pankhuri singhal“Bring the sky beneath your feet and listen to celestial music everywhere,” Rumi once said. In his discourse on genetics and the holistic lifestyle at the Berklee Performance Center on December 6th, Deepak Chopra quoted Rumi many a time when brilliantly relaying the intertwined nature of music and meditation with the very DNA make-up of our bodies. As a genetic neuroscience student outside of Berklee and a part of the beautiful Berklee Indian Ensemble led by Annette Philip, I felt Dr. Chopra painted a precise picture of who we really are as individuals: luminous stardust beings constantly emanating energy. Now imagine if we all embodied this very fact of our truest nature; how would we treat one another differently? How would we treat ourselves differently? But more importantly, what type of things would we surround ourselves with? These are questions that the Indian Ensemble family ponders, as well, and I think it’s this introspective approach that allows us to infuse music with love.

The scientist in me was very intrigued by the data sets generated by the Chopra Center and its collaborators that Dr. Chopra presented during the talk; this groundbreaking research showed how holistic approaches could affect a person’s genes and well being. While the rapidly growing field of pharmacology is constantly producing drugs for various ailments (physical and mental), yoga, music therapy, and meditation are some of the best medicines, especially for treating issues like pain, anxiety, etc. Dr. Chopra further explained that most people believe their genetics are the end-all be-all of who they are and what diseases they will develop; however, this is far from the truth. Many epigenetic factors are at play that dictate whether one will actually present with what is written in the genetic code. How does one manipulate this game of epigenetics? Well, this brings us back to music, mindfulness, and surrounding ourselves with positivity.

One of the biggest takeaways from Dr. Chopra’s talk for me, personally, was realizing that we are not a series of thoughts; we are the awareness in between the thoughts. When we make music, we are the space in between the lyrics, we are the skipped beat, we are the tiny window of time that exists between notes. This awareness in music is therapeutic at a subconscious level so I can only imagine the far-reaching effects of music therapy at a larger clinical scale. Dr. Deepak Chopra and Berklee College of Music superbly characterize the union between medicine and music; together they can facilitate a deeper understanding of the promise of music therapy.

Pankhuri Singhal is a genetic neuroscience student at Northeastern University and part of the Berklee Indian Ensemble.

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