Sunday, June 11, 2006

Do the songs on our minds mean something?

Some songs appear to be on our minds simply because we heard them recently. They may stick in our minds for a while because of a musical "hook." But other songs seem to come to mind from out of nowhere. The songs that have us saying, "Where did that one come from?!" may carry messages from the unconscious. Songs heard recently that stick in our minds may also have meaning. Why does a particular song stick with us and other songs fade from memory? Is it simply "catchy" or is it trying to tell us something?
For many years, I have found useful information from my intuitive and wiser self by paying attention to the songs on my mind. These songs seemed to me to carry many of the same processes as dreams. So I wrote my PhD dissertation on the topic and conducted qualitative research on the topic. See the www.songdreams.org for the literature review on this topic. I recruited 40 co-researchers who had had similar experiences as mine. Using a questionnaire, I asked each of them to describe one experience in detail and to describe their experiences like this in general. A subset of 12 co-researchers followed songs on their minds for 3 to 6 weeks, each collecting 2-6 songs. Co-researchers worked on their own to deepen and integrate their experiences using techniques based on Jungian dream and imagery work. I collected qualitative data from the questionnaires, journals, and subsequent interviews and subjected the data to thematic analysis. The results revealed a profile of a typical experience of finding meaning in a song on the mind. The coresearchers did find personal messages of insight and guidance in these spontaneously appearing songs. The songs seemed to be part of or support inner processes that were moving in the direction or healing or growth. Most commonly, the experience evoked a process that began with painful emotions and shifted them to less painful ones. Many experiences processed previously unconscious material such as inner conflicts and grief. Spiritual and transpersonal themes were also common. Co-researchers often identified the source of this experience as the unconscious, Self, or Higher Self. Opposite pairs of themes were often present in the same song messages, sometimes as forming a single whole. Occasional peak experiences were reported and many song messages supported "being values." These results suggest that songs on the mind offer a rich potential for tapping into and facilitating the unfoldment of unconscious, healing and growth processes.

posted by Karen at 11:15 PM