From art to music, Murray Hidary serves up healing experiences
By Bridgette M. Redman
It takes more than a singular discipline to heal traumas and open the pathways for a richer, more fulfilling life.
Marina del Rey resident Murray Hidary weaves together multiple mediums of art and learning as a creator and artist to help people find connection, purpose and peace. The founder of MindTravel, Hidary is a composer, artist and meditation expert. He is also a tech entrepreneur who founded his first company when he was 22.
MindTravel offers soulful experiences using Hidary’s original music paired with visuals or landscapes to guide participants through a journey that is unique to each person. Settings include theaters, beaches, parks, museums, gardens, cathedrals, and even ones where participants float on water.
Travelers wear headphones through which live music is delivered, allowing for a “silent piano” or “silent hike” experience. Hidary composes the music live during the experience, allowing his own meditations to flow through the extemporaneous performance. Participants gush about how compelling, unique and life-changing the experiences are.
Hidary pointed out that everyone has various levels of pain and trauma that they experience individually. His travel events help people manage and handle the pain and stress they encounter.
“If we simply distract from it or repress it as so many of us do, it finds its way out and creates trouble for us in an unhealthy way,” Hidary said. “Ideally, we want to be able to process and dissolve whatever stress and pain arises in our experience. It turns out some kinds of music are incredibly powerful modes to address pain and stress. It can connect us to our sadness and our pain, really feeling it fully through music. We can feel through it and then it is behind us, and we are fresh and open to the next experience.”
Transforming tragedy to assist others
Intimately familiar with intense grief after witnessing the death of his beloved younger sister, Hidary is committed to sharing the healing he discovered with others who need it.
“I would sit and play the pain out of me,” Hidary said. “That is the only way through something as difficult and challenging as intense grief — to go through it and feel your way through it. Music can be a wonderful companion that more easily allows us to open the heart and feel what we are feeling.”
From a very young age, Hidary played and created music, and as a teenager was introduced to the Eastern philosophical tradition.
“The two of them started to speak to each other, the Western classical music with the Eastern sensibilities,” Hidary said. “I created this fusion of a musical language. I eventually studied the Zen music of Buddhist monks from Japan and the Zen flute music that was specifically written as musical meditations. That musical sensibility worked its way into my piano playing. It was really an East meets West, musically and philosophically.”
For years, Hidary wedded the practice of piano playing and meditation, allowing his improvisation to lead him on his journeys, on the expeditions to his inner world both emotionally and spiritually.
“Music really is this language of emotions,” Hidary said. “When we don’t have the words, we turn to music. I found it to be an incredibly helpful expression, no matter what I was going through.”
Infusing nature into musical experiences
In addition to being a composer, Hidary was a traveler, one who took both external and internal journeys. It was how he came to found MindTravel, wanting to invite others along on these safaris for the soul.
“I have a passion for physical travel,” Hidary said. “The two (internal and physical) came together and I wanted to introduce nature into the experience.”
Hidary took his musical mind travel events out of the theaters and private indoor series, seeking out the most beautiful beaches and parks in the United States from New York to Santa Monica. They would become the settings for his experiences. He also expanded his tours to other countries.
“Experiences out in nature are not only inspirational, but also incredibly healing,” Hidary said. “The combination of music and nature has really taken me all over the world to some of the most iconic locations in many, many countries and dozens of cities.”
It was the traveling that also led Hidary to expand the experiences to include visual art. He would travel to other countries on a bicycle, which allowed him to take very few belongings. His camera was his constant companion so he could photograph and document everywhere he went.
“It was a way for me to engage the environment more mindfully,” Hidary said. “It really can open your eyes literally as you look to connect more. Eventually that photography became more of an abstraction.”
Hidary described an awakening he had when he was photographing a tree that he had taken pictures of many times before. It was basking in the afternoon sunlight when a realization came to him.
“Instead of photographing what I saw, I was moved to photograph what I felt,” Hidary said. “I moved the camera and began to paint with my camera, painting the light reflecting on the tree. That opened up a whole new expression of visual photography, which I eventually showed in many galleries around the country.”
Those photographic paintings are now part of the events that Hidary does. He programmed a computer system that connects his music and his collection of visual projections so as he improvises, the music drives the visual projections that people experience.
“I built a system that listens to the music and the visuals move in sympathy to it,” Hidary said.
The final ingredient to the tossed salad of elements in Hidary’s MindTravel experiences is crafted from his love of science.
“My whole life, the cosmos has always been an attraction for me, a lure for me to learn more about the universe we find ourselves in,” Hidary said. “I have pursued a study of theoretical physics and do my best to incorporate those sensibilities. The visuals will often incorporate video and imagery of the cosmos, but not just that — I will start to manipulate and move them as a gravitational wave through the vastness of space. I’m incorporating phenomena in the physical world through the art and music.”
Hidary plays with time and space, stretching or compressing it in a way he says comes right out of physics textbooks, interpreting what he learned there metaphorically in an art and musical context.
Reaching out virtually during the pandemic
Hidary described the pandemic as being like hitting a brick wall at 60 miles per hour. He was on tour and had brought his experiences to 10 cities on a 60-city tour. Then, in March 2020, he had to cancel the rest of the shows.
Hidary returned to LA and spent an entire year going deeper into his music, composing and creating online experiences for people and offering MindTravel hikes and meditations.
“We would have hundreds of people walking together all over the world separately,” Hidary said. “I would have the music playing and would narrate with poetry and spoken word while creating these connective experiences. We really found creativity within the limitations.”
Since Spring 2021, Hidary has been carefully monitoring safety conditions and conversing with cities and municipalities about when he can offer outdoor events again. He recently hosted a Saturday sunset MindTravel concert in Santa Monica.
“We live in such a beautiful place with nature all around us,” Hidary said. “Bringing music and nature together creates a deeper connection to this beautiful place we all live, coming together in community is the final element.”
Hidary said he is looking forward to being able to offer silent hikes in the mountains or beach concerts in Santa Monica, to once again being in community in person. He said it won’t be a robust tour schedule this summer, but they will do some high-quality events.
“I’m really interested in transporting people and creating more wonder in their lives,” Hidary said. “What that means for me is opening a new space for people individually and collectively. When people show up, there is either a gorgeous beach or park or a theater where there are visuals. Whatever the setting, it is intended to transport us, to open up that space of wonder for creativity, imagination and feeling.”