Angel Moments: Music as Meditation… Or is it?

I had planned to write a blog post on a completely different topic tonight. Actually, I’d planned on writing it last night, but a completely random video shared with me through social media completely affected me in such a way that the blog post and what I had to say before that moment just didn’t matter anymore. As of tonight, I’ve probably watched (listened to, really) the video at least 15 times. I’ve had these feelings several times before. It has been a while, but I’m recognizing it and the familiar feeling is coming back to me. My mind is so clear now… and so something else is clear to me as well… the fact that these feelings need to be my blog post. At first I thought “Well this is the music part of me… how will I play this off in a paranormal/spiritual blog?” Then in that clear and focused space in my head, I realized it did indeed fit. I promise you I’m not high. Okay follow me. 

 

Me... about a decade ago, trying for one of those "angel moments".

Me… about a decade ago, trying for one of those “angel moments”.

Many of you know that outside of my many nerdly hobbies, I’m also a music teacher and choir director. Growing up, music played a massive part in creating who I am today. Some of my earliest memories include powerful musical experiences… some from church, some from home, and some from theatrical performances. I’ve actually written about a few of these in one of my earliest blog posts. I often wonder, for example, what my parents must have thought about those moments when I listened to the same track from certain orchestral film scores over and over… picturing a story in my head (not necessarily the one from the movie) and crying from the emotion of the music. Rewind. Listen to it again. Cry. Rewind. Listen again. My students know these as “angel moments”… and even though they don’t happen often, they know when they got me. They cheer and exclaim things like “Mr. Keller! We just had an angel moment!” Yes we did… and Thank God for those moments when they happen. 

I’m sure you’ve had these angel moments… though perhaps it doesn’t involve music for everyone. Can anyone really explain what’s happening during these powerful experiences? I’m not sure I can. In fact, in the case of tonight and last night, it’s like my mind and brain checked out and I just felt and experienced. Then sometimes it’s like an obsession. For example, I’m fighting the need to stop typing to replay it again right now. I’d LOVE to know what the brain activity of an angel moment looks like. I’m sure there’s research out there. 

So my question is: Is this a form of meditation? Is it meditation if I’m focusing so deeply on what I’m hearing and how it makes me feel? Am I in some sort of trance state? As I said in the first paragraph, after listening a few times and having those angel moments, my mind is super clear, giving me the ability to do things like freely write this blog post. (Writing doesn’t always come easy for me. When I’m inspired I have to run with it.)

I have many examples I could give of times when music affected me like this. Unfortunately, most of these experiences can’t be found on YouTube or iTunes… and it probably wouldn’t have the same meaning or bring up the same emotions for everybody. But you’ve got to listen to this amazing a cappella performance of this obviously talented and genius young man. It’s linked at the end of the post. The fact that people are able to do these things just blows my mind. 

Before someone tells me I’m not meditating if I’m listening to and processing words, I have to explain something. It is very unusual in my profession as a choir director, and many people don’t understand this and disagree with my opinion on it, but I do not often “hear” lyrics or words in music. Words don’t even have much value in my ability to perform, enjoy, or hear the “story” in a piece of music. My story might just be different from yours. So yes, the hymn below obviously has a Christian message, but I promise you it’s the sounds and the intense harmonies that I hear. It’s the emotion and the drama. As someone who has fond and nostalgic memories of the music growing up in the church (and the music would be one of few positive experiences from those days), it’s also a very familiar melody to me. But seriously, the entire song might as well be sung as an “ooh” or on a “la” as far as I’m concerned. Now I know this is not typical, so in my field I have to constantly remind myself that most people, including my students, place a large value on the words and what the lyrics mean to them. It also means I suck at the lyrics to my favorite songs. Yeah… I’m one of those people.

 

One of my favorite quotes: 

“Music is what feelings sound like.”

– Unknown

 

Listen to the hymn HERE

 

So what do you think? Are angel moments a form of meditation? Is it something else? Do you have any of your own moments to share? (I’m also curious… can you hear this without the words? And if so, do you get the same angel moments?)

 

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About Patrick Keller

Patrick Keller is an educator, blogger, and the host of the Big Séance Podcast, which is a place for paranerds to have an open discussion on all things paranormal, but specifically topics like ghosts and hauntings, paranormal research, spirit communication, psychics and mediums, and life after death. He’s the founder of the now inactive Missouri Spirit Seekers and has spent a lot of time experimenting with spirit communication tools and techniques, such as EVP. Patrick also has a passion for spending hours at a time in cemeteries and loves cemetery photography. Visit BigSeance.com! View all posts by Patrick Keller

24 responses to “Angel Moments: Music as Meditation… Or is it?

  • notsofancynancy

    Since music is a vibration and everything has a vibration (i.e. energy) I have to believe it is a time when your vibration and that of the song are on the same or matching vibrations???? Meditating is what I do to relax my body. But I also use music to get me to that plane. I know that feeling though. Big and Rich’s 8th of November does it for me but without the words it would not have as much meaning. Whoa I don’t know if that helped at all I am more confused than ever!

  • davidprosser

    That’s obviously a very talented young man.
    I’m not in the least religious but I find I have an affinity with certain hymns and carols. I say certain because others don’t move me at all. In some I thought it must be the words To Be A Pilgrim springs to mind as does Silent Night but these days I’m not so sure.When Pavarotti sung the last part of Nessun Dorma in Italian I understood not a word and yet the hairs on the back of my neck rose. Maybe as ‘Nancy’ suggests it’s something to do with vibrations though I doubt tat as it would not be possible to be tuned in as required each time I heard it unless the music itself could cause it.
    Songs associated with moments of great emotion. ‘Jerusalem’ on the Last Night of the Proms can move me too. Is it the music, the words or something else that raises that emotion in me when I hear it.
    I’m tending to lean towards both words and music having that ability. With Motown which I grew up loving there always seem to be stories to follow, with folk music the beat always had my toes tapping and classical music relaxed me but roused many emotions. Maybe it’s just whatever particular emotion the composer felt when those words or that chord were written that’s echoed back through those with some empathy.

    • Patrick Keller

      Oh you had me at Nessun Dorma, David. A beautiful piece of music and Pavarotti rocks it. I think you’re right. I think it’s a very personal thing for both the listener and the performer, composer, etc. I’m sure mood and the magic that is or isn’t in the air that day makes a difference too. 🙂

  • Randall Keller

    Ya know… I have no idea if it’s a form of meditation or not. It probably differs from the accurate definition of meditation, but then again… I would think if that’s how it effects you, then it is some kind of it. Interesting blog post! Love your openness.

  • Heather

    Patrick, thank you for this beautiful and personal post. I know exactly what you are describing and I think the term “Angel” moments fits perfectly. I have heard music that literally paralyzes me and for that moment in time, I feel entirely connected to the Universe’s vibration and tapped into the source with all of my being. Yes, “Music is what feelings sound like”

  • Aunt Sarah

    Heather is right…Yes, “Music IS what feelings sound like”! The only words that came through, as the chords took me over, were “I need thee”. Maybe because I’ve known these words for a long, long time, I didn’t need to listen for them, but just let the “Angel moments” happen. The Angel moments became more, as I relistened over and over.

    However, the first time, it was chills as the chords built up to about #3:55 on. 🙂 to realize he is singing ALL the parts…is just wonderful! Do you think, it may be because he’s doing some “unexpected” chording…in unexpected places, with mixing unexpected phrasing? I was struck with the feeling that some of the close chords reminded me of some African music i have. i cannot understand their words, but am carried away by their chords! Oi! I loved it! Thanks for going with your gut and posting this PK!

    OH…is it “meditation”! Some people connect prayer and meditation. This seems to be prayer, so maybe its meditation.

    Does meditation help people to “transcend” this ordinary existance, we call life? Then…yes, this music helped me transcend the mundane, for a moment. Big time! Nice. Positive. Actually, I don’t think you could have typed as you listened to this, even if you wanted to, because I’m sure there was a whole different part of your brain going on !!!

    • Patrick Keller

      Wow. You really took my assignment seriously. 🙂 I’m glad it resonated with you too. Yes, he’s definitely creating some really deep and layered chords. I suspect there’s a bit of on the fly improvisation as well, but I’m not sure. I also know that audio programs allow you to layer the same tracks slightly off from each other to give the effect that there are more voices singing. It’s the suspensions that always get me… and I’m even learning to love the places where he never resolves the tension in the suspension. My kids know I’m a suspension nerd. I agree with your thoughts on prayer and meditation for sure.

  • nothingprofound

    Patrick, it’s the same thing with poetry. It’s not the words that matter, but the music the words make.

  • Paranormalogistically

    Beautiful post Patrick. That guy is awesome! Yes, music is meditation and I have experienced these “angel moments” before, particularly with instrumental music like native american, world, smooth jazz and techno/dance. I believe we physically and spiritually come close to the same frequency or vibration as the music we are hearing and may not have the same reaction several days, months or years from now to the same musical piece. But for vocalization I can recommend an acapella group that will leave you stunned all over again. Look up ‘Straight No Chaser’ on youtube and listen to a few of their songs…better have a few hours to listen 🙂

    • Patrick Keller

      Wow… that’s a wide variety of styles for Angel Moments! 🙂 I suppose I’m the same way… although I have to be honest and annoying…. Straight No Chaser gets on my nerves. 🙂 There are so many college groups that are better.

  • frugalfrightsanddelights

    Music can be powerful. I understand completely when you mention these moments that take you back to something in your past – something you can’t quite put your finger on…but it moves you. It happens to me every so often. For some, music is their gateway to meditation. Thanks for sharing.

  • Theresa H Hall

    Good post Patrick! I did listen to the song and right near the end, he hits a combination of notes that tweaked my brain. It was indeed weird! I’ll listen again tomorrow when I can blast it through the blue ray player. I felt as if my brain was squeezed.

    • Patrick Keller

      So was this a good brain squeeze, or a bad brain squeeze? He has a few places where there is some serious intonation problems. But if you’re thinking about the same AWESOME brain squeeze that I am… it’s toward the end when he busts out the two-part suspension. I’m a stickler for those. Can you tell I’ve listened to it about another 20 times in the car the last few days? 🙂

  • Marilyn Painter

    Love the post Patrick! If I may, here is my two cents worth 😉

    “Angel Moments” these moments you describe resemble what I see as your spiritual energy/Soul coming in contact with an energy vibration (in this case musical sound) that resonates and triggers a familiarity within your energetic field. In other words, resonates with your true essence frequency. I look at these moments as experiencing/touching/awakening/remembering/being the signature energy of my Higher Self (Divine Soul). In these moments I find it hard to let go of the experience because it feels so good to be out of the heavy earth world for the moments and in an experience that is my true being.

    The “Angel” is actually you- the person. It is the Divine essence of you. We are use to thinking anything so beautiful, heavenly, pure can not be within us or of us. But you are… these moments are wholes in the veil of illusion in which you see and experience the heavenly Angel YOU! The wholes are there because we set aside our earthly ego thinking veil during this moment of space triggered by the music/sound/frequency/energy experience.

    Is it a form of meditation? Yes!!!! The basic goal of meditation is to transcend our own thoughts and emotions. I believe this is what you did. Though you were feeling emotions, they were not your OWN. Because i am assuming you were not feeling the emotion before you listened to the music. This “emotion” was communicated energetically to you and you received the message through your physical senses (psychically).

    The energy of the musical frequency and vibrations provided the SPACE for you to set your Ego (your thoughts and emotions) aside in order to fully experience an energy outside of you. Your focus allowed the space for your energy body/Spirit to merge and experience energetically with another; in this case the energy of the man who is singing (outside of linear time).

    Yes you are in a trance state: When you forgo your thoughts and your personal emotion (blank/neutrality), you are then a blank canvas to experience fully another’s energy and all the expression it has. You have accessed your subconsciousness which is connected to Universal Consciousness and can only be accessed through a Trance State. This is the exact state of being I enter into when I communicate with the Soul of my clients who come for Soul Consultation Readings.

    “It’s like my brain checked out and I just felt and experienced.” -Yes! This is the exact state to be in to perceive psychically and communicate with energy/spirit beings.

    Anywho….Since I read this post last night, this info has been circling around my thoughts all day and finally i am able to release it. Thanks for allowing this space for me to release it all out. I think my head is clear now.
    Thanks Dear Friend.

    • Patrick Keller

      I LOOOOOVE it when you release here on the blog, Marilyn! I have no doubt that for the first several times I listened, I was in a serious trance state. Clearly, as I’ve begun to now pick at flaws in the recording, I must be over it. 🙂 But I’ve learned that this week listening to it in the car on the way to work in the mornings puts me in a much better place walking into work. Of course, I need to still be able to drive. 🙂 Let me know if you’re up for some experimenting over fall break.

  • Patty Ballance

    I am so proud of you being able to incorporate these feelings in your teaching!!!! I think anyone who loves music has had an Angle Moment!

    • Patrick Keller

      I actually brought up angel moments to students from all over during an honor choir rehearsal. One of the responses I got from a young woman who held her hand up and very excitedly said “Yes!!!” in agreement. It was a priceless moment. 🙂

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