There is always music in my head. At any given moment if you ask me I will have at least one song playing in there.
Currently, I keep hearing a line from Accidentally in Love over and over: “Come on, Come on. Spin a little tighter.” I can also hear lines from Heavy Bells, which has been in heavy rotation in my head this week.
There are other songs that routinely pop into my head. Every time I pack a suitcase I sing ‘Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin” Every time I butter toast I sing “I like bread and butter”. Whenever I get on the turnpike I sing “counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike” . Drinking coffee in bed? Then it’s Squeeze, guaranteed.
Sometimes I hear TV theme songs, or old commercials. When I color my hair, I sing “I’m gonna wash that gray right outta my hair”. Outside forces do it to me as well. The hum of my vacuum sounds just like the beginning of Cannonball, so I sing it every time I vacuum.
It’s not just me, right? Does everyone do this? Aren’t we all full of music?
I think our minds are like LP records (the black vinyl things in the basement, kids). There are grooves in the records, and there are songs in those grooves. Those songs can be triggered at any moment.
We also record new songs onto our records. Our reactions to situations, events, and people, form more grooves, and our own songs are recorded. Then, when we are faced with similar situations, events or people, we simply bring the needle back to that song, and play it again. We play the song over and over, wearing the grooves deeper and deeper into the record, making it easier for the needle to find the groove when it’s time again.
There are songs we can play at full volume when we are all alone that we would never play with other people around. There are other songs that we know are safe to play when we’re at work. Songs that we can play with our close friends. Old familiar songs that we play when we’re with our family. And they play their same old songs too. They sound like a bunch of broken records sometimes. You may want to pick their needle up and throw their record across the room.
Things that happen in the outside world can also control the turntable arm, move it over a certain groove, and drop the needle down. Life is constantly picking the arm up and putting it back down somewhere else. And we react by letting the needle fall into some familiar groove.
When we’re born we are a smooth piece of vinyl. Some might argue that we have past life experience, or songs of collective unconscious, archaic remnants that exist deep inside of us somewhere. Perhaps we have some reptilian brain songs. As we move through life we record our own songs. Imprints are left on our subconscious by our experiences and impressions. We make judgments, we learn behaviors, we cut the record.
The grooves in the record are sanskaras. They are imprints that have been left on our subconscious by past experiences. Impressions we have collected throughout our lives. They determine our desires, our actions, our behaviors. They become our thoughts, our ideas, and memories. Our mental and emotional patterns. They are the lens through which we view our reality. The grooves on our subconscious vinyl. The soundtrack of our lives.
Just like songs that pop into our heads for seemingly no reason, we react to outside forces by playing our familiar songs without even realizing that we are doing it. All of our decisions are based on these sanskaras. The chances that we take, new things we will or will not try. They are all based on our impression of what the expected outcome will be, which is based on previously experienced outcomes.
Think about what you may be doing almost instinctively without questioning. What habits (good or bad) have you accumulated? What are you avoiding because of past experiences? Where have you become stuck in a groove?
We need new and opposing experiences to help us get out of those grooves, even if we’re comfortable there. We might resist new patterns. just like we may be reluctant to listen to new music. But when we get out of our comfort zone, we evolve. We get closer and closer to our true nature.
It doesn’t have to be the Same Old Song. We can always change our tune.