This Is What It’s Like to Try a “Silent” Immersive Music Experience
Taking care of yourself can help you feel centered, energetic, and at the top of your game — making it much easier to accomplish your goals. As a small business owner, freelance writer, retired fitness instructor, and frequent flier, I’m always looking for new experiences that might enhance my personal wellness routine, give my brain a boost, or help me be more creative; when I first heard about MindTravel during a yoga class, I knew the musical meditation was something I wanted to try.
“My mission with MindTravel is to move people with purpose,” composer, technologist, and entrepreneur Murray Hidary explains of the hour-long immersive musical session. “While every person’s experience is unique, it’s my hope that someone is able to use the space created by the music to reflect deeply and push through any emotions that need addressing.” Hidary is certainly on to something with the music he creates spontaneously for each moment — when I was originally introduced to his live composition while practicing yoga at San Francisco’s picturesque Grace Cathedral, I actually cried grateful tears.
Wanting to tap into more of the feel-good vibes, my boyfriend and I decided to spend Saturday night at Hidary’s San Francisco MindTravel experience at Crissy Field, a gorgeous outdoor location right in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Other than more touching piano tunes composed on the spot to match the setting, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The early evening was breezy as the wind whipped up on the bay and across the open field, so I was relieved when the team gave us each some heavy duty-looking headphones when we checked in. Next, we laid down our blankets and scoped out the scene as we waited for the experience to unfold. Other attendees clustered up nearby with their blankets and headphones as we all faced the water, waiting for Hidary to start playing on his piano in the center.
Before the music even started, I was already struck by how many people had come for a shared experience that was slated to be an independent journey full of personal feelings and emotion. Because each MindTravel experience is inspired by what’s happening in the environment at that moment, they’re all different. “I truly view each experience like a child of mine,” shares Hidary. “Which means I would have hundreds of kids! But I do feel that way; each one is so special. Whether an intimate salon in a living room, a stadium with thousands of people, with an orchestra at Lincoln Center, outdoors with headphones in Central Park, a 2,500 year old cave under Jerusalem, or catching a loving anonymous gaze from someone listening at Burning Man, they all have moved my soul profoundly and put me more in touch with my own humanity.”
Once Hidary sat down to play, he encouraged us all to visualize ourselves as a leaf floating down a river; sometimes moving with ease and following the current, other times getting stopped along the way. Once the experience began, I found myself swept up in watching the scene around me with Hidary’s up-to-the-minute custom soundtrack. The boats on the bay and dogs and kids running on the grass around us all seemed more vibrant; it almost felt like watching a movie. While lots of thoughts swirled around my head at first, I willed myself into a state of nothingness by closing my eyes and letting it go.
The hour went by crazy-fast: Before I knew it, the experience had finished. I felt like I do after a meditation session or a quiet Bikram yoga class; being mindful and present while “going with the flow” and enjoying the totally improvised music had brought a similar sense of lightness and relief. According to Hidary, his experience at the piano is similar: “When I sit down to play, my main objective is to get out of my own way as quickly as I can. This means I do my best to move past surface level thoughts, including thoughts relating to any fears, and use the music to drop into a deeper place of pure creativity as potentiality.”
Science shows that there’s validity in Murray’s use of music to evoke emotion while processing thoughts and feelings — from helping you feel happier to serving as brain food for a productivity boost, rhythms, beats, and notes are something we can appreciate. While MindTravel isn’t something I can tap into all the time to find inner peace, taking a few minutes to lay down and listen to my favorite Spotify playlists after a long day might just do the trick.
What’s the most unique activity you’ve tried to feel centered, focused, or creative? Tell us on Twitter @BritandCo!