• Tammy Keorkunian

Music As An Entry Point to Happiness

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Imagine growing up without music in your life? I did. My parents never really made music a priority or something fun to do together, and I had a love and thirst for it. Of course, I listened to the radio and choreographed dances; heck I had a whole film or music video play out in my head, and many times I’d act it out, in the drive way, to the passersby.

As a child and young girl, I never took any music classes or workshops. I was a Brownie, and a Girl Scout. We sang songs, but that wasn’t the same as creating, playing, exploring with music and my voice. It wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I discovered I could sing and play guitar. I was elated and played every single day. I wrote songs and even performed. I wasn’t that great at first, but I didn’t care. All I wanted was to play. It brought a joy out in me that I didn’t know was possible. Music became a channel to my happy place. It also took me to the raw places that needed to open up and heal. It still does.

We all have an entry point to our happy place, and there’s many practices available to helping us get there. What I really find is that happiness is already inherent in us. We are simply being guided to turn our attention to it time and time again. Perhaps much of our culture is in this bad habit of complaining/gossiping, looking at our sorrow, and falling into “victim mode.” We know of the Dalai Lama and his teachings to awaken us to our truth. There are many American teachers of yoga, meditation, mindfulness practices, and so on. We have Americanized gurus, like Dr. Wayne Dyer, and we have heard of Indian gurus who have come to the United States to spread love, light and help awaken us. Awaken us from what? These gurus are considered “realized awakened beings.” Basically, we are all awakened. We just don’t realize it, and they do, so what’s keeping us from realizing it? Our minds.

Sometimes it’s hard to digest the teachings of these wise ones, and then applying them is another feat. Our society has not been colored with this way of life. As long as we have a perceived notion of reality, the truth will always be skewed. The truth of what actually is rather than what we think it to be. We may be close to it, or far from it. There is a spectrum, and we are all unique in this way. On the other hand, we are all the same in that we all have our own way of seeing things. The premise is when we awaken to our “truth,” we come to understand the permanence of who we really are, which is love. We have the ability to discern between our own definitions of reality and reality as it is. With that there is a deeper sense of wellbeing, an underlying state of happiness, joy, and compassion, and an acceptance of what is in each moment. This is what people are coming to awaken to through practices like yoga, meditation, and music.

In addition to teaching children’s music and movement, yoga and meditation, I teach a Buddhist Meditation course at Temple University, Ambler campus. I see time and time again, the challenge that arises for each participant to incorporate meditation on their own time at home. After taking the course, they realize the importance of meditation, but they worry that they will not be able to discipline themselves to continue practicing on their own. We are very much an individualistic society, where we have lost a sense of community. This is where community is your support. In this case, I suggest finding or creating a community where you can do this practice with likeminded people or any practice together for that matter, such as music!