Music has an incredible power to tune us into our emotional lives. I was just listening to one of my favorite songs, Shambala by Three Dog Night, and a sense of joy swelled up inside of me. I remember the first time I encountered this song 9 years ago when I was listening to Rockapella songs on Napster. The acapella version of the song thrilled my ears and triggered my mind to think of positive, uplifting thoughts. To say the least, I was compelled to listen to this song multiple times that year — especially when I was having a rough day or feeling “in the dumps”. As the years went by I forgot about the song until my sister gave me a wonderful gift, Lost: Season 3 on DVD. There’s a wonderful moment where Hugo and Charlie are rolling down a hill in an old VW Van, and they are terrified that they’re going to crash into a giant boulder.  At the last minute, Hugo jumpstarts the van and the car radio starts blaring Shambala by Three Dog Night. He steers the van away from the boulder, and everyone present is washed in the euphroia and amazement of the miracle. The song continues to play as Hugo, Charlie, Sawyer and Jin ride around in the van and bask in the pleasure and play of the “joy ride”.

As I listen to Shambala, I am aware that the tune, harmonies and lyrics trigger my neurons to fire and activate associations in my mind. In a nut shell, the music alters my thoughts. And as my thoughts surf and swim in the music, I forget the concerns and negative mind chatter that sometimes creeps into my brain. My mind is cleansed in the hope of shambala –  a spiritual oasis filled with light and love. A place where we can tell our sisters and brothers “by the flowers in her/his eyes”.

Sometimes our worries and negative thoughts seem like a wet blanket that refuses to let us breath. Our emotions and thoughts become imprisoned in the dark dungeon of scarcity, fear and doubt. But wherever there is darkness, there is hope. And hope comes in many forms. Sometimes its a friend who will listen and assist you. Other times its a story, book or movie. And many times it is a song that gives you the key to unlock the dungeon door. All of these things change your perspective, and that is often the key to changing your thoughts. All emotions, hopes and fears are connected to your thoughts. If you want to change your feelings or outlook on life at any moment, play a song that makes you happy. In fact, play a couple! Make a playlist for your iPod and press “Play” when the going gets tough. Songs have the ability to put you on the road to shambala where you wash away your troubles and wash away your pains. They are luminaries of hope in a darkened world. Look at the music you listen to and ask yourself, “How does your light shine in the halls of Shambala?”

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