What is it about music that attracts us? Perhaps what we hear resonates deeply within our nervous system. In fact, while we listen to music, so much of the brain is activated – not only the temporal lobe, known for its role in sound recognition and processing, but other cortical areas involved in planning and executing movements of our body, areas involved in empathy and emotion, and curiously, areas involved in the production of language.
See this recent New York Times article for a more in-depth analysis – “To Tug Hearts, Music First Must Tickle the Neurons”
What really gives life to music and moves us so, and is reflected in a more global activation of our brain, is the ability of music to work on the deepest level of our emotions, this subtle aspect of the mind, at the door of the ground state of our consciousness. It could be said that the more music resonates with deeper levels of thought and emotion, the more we are moved by and attracted to it. To resonate with deeper levels of the mind, music must reflect the structure of the infinite field that gives rise to the activity of the mind.
To whatever extent music reflects that absolute level of life, we are drawn to it, much as we are drawn to the bliss that characterizes the state of pure awareness as we settle down during the Transcendental Meditation technique. Bliss is the attraction, whether we glimpse it in visual or performing arts, music, the written or spoken word, science or mathematics, or in athletic perfection. It is always the same bliss, the essence of the unified field underlying existence, always calling to us, and it is the nature of the mind to ceaselessly seek it out.
Dr. Gary Kaplan is a neurologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Hofstra University School of Medicine. Dr. Kaplan received the Albert H. Douglas Award from the Medical Society of the State of New York for outstanding achievements as a clinical teacher interested in promoting and improving the medical education of physicians. He is also a nationally recognized expert on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on stress-related illnesses, and he appears regularly on CNN, NBC and CNBC and other national television programs speaking about the latest research on Transcendental Meditation and its effects on health.