Meditation on Musica Universalis

The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras taught that the universe was composed entirely of numbers, and numbers corresponded to music. So the entire universe, all of reality, including us, was composed of numbers and music. The seven planets of the ancient world each resonated a frequency outward into the universe.

The image [on the screen] is a nineteenth century depiction of that Musica Universalis, or Harmony of the Spheres, each planet a different note on the musical scale [accompanist plays an ascending scale]. Their music was not something we heard audibly, but their cosmic vibration, their resonance, could impact us, as all music could. Pythagoreans believed that music purified and nourished our souls, keeping us spiritually healthy, in the same way exercise and nutrition does for our body.

I invite you to contemplate: what music do you need to purify or nourish your soul right now?

[After each of the seven sentences below, the pianist and/or other musician(s) plays a short sequence of notes that conveys the feeling of each sentence.]

  • Do you need a peppy tune to make you smile and dance?
  • Perhaps you need a love ballad, to help you celebrate a love in your life?
  • Or do you need a sad song to speak to you about a loss in your life?
  • Maybe you need a dirge to help you grieve and mourn a tragedy or a loss?
  • Or do you need a happy song to help you celebrate an aspect of your life?
  • Do you need a cacophony of noise to rattle you into a new awareness?
  • Perhaps you need a calm lullaby to bring you peace and serenity?

As we enter into silence, I invite you to consider the song that is speaking to you at this moment. Imagine it is resonating within you, but also outward in all directions, bringing your resonance to those next to you, then the people next to them, outward until it fills the room, connecting you with everyone else, communicating where you are today.

silent meditation

May our collective silence bring harmony to ourselves and everyone in our orbit.

Looking up at a round, purple skylight, the camera captures a series of gold spheres suspended from ceiling beams.
Shown in this engraving from Renaissance Italy are Apollo, the Muses, the planetary spheres and musical ratios.

An engraving from Renaissance Italy showing Apollo, the Muses, the planetary spheres, and musical ratios.