A second blog this time in relation to sound. After last week’s change in soundscapes now about hearing and listening.
For quit a period of time now I work in several of my classes with quite a large set of Tibetan Singing Bowls, Ghantas (Bells), Tingshas (cymbals) and Gongs. Used within meditations and physical healings the bowls’ characteristic blend of harmonic resonances are used as a vibrational tool to induce stress reduction, chakra balancing, energy synchronization and even spontaneous healing.
When you first become aware of harmonics (also known as overtones) as a phenomenon of sound, your entire way of listening becomes altered. You may hear harmonics in the dripping of a tap or overtones in the wind as it rushes past your window. As you become aware of harmonics, your listening patterns change and, as this occurs, so does your consciousness. You make yourself available for the sounds of life.
Listening is one of the great active experiences in which we can easily learn to partake. It is one that we are quite naturally born to do, although unfortunately it is an ability that many of us lose as we grow older. Hearing is a passive experience in which sounds may or may not be received and perceived by the ear and then sent into the brain for stimulation.
Listening is not passive. It is active. Listening involves really using our ears as an organ of consciousness. When we hear, we do not discriminate between the sounds around us. We may be unaware of them. This is why sitting in silence allows us to empower listening. There are many levels of listening.
# The first level involves this enormous step of going above the passiveness of hearing into the activeness of actually listening an becoming aware of the multitude of sounds that surround us. Through listening we can begin to open up to sound. All sounds come up out of silence, take on form, do manifest and fall down into silence. So listening to sounds in this way you can see sounds as signs to silence.
# The second level of listening involves the perception of harmonics in the sounds we are hearing.
# The third level of listening involves the use of imagination. We often do this naturally when we listen to certain pieces of music that seem to take us places.
# A fourth level of listening involves transforming the physical plane reality of sound to an alternative reality, travelling to other planes of existence on the sound .
# A fifth level to meditate upon is silence. As we began in silence, so we end in silence. For, as already said, all sound comes from silence and returns back to silence. And silence is not the absence of something but the awareness of the availability of everything.
There is a lot to discover with ‘only’ listening. Active listening to sounds can make you aware of direction, distance, loudness, frequencies, vibration, form, rhythm, melody, harmony in the here and now. You can even give names to the sounds (like bird or car sound).
And… listening is free. Free of charge and a free choice.
I hope this week blog invite you to give listening a chance.
An invitation to give yourself the gift to be aware of the sounds of life.
(Thanks to so more understanding and insight because of lessons of Jonathan Goldman, Suren Shrestha, Inayat Khan, The Chinese International Buddhist Temple and the Buddhist University ‘Wat Suan Dok’ Chiang Mai).
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