Each morning, as part of my own spiritual program, I read the daily readings from either Alcoholic Anonymous “Daily Reflections, or Narcotics Anonymous “Just for Today.” I often joke with residents that since I am born on the cusp of two Zodiac signs, I have always read both horoscopes and picked the one I like best. I do the same with my morning reflections; finding the one that speaks to my present circumstance. I, also, have some morning devotional literature that I have picked up over the years and occasionally turn to those for inspiration and guidance, remembering that “it is not probable we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this assumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas.” When one of these particularly strikes me or seems relevant to what one or all the residents are going through, I may share it at Morning Meditation. Earlier this week was just such an occasion, when I read about the fact that stars do not move through the universe without sound, but instead create their own astral music.
I presented this idea to the male residents during Morning Meditation, as several them have recently spoken of using nature as their Higher Power. Music is such a universal language and I rightly suspected that the idea of stars emitting acoustic radio waves would intrigue some of them; especially as music is such an integral part of many of their safety plans and their lives at large. What I had read compared the frequencies emitted by the stars to those of whales and dolphins, music some use as background for peaceful meditation. After group, one of the residents asked more about the sound, and later in the day we found a website to listen to it. (http://thescienceexplorer.com/universe/take-listen-sound-13-billion-year-old-stars)
As I found out, the science behind the stars and their musical nature is not new. It was discovered in the early 1980’s by Italian acoustic astrophysicist and that the concept was then given new life with the implementation and data provided by the Kepler Telescope. What is also not new, is the fact that our reactions to the “music of the stars” was different. Of the four stars, two we could both hear, a third I could not, and the fourth seemed silent to both of us. How apt that sounds resonant of a Higher Power would be heard differently by two sets of human ears and that sometimes one can plainly hear the music of the heavens while another might be deaf to it.
Developing one’s own personal, spiritual beliefs is an important part of young adulthood. It becomes even more imperative in those who struggle with substance abuse, where spirituality is an integral part of the recovery process. Religious aversion is high in many of today’s young people, who have grown up with organized religion declining in participation and its scandals spread across the headlines; and teaching them the difference between spirituality and religion and how the two can be mutually exclusive of each other, but do not have to be, is fraught with pitfalls.
The idea of a “God of your understanding” is a broad and inclusive concept, as it is intended to be. Music, like a Higher Power, is at once personal and universal, and the idea of heavenly bodies naturally resonating with sound is at once awe-inspiring and comforting. Our ideas of preferred music may be as differing as our individual concepts of a Higher Power, but we can respect and appreciate the need for individual expression and understanding in both as we seek to build community within our recovery process.