"That felt way shorter than 60 minutes!"
- One of the most common comments we get from soundbath participants after the class.
What is time?
Time is best measured by a clock, yet it is inhererently subjective.
Time seem to slow to a crawl in a boring meeting, yet the holiday is over before you know it. A whole dream can happen within the span of a snooze alarm.
Our concept of time is beautifully encapsulated in the poem below:
"If you want to know the value of one year,
ask a student who failed a course.
If you want to know the value of one month,
ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
If you want to know the value of one hour,
ask the lovers waiting to meet.
If you want to know the value of one minute,
ask the person who just missed the bus.
If you want to know the value of one second,
ask the person who just escaped death in a car accident.
And if you want to know the value of one-hundredth of a second,
ask the athlete who won a silver medal in the Olympics.”
- Marc Levy
Sound and music have that ability to alter our perception of time. In our daily lives, music have been strategically employed to subtly change your experience of time. Spas play soothing instrumentals to help you unwind, bars play chill tunes to encourage you to hang around for just one more drink. A tune can be so effective at reducing anxiety and helping you to relax, that neuroscientists advise against putting it in your driving playlist lest you fall asleep at the wheel.
"Lose yourself in the music, the moment" - What is happening in our brains when we are enjoying music?
A 2006 study by neuroscientist Ilan Goldberg found that when one is immersed in the flow of an activity, whether it is music, sports or meditation, the sensory cortext of the brain light up while the prefrontal cortext, governing introspection and your sense of self, shuts down. As Goldberg observes, "the term "losing yourself" receives here a clear neuronal correlate" (Goldberg et al, quoted in ScienceDaily).
During a soundbath, the vibrations do have the capacity to dissolve your sense of self. Many people ease into a state of deep rest, where magic happens. The brain is able to process information much faster than we could consciously perceive in the waking state, and even more so when we rest (Rosen, 2010).
"Theories abound as to what happens during sleep, but it is clear that the brain is much freer to work at its own pace, unencumbered for the most part by external stimuli that would otherwise force it to slow down and take notice." - Dr Dennis Rosen
It is common to experience a timewarp during a soundbath. A 45 minute session may have felt like a mere 10 minutes, or a full night's rest! This is the amazing impact of sound and vibrations on the body and mind, when you allow yourself time for the brain to work at its own pace to restore and reset itself!
References and further reading:
Cell Press. "Watching The Brain Switch Off 'Self'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2006.
Rosen, D. "Turning 40 Winks Into Decades: The Pace of Time in Dreams". Psychology Today, 27 July 2010.