Mind and consciousness are like a gradual sunrise that takes time to come up. In the meantime, we are not stagnant, waiting for life to happen. We map everything, letting information processing take care of itself. We map rhythm and pattern, the pitch and volume, the form and flow of movements around us, of objects, places, of people. This is the music of life and we feel it with our bodies, long before we identify mind with self, this is the realm of sensing, and we all began there. Some of us stay here longer than others. As a person diagnosed with autism, I am one of those people.
Music has a particularly special place in the foundations we all came from. Whether we hear it in the footsteps with which an individual crosses the floor, the visual rhythm with which someone holds and puts down a glass or the flow and shifts of how someone sits in their own body, music in its broader sense is everywhere, and it is our first language.
Music has the most important of all places in the lives of those who find the realm of the mind a place of rusty cogs and heavy effort – the stuff of overload, shutdown, information processing delay and the sensory chaos that ensues. Such is the stuff of developmental conditions like those in the autism spectrum. Like those I have lived with personally all my life. Music has the convincing power to restore order in chaos, to reassure that in spite of an absence of sensory cohesion, that something whole and wonderful, flowing and consistent still exists outside of us in the world we might otherwise give up on as being non-user-friendly. It is a place where those who struggle to keep up with the rate of information, left meaning-deaf, meaning-blind at the time of incoming information, still can meet with others in a form of communication and a state of involvement I call Simply Being. More than this, when haywire chemistry tells you that emotion and connection with others signal the threat of death, in music there is at least