Beyond any philosophy we may hold true, behind our most cherished beliefs, beneath our core ideas and concepts, a song is singing inside us.
When referring to this ‘inner song’, I am not pointing to a recognizable tune or melody, a song one remembers fondly from having heard it on the radio or sung by anyone else. While many people have songs which they feel connected with, which feel particularly inspiring or comforting to listen to, this inner song is unique to each person.
Though millions of songs exist in the world, behind these songs there is an underlying music, or soundtrack, playing inside us. Whatever the tempo or rhythm may be, it is the lyrics which deliver the primary intention and meaning. The lyrics of our inner song are the foundational thoughts which guide our lives, every hour of every day, even into our dreams.
It is well evidenced that repetition of an idea, reinforced daily, can eventually wear away at the most formidable mental resistance and gain foothold in consciousness. This is the idea behind positive affirmations - as well as negative affirmations. This forms a basic psychological convention behind advertising as well - communicating a name, a brand, a concept - over and over, though a variety of media, until the intended recipient is sure to have heard it - and hopefully for the advertisers - take it to heart.
Discovered and developed in the early years of modern advertising, the power of the jingle - a musical phrase whose lyrics signify and embody the product intended for a particular audience - was understood as highly significant. Some point to a 1905 song called In My Merry Oldsmobile, as the world's first jingle. Whatever the historical origin may be, there is no doubt that our contemporary world is flooded with a plethora of jingles competing for airtime - and ‘mindtime’.
By hearing a jingle repeatedly, the listener internalizes the music and words - thereby increasing the potential for embracing them as part of their own inner soundtrack, their own daily thoughts. The steps from inner soundtrack to conscious thought to personal decision occur in the hidden world of the mind over an unspecified period of time. The final step, taking action - i.e., the purchase of the advertised product, voting for a particular candidate or issue, etc. - is the exact result the advertiser intended, bringing one’s inner process into ‘the light of day’.
Applying the structural principle of the jingle - a musical phrase promoting anything at all (even something which one might have no interest in) - may serve us on our journey toward greater self-awareness and autonomy.
A good way to experiment with this idea is to observe one’s own thoughts at random throughout the day. What patterns show themselves? Are there repeated thoughts which, recurring like the looping sound of a broken record, continue to exert themselves? Are these thoughts activating emotions which color the landscape all around us? Whatever we observe, this process provides a window into the state of our inner song, the song of our life.