The harp is one of the oldest of all instruments. It is on ancient monuments and in sacred texts. The angels are often pictured playing a harp. Many people wonder about the harp and why it should be used in hospice, hospital settings, and nursing homes. The simple answer is that the harp has healing qualities.
Many describe the sound of the harp as heavenly. The music of the harp has a way of opening the heart. There are many technical reasons about how the vibrations of the harp can resonate with the body, but the more straightforward, compelling reason to have harp at the bedside of a patient is that it opens the heart.
Music opens us in ways that are gentle and invisible. It is the back door to the soul. It slips in unannounced and is the Spirit's vehicle or ambassador for communion and healing. Music bypasses barriers and resistances that we create emotionally and mentally and seems to be able to slip in and sit in witness with us as we navigate troubled waters.
Music creates a type of entrainment that allows us to rise above current levels of functioning and brings us into harmony with a greater purpose and sense of being. The whole idea of harmony is that we are in tune with one another--that we fit into a greater picture--that we each sound a unique note and our able to participate in the greater symphonic work of at-one-ment. Music helps us to remember that we are one. It tunes us up and draws us together and in the process helps to heal our sense of separation.
In this sense, music can speak for us and through us when words fail and fall short. We are far more removed from the idea of music as a type of keening or grieving through music than are other cultures where music gives voice to grief as well as celebration. Music gives voice to the unspeakable whether through the human voice or through an instrument like the harp.
The music of the harp creates an atmosphere of peace that sweeps away fear, depression, desperation, and hopelessness. It creates an opening for healing to take place. Whether or not a person recovers from their illness or not is less important than the spiritual healing that so often needs to take place. Many people struggling from terminal illness are finally able to pass away restfully when they are no longer in fear or are wrestling with unfinished business.
Having a spiritually aware harp practitioner present with a patient can be one of the greatest gifts that a family or caregiver can give to a dying person. When music opens the heart of a person it allows for angels and other spiritual beings to minister to them in a way that is not possible when they are in fear or regret and desperation. It is not that the individual playing the harp has these abilities, but that they can create the space for healing to happen, and from my experience, this type of healing always comes from the heavenly realms. This is how music becomes the vehicle for healing, which is not so much about curing as it is about creating spiritual wholeness.