishra, was once asked what was the function of music. He answered that music carries us to peace and a state of meditation, gives freshness and light to the mind and connects us with the Divine. The enquirer objected by saying that it's not always possible, because often we are overwhelmed by non-harmonic emotions, mental disturbances and bad moods, which prevent us from reaching harmony. The Pandit answered that it is precisely through music that we can dissolve such disharmonies before attaining peace, and commented that Indian music was created especially as an instrument to act on emotions, to "heal" the mind's disharmony as a first step towards expanding the awareness levels. Then he concluded: " I am certainly not expecting to be in perfect harmony when I start playing, but I expect to be so during and after my performance. This harmony irradiates its effects into my life."

Music is pleasure:  with it, we experience the subtle happiness of dissolving inhibitions that obstructed the free flow of emotions. The body movements become free, too.

Music is the synesthesy magic allowing us to discover other dimensions in ourselves, through the alchemy produced by sounds on the energies within man. It calls out for the harmony of the universe, makes us remember the existence of such harmony -- indeed, as the natural state of existence of the human being.

Music is healing   because of its harmonizing action of the psyche. It's not -- and will never be -- a "pill" or "something" which acts instead of us and keeps us in a blissful lack of awareness, but rather it's an energy capable to guide us in a process through psycho-physical dissolution, intuitive understanding, liberation. Thank God it's not a pill, but that will be a lucky day when people will appreciate the wisdom of the saying "sing and you will feel better".

Recently healing music is reclaiming its space in the West, too, through rediscovery of musical sounds as a remedy to discomfort, where words cannot reach, where rational language or psychological approaches are not sufficient to reach the deepness of emotions and the wholeness of the being. 

Music, however, is not simply a remedy to discomfort, and its power comes from its ancestral connection with our essence, with that creative and evolutionary energy that is present  -- even if in a dormant state -- in every human being, and pushes him to realization.  For these reasons, because it is so powerful in releasing and processing emotions, and activating the actualizing force, the functions of music are a very important tool within the Counseling relationship  (Biofonia  is already utilized within Evolutionary Counseling)

According to an ancient Eastern example, the mind's disturbances are simply clouds covering and darkening our sky, while music is the ray of light that can pierce the clouds and reveal the sun above -- never ceasing to radiate its light and warmth even when we are not able to perceive them.

This is the true power of music energy: the power to evoke the original harmony of the being, perceivable through the ear and the other senses, up to the level of transcending the senses and creating the contact with the "sixth sense". This sinesthesic harmony is explained in Indian language as sound having the power of evoking the vibration of Consciousness, to create the connection with the essence, and brings us to understand that music can "also" be therapy, but it is not "merely" a remedy because, besides healing, it will also give wings to expand one's Consciousness levels up to contact with spirit. The term "Biofonia"  in facts wants to express this concept of utilizing music in order to harmonize, heal and elevate: therefore the final objective is not healing the person from an emotional disorder but rather elevating the vibrational frequency of the human being in order to bring it closer to the essential vibration of Consciousness. Certainly this does not imply the idea of belittling music's harmonizing and healing qualities (especially on the psychic and emotional platforms), also because it is clear that elevation necessarily travels through the dissolution of energy blocks causing discomfort. It simply amounts to recognizing the further expanse of the dimension of man, existence and sound, which is their expression, origin and symbol. Thus "Biofonia" means "Sound of Consciousness" or "music of Life Vibration." 

This path brings us to rediscover the value of music and sound -- on the multiple levels of aesthetics, psychology, esotericism and mysticism.

Music, therapy and Spirit

At this time in history, our Western society seems to be living a basic split in direction: on one side we see the exaltation of organizational mind and of all those logical/rational/distributional aspects that present their own development as their major contribution to civilization, on the other side there is a scream that has been echoing during the last twenty years, in this same society -- a voice demanding with variable and increasing intensity and clarity, "something different" which could probably be expressed in two words: therapy and Spirit. These two synthesize the fundamental need of recovering the "pieces" lost on the way in the effort of production, self assertion and organization. Another intensely perceived need is that of light, echo and harmony, something that transcends and overcomes patterns and scores "played" up till now by the vast human orchestra. The "hunger for therapies" which are more or less alternative, manifesting in such a large scale at present, probably expresses the need to heal the individual deeply, down to his soul, and not simply to fix pieces of a machine to be thrown again as soon as possible on the fast lane of competitive productivity. The need to attain balance through the integration of all those facets of existence that had been sliding off into the shadow of darkness, hurry, anxiety, cynicism, guilt, exteriority cult, need of belonging and matter as the only reality.

This "hunger for Spirit" indicates the need and intuition of a vaster dimension, a brighter and less ordinary dimension of the human being, through a research on Spirit that is more deeply felt and active and full of surprises than ever before and that can lead us to discover (or rediscover) high levels potentially existing in man. Such high levels enable him to identify himself as a more dignified and evolved being than what he can see in the mirror reflection of the contemporary world.

Music has always been an ally of the human spirit, with healing powers, capable to carry him to the highest peaks, and it probably has an important role in this transitional time. Someone already prophesied that music will have a fundamental role in future therapies. Certainly, the unifying language that is the characteristic of music is able to deeply harmonize the inner dissonances of the human spirit -- that cause physical problems and diseases -- and at the same time opening the doors of transcendence and spirit, provided that we are ready to connect again to the original DNA of the art of Sound and sounds, that elevated, ancestral and mystical dimension contained within music.

The most important inspiration in this work is from India, exactly because of her musical tradition, fundamentally mystical and therapeutic and not only creative, still extremely lively today and at the same time constituting the most ancient musical system ever developed in history. I feel in my heart a deep gratitude for this culture, so ancient and so modern, so unique and universal, that after 5000 years of history and in perfect continuity is still able, more than ever before, to give light and inspiration at the horizon of human evolution.

Music is universal

In this historical time, characterized by the crumbling of walls between ethnic groups (and building of new ones) and by the meeting, clash and mixing of different cultural matrixes, music is starting to emerge as an universal language, capable of facilitate meeting and communication, while verbal and conceptual languages tend to divide and emphasize the elements of dissonance and conflict. Music can represent, in its essence, an unifying language both among different men and peoples, and among the various inner components of each human being. This book is specifically focused on the second platform, the inner one, but it is also necessary to give sufficient importance to the great power of the Sound in harmonizing the clashes between the different human types, by calling individuals towards a centeredness of Consciousness, where everything is unity and diversity is nothing but the richness of a thousand ways of being and facing reality, the product of man's creativity. Often the songs of a particular country are appreciated in other nations as well, because it is not very important if we don't understand the words: it is the music, the rhythm, who speak directly to the heart, without any need of translation. In India it has been demonstrated that ethnic and religious conflicts have caused separation and clashes within the population, in increasingly worse situations from independence until now, but the circle of classical Indian music has remained aloof from such clashes, and it is not uncommon to hear Hindu and Muslim musicians play together. If we ask an Indian musician* what religion he belongs to, the most frequent answer will be that his real "religion" is music religion, a "religion" that will never incite to "crusades" against anyone, because it elevates the spirit directly to meeting transcendence, carrying man to a level of Consciousness where inside or outside there cannot be separation or conflict.

In the West and everywhere, the original sounds, instruments and music styles from a wide range of cultures are mixed more and more frequently, in Jazz, Rock, Pop, Folk and sometimes even in Classical music. Styles and instruments which in the past were known only within specific ethnic boundaries have now become well known all over the world. What should I say about my personal story -- an Italian musician who found his identity mainly in Indian Classical Music, developing his art and finding satisfaction in that field. Why not in Rock, Jazz, Blues or in the classical Western style? Apart from the meaning of all this for my inner journey, I believe that it's a sign of the times, marking a time in history where often "fruits fall far away from their tree". We see the growing phenomenon of musicians who find their path in cultural traditions in which they were not born: opera singers from China and Japan, Europeans who play African drums, Australian Didjeridoo and many other "ethnic" instruments, Flamenco players and dancers who do not belong to the Hispanic community, non-Irish players of Irish music and so on. This is a symptom of the universality of music, showing that music is capable of speaking to the heart even beyond the barriers of cultural conditionings and to be after all the song of the soul. Today we are constantly talking about "globalization": well, music can be acknowledged as the true ambassador of peace and mutual understanding between peoples, and can create a multicultural mentality that does not amount simply to being forced to live next to one another in a squalid common environment instead of staying "each one in the place where he belongs". Such multicultural society can become an Integrated Multiculture based on the exchange through knowledge and communication of the peculiar creative aspects of each culture, beyond all prejudice, and hence the opportunity to learn new ways of being and acting, different solutions for the problems of existence which were never tried before. In this regard, we must remember that the problems of existence are certainly not limited to mere economics, but rather include the social, psychological, emotional and spiritual levels of each human being. We need a multicultural approach favoring the opportunities and richness of diversity rather than the need of tolerating diversity as a nuisance, an approach that enables us to "enjoy" the creativity of cultures different from the one we were born in, that empowers us to integrate in ourselves those aspects which can fill the gaps of our own development.

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