Hi. My name is Seth, and I’ve been engulfed by acute anxiety for most of my adult life.
Even after having gone through intensive psychodynamic therapy, I still had no concept of how much anxiety was interfering with my daily life… until I took a Hypnobirthing course with my wife.
As I witnessed, first hand, the extraordinary impact that relaxation can have during birth, and as I engaged with the ways in which that can be achieved, I began unexpectedly to have an awareness of myself that I’d been unable to attain until that moment.
Anxiety, it transpired, had been such a normal state of affairs for me, for so long, that I had been completely blind to it. I was unable to separate the anxiety from myself; it seemed that this was just “who I was.” I was having panic attacks on a daily basis (often seemingly out of thin air). My impossibly difficult & unpredictable moods were causing immense strain on my marriage. Normal interactions and responsibilities caused me disproportionate stress, leaving me physically and mentally drained. In psychodynamic therapy, I explored the root causes of my difficulties, but still, I did not at any point identify with the concept of anxiety. Only years later, when I began reading about mindfulness, was I finally able to distinguish between myself and my anxiety. That has been a profound and life-changing revelation.
Although I’ve always had a passion for music, I hadn’t realized how much it could help me (and others) cope with anxiety. After our first child was born, my wife began teaching Hypnobirthing classes herself. Music plays a significant role in Hypnobirthing, but the prescribed selection of music is extremely limited, and not quite to everyone’s taste. My wife’s students began asking for more musical options, and having struggled to find much to offer, my wife commissioned me to write some relaxation music based on the feedback from her classes.
After doing some preliminary research, I found that the majority of the relaxation music available today tends to be a bit homogenous and emotionally neutral, often using the same limited range of sounds, musical devices and production techniques. I decided to create something different.
My approach was to construct slowly, constantly developing ‘glacial’ movement, with a wide range of soft, contrasting timbres and pitches underpinned by more emotionally evocative melodies and harmonies. The idea was essentially to make something more musically moving, like a slow-motion cinematic soundscape.
After producing my first two finished tracks, my wife relayed them to her students. To my delight, my music was not only well received, but enthusiastically deployed during several pregnancies and births! Encouraged by the warm reception, I made the tracks available online on soundcloud.com/relaxationsynthesis.
As life would have it, I ended up getting distracted with other matters for several years, and completely neglected to check up on the music that I had uploaded. When I finally ended up peeking at the stats, I found to my amazement that there were hundreds of thousands of plays and hundreds of likes and shares. Following that startling discovery, I decided to devote the time to completing the full album.
In my life so far, I’ve worked through psychodynamic therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, various forms of meditation, and a great many self-help books. The concept of mindfulness has been one of the most transformative I’ve yet encountered, and although I haven’t yet fully conquered my anxiety, I am, happily, well on the way.
My music has been deliberately fed by my own experiences, as it had to help me relax, meditate and encourage my own emotions to flow in order to work through them. Over the past few years, many others have found these tracks helpful in a similar way, and I hope that by releasing this album, the music will help many more.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Meditation Magazine.