Finding Inner Peace Through Meditation Music
© 2021 Steven Halpern
As I review the first 74 years of my life, it’s become increasingly clear that I’ve been a spiritual seeker all my life, even before I had the vocabulary to articulate it. To paraphrase Reba McEntire, who was “Country before Country was cool”, I was “New Age’ before New Age was cool.
I came of age in the mid-60s, perfectly placed at one of the centers of higher consciousness of that era, at the Universe-City of Buffalo. I studied with master poets and musicians, and read all the spiritual books I could find.
My primary mode to access that state has always been riding the soundwaves, first as a trumpet player getting deep into jazz improvisation, and then as a sound healer, exploring the sacred space and silence ‘between the notes’ of the audible music.
Growing Up ‘Sound-sitive’
I came into this life highly sensitive to sounds of all kinds, which is a mixed blessing. At 9 years old, it meant that I complained to my parents that the sound of the rumbling refrigerator in our tiny kitchen was hurting my stomach, causing discomfort, indigestion and gas. My Dad said, “It doesn’t bother me, so it can’t bother you. Shut up and eat your peas.”
It meant that I could hear a ticking clock across the room at my professor’s home and complain that it was irritating and interfering with my breathing.
I was never invited back.
But it also provided the sensitivity which allows me to tune in to ‘the silence and the space between the notes’ that I physically play when I discovered how to channel music while sitting at the piano.
In so doing, I align with the quantum field, and enter a mindful state of being totally in the moment. When I am at the keyboard in the studio, there is no past or future, there is only the Now. In order to record the music that I do, I must be in a balanced, peaceful state of mind. As they say, ‘you can’t fake sincerity’. With healing music, it’s not just the notes, but the energy that comes through that really matters.
With my artform, I have always been inspired by ancient Chinese painters who instructed, ‘Invoke ch’i or do not paint.’
Music as Vehicle, Music as Portal
How did I discover how to do this? The music ‘came’ to me. It ‘arrived’ during a life-changing meditation. It was not, however, out of the blue.
You, too, can find inner peace on the wings of meditation music. More on that shortly.
In November 1969, I was studying cross-cultural expressions of music for healing and higher consciousness, and playing trumpet in an 8 piece jazz rock band in Buffalo. During summers after junior and senior semester, I would practice up to 8 hours a day, learning all the scales and chord progressions.
Inspired by the music and philosophy of John Coltrane, Gurdjieff and Sufi Master Hazrat Inayat Khan, I also learned about ancient traditions of sound healing in the East and West. (Of course, there were NO recordings of Pythagoras jamming on his lyre in 6th Century BC Greece.)
I owned a few albums that took me to peaceful places, but they were Indian raga and Zen flute music. They sounded too ‘foreign’ to most people, though. Why wasn’t there a modern form of meditation and healing music for us in the West?
I prayed to hear what healing music would sound like in the mid-20th century.
The answer came to me in a spontaneous, deep meditation in a sacred redwood grove in the hills above Santa Cruz, CA in November 1969. It was the first time I ever heard angelic ‘music’ inside my head, and one of the only times I’ve heard a voice speaking to me. It said, “This is the music you have been praying to hear. Now, your mission is to share it with the world.”
Two hours earlier, I had been mistaken for a job applicant at a leading human potential institute. I was invited to audition for the vacant staff position in a few hours. When I went to the meeting room, I did not find anyone.
What I did find, though, was a wonderful old upright grand piano. Although I had never formally studied piano, I could play simple blues and rock riffs. This time, however, as soon as my fingers touched the keys, I went into a light trance, and became ‘one’ with the music. (Beginning in 1965, I had experienced ‘going on automatic’ a few times, playing trumpet in a high-intensity John Coltrane-inspired jazz group.)
Playing this soulful piano, I could hear symphonies of ethereal overtones as I played poly-quartal harmonies. I was instantly transported to an exquisite place of light and love, in the space, and silence, between the notes that I physically played. I felt like I was levitating. After about ten minutes, I heard some rustling in the room. It was the staff.
“Who are you, and how did you learn to play like that?”
Their feedback let me know something special had just occurred. They all felt it.
Thus began my new life in California, guided by many cosmic coincidences and synchronicities that connected me with research scientists who proved that my original music balanced the brainwaves and the human biofield (aura) better than any classical, pop or jazz music tested.
Tuning In to Inner Peace
Listening to my recordings orchestrates high coherence alpha and theta brainwaves, and balances the human biofield, at the speed of sound. As you listen:
1. Take a deep breath. Stop multi-tasking. Allow yourself to fully focus on the music, with attention and intention.
2. Stop ‘thinking’ about what you are hearing, as you were taught in ‘music appreciation’ class. Thinking involves the left hemisphere of your brain, and is involved with intellectually analyzing the structure of the composition, and the direction of the melody.
l call this the “Scalus Interruptus Syndrome”, the ‘paralysis of analysis’ that keeps you locked into anticipating Future Moments, where the music will go.
That is the complete opposite of what you need in order to be in a mindful state of awareness of the Present Moment…in the Here (Hear) and Now.
You see, relaxation, and inner peace, only happen in the present moment, not the future.
I am in this mindful state when I am at the keyboard composing/channeling/recording every one of my major albums. I set my intention to bring through the highest and best audible vibrations to open the heart and uplift the soul.
For me, if music is too fast, or busy, (“too many notes,” as the Emperor said to Mozart), it gets in the way of accessing the inner silence.
Listening to the recommended albums listed below make it easy to listen mindfully. Some of them also include brainwave entrainment tones to enhance your experience of inner peace, at the speed of sound. That’s why my record label is Inner Peace Music—people said that’s how the music made them feel.