As I talk about facilitating sound meditations I am often asked – “what is it?” – and it’s a really good question.
Every practitioner has their own take on it, their own training, lineage, philosophy, or viewpoint. And I do not believe there is any right or wrong about it, as I believe all are well intended, so I will only speak from my own perspective.
To me, sound is as ancient as it gets, no? All creation starts with frequency, vibration, sound, and it is what holds ‘form’ in place at any given time.
“Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.”
– Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University (quote taken from “The Mental Universe” ; Nature 436:29,2005)
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”
– Gautama Buddha
I do not have a science background. I haven’t studied in the Himalayas. I’m not all that smart really, although I do like to read and research. I have been studying the healing properties of sound and music for over 7 years, mostly to confirm what I intuitively know. I seem to feel like my internal knowing is not enough. Kinda done with that idea.
The first time I experienced a sound meditation I knew in my bones it was the missing link. And I knew I knew exactly what to do and how to do it. Oddly, it’s really where I started with music. As a kid I used to sit at my dad’s piano and hammer out repetitive drones that entranced me. My dad thought I was a talent-less dolt. I didn’t care, caring came later.
Growing up I was surrounded by jazz and big band music. That’s what my mom and dad did. I fell asleep to them rehearsing in the basement. Then I got into teeny-bopper bubblegum music (I’m still a sucker for a pop song with good hook!), then the caring started. While all my friends were into the usual rock music, I went along, went to concerts, and enjoyed some of it. At home I was listening to stuff none of my friends were. I got into Charles Mingus, Stanley Clarke, Stevie Wonder. Then some punk & new wave, The Pretenders, Blondie, The Eurythmics, then Laurie Anderson, Natalie Cole, Prince, Steve Reich, Keith Jarrett, Peggy Lee, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, the list goes on and on.
Before I ‘went public’, I was experimenting with delays and loops on a little Tascam 4-track recorder (which I still have, along with the cassettes, omg) in my little studio apartment and I was in heaven. The cosmic sounds kept me at peace for hours into the night. There was nothing better.
Anyway, played in bands, singer/songwriter, traveled, blah blah, and never totally felt at home. I hadn’t seen another road. I always wanted to take the listener on a journey. It was never so much about me.
Cut to sound meditations: it finally all made sense. My musical life and my spiritual life aligned. Years of yoga practice, Vedantic studies, and reiki all joined together with my passion for sound and music. *PHEW* Halleloo.
My approach to sound meditations is to truly take a participant on a sonic journey. The participant’s listening, their openness, their willingness to surrender to the ride is as much a part of the process as is my playing. I create a hybrid of acoustic and electronic sounds, incorporating loops and vocals. I always say, first you will hear the sounds, then you will begin to listen, then you will BECOME the sound. That’s when the experience gets really deep, diving through the surface layers of mental chatter, through self-consciousness, and onward into that still place inside where no words are needed. That place from whence we came. Complete. Intelligent. Whole.
I am still honing it, learning, and experimenting. Kinda like back in the day, in my little studio apartment, and there’s nothing better.