We are Music: Musing with the 4th Chakra

BeSoul image

Rhythm and melody. Can you feel them in your body right now? Can you find your pulse or the beat of your heart? Can you feel your breath moving in and out of your body? Can you sense the pauses, the rests, in between the inhale and the exhale? Can you find the place where these two blend? Close your eyes and tune in. Can you feel the space inside your chest as you fill your body with breath, the heart dancing its rhythmic beat in between? Now listen. Can you hear the music?

The first time I hiked the White Mountain Range in NH, I hiked up Mt. Washington. It is tall, over 6,000 ft in elevation. I was with my  husband. He was slightly ahead of me and we were on the final ascent. The peak loomed above us. So close and yet so far. And I began hearing music. But we were basically alone, I thought maybe Chad had his ipod on super loud, but no, no ipod. I had a moment of wondering if someone was playing music either up or down mountain from us. But, no. It was a weekday and we were alone. It sounded like house music. Same tempo and seemed to fade from straight house to a disco tempo at times. I dug it. And then it came to me. I was listening to my own heart, the rhythm ebbing and flowing with my breath and the changing terrain! It was me, my body making the music and I was hearing it form the inside out.

Entering this week with the 4th chakra, the Heart Center, brought me back to this place of listening. Calling this center the Heart Center is a bit deceptive. Yes, the heart is here, but so are the lungs. Both are organs that take in and send out, cyclically balancing the oxygen in our lifeblood, feeding and clearing… in an everlasting dance of time and space. Until of course, our bodies stop this dance and then we have death.

In the book, “This is Your Brain on Music”, Daniel Levitin posits that, ” ancient music’s character accounts for why so many of us are literally  moved by rhythm; by almost all accounts the music of our distant ancestors was heavily rhythmic. Rhythm stirs our bodies. Tonality and melody stir our brains. The coming together of rhythm and melody bridges our cerebellum (the motor control, primitive little brain) and our cerebral cortex (the most evolved, most human part of the brain). This is how Ravel’s Bolero, Charlie Parker’s Koko, or the Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Woman inspire us to and move us, both metaphorically and physically, exquisite unions of time and melodic space”.(1)

The bridge. The 4th Chakra is known as the bridge chakra between the lower and higher energies. Below we have the earthy 1-3, above the heavenly 5-7. The lower chakras respond to rhythm… the matter that happens in time. The upper chakras respond to melody,.. the movement that happens in space. In the body, the unity of the heart, an organ of time… keeping our beat, and our lungs blending inner and outer space. We literally fill ourselves and the fill the space around us is the bridge where our animal and our divine selves meet.

The Heart Center is also where where our arms reach out to touch and create, to express and to hold the relationships between the above and below, the inner and the outer worlds.  “From arm to arm, we have lateral balance that crosses the heart chakra… Here we see that our right and left sides, masculine and feminine, receptive and aggressive aspects are balance too.” (2)

Watch a conductor. Supposedly the brains of orchestra conductors are the most highly developed and balanced of any profession. They are not making music, per se, but they are making music with the orchestra. The conductor keeps everyone on the beat, reminds them when they need to come in and out, and models the melody. ” For orchestra musicians, synchronized playing under a conductor’s direction is necessary to achieve optimal performance.”  (3) I believe that the heart and lungs are the conductor of our bodies and souls in this same way.  This does not make the Heart Center the most important center. The conductor could not do their job without willing and talented musicians.  However, those musicians must surrender themselves to the greater whole and trust in the conductors guidance in order to make beautiful music, and in the case of the body, thrive.

The 4th Chakra, the Heart Center is also known as the Seat of the Soul.  This center can feel like such a vulnerable place. When the feelings of the lower chakras are not being expressed into the awareness of the upper chakras, the heart can suffer. When I do not know myself by heart, I literally feel lost. I reach out for the world to tell me what to do, what is right and wrong. When I listen to my heart (and I mean literally listen – go back to the first paragraph) I can hold my awareness in time, balancing body and mind. This simple act of listening can solve so much of what ails my heart. Sometimes tears arise, sometimes insight I had been seeking, sometimes a desire to act that had been alluding me.

The Heart Center is also the place of connection between us. Between you and me and all the other hearts that surround us. I cannot listen to your heart if I am not listening to mine. How I conduct myself around others is dependent on how I conduct myself with my own inner life. I must listen to my inner symphony in order to know the difference between you and me and also to be able to resonate with you. The dance between us is much better when we are in sync.

How many songs are about the heart! Following the heart, broken hearts, hearts throbbing, hearts beating as one. You can probably come up with 10 songs that you know really well right now that feature the heart. Many songs also feature the breath. And the Soul. Listen.

Here are the lyrics to Sting’s Let the Soul Be Your Pilot. Enjoy!

When you’re down and they’re counting
When your secrets all found out
When your troubles take to mounting
When the map you have leads you to doubt
When there’s no information
And the compass turns to nowhere that you know well
Let your soul be your pilot
Let your soul guide you
He’ll guide you well
When the doctors failed to heal you
When no medicine chest can make you well
When no counsel leads to comfort
When there are no more lies they can tell
No more useless information
And the compass spins
The compass spins between heaven and hell
Let your soul be your pilot
Let your soul guide you
He’ll guide you well
And your eyes turn towards the window pane
To the lights upon the hill
The distance seems so strange to you now
The dark room seems so still
Let your pain be my sorrow
Let your tears be my tears too
Let your courage be my model
That the north you find will be true
When there’s no more useless information
And the compass turns to nowhere
That you know well
Let your soul be your pilot
Let your soul guide you
Let your soul guide you
Let your soul guide you
Upon your way


(1) This is Your Brain on Music, Daniel Levitin P.262

(2) Wheels of Life, Anodea Judith P.223

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4382975/

One thought on “We are Music: Musing with the 4th Chakra

  1. This post is absolutely beautiful, Maria. Music sooths the soul, and it can break our heart. Sometimes when I dance to the music you play in class, I start to cry. Not because I’m sad, but because the music seeps in and tells me things I didn’t know about myself. And about the world.
    I’m going to re-read your post many times. May we all feel the beat of our souls, our rhythmic ancestry, our sense of 4th chakra-ness.

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