My dear friends…
We continue this week in our extraordinary exposition on how to move into what I have been calling The Holy Experience. Last week we said here that meditators are often told that a good way to begin their practice is tolisten to the sound of their own breath. Move deeply into the sound, meld with it, become one with it.
Training ourselves to listen to the sounds of life and to seek Resonance with life is a wonderful beginning on the path to Non-Awareness of the Self. We experience our Selves not as individuals, but as part of the Whole in the moments of transcendence that focusing on nothing but sound can create.
Resonance is the first tool of the Five Tools of Non-Awareness of the world. That is because when you use Resonance, when you connect with the environment of your physicality by checking to see how resonant you are with it (yes, Resonance can be felt), you can lose the awareness of yourself as an entity separate from life itself. You can get lost in your experience of sublime resonance with, say, sound.
Who in our world has not done this? You can, quite literally, lose yourself in the sound of a symphony orchestra, or in the sound of crickets at night, or in the sound of ocean waves gently washing over a beach, or, for that matter, in the sound of silence.
Yes, silence—which we sometimes erroneously think of as no sound at all—is the most entrancing state of Resonance of all.
Silence is Resonance. When you listen deeply to the silence, you will experience the natural Resonance of Life Itself. When you merge fully with the silence, you emerge fully from your sense of Self as a singular Other, and experience that there is no “other” in the Universe. You become One. With everything. You become resonant with it.
That is why all great mystical teachers have said, Listen. To what?, the student asks. To nothing, the teacher replies. How can I listen to nothing?, the pupil begs to know, frustrated by confusion. By not listening to anything at all, the teacher replies.
And this is how that is done:
First, find a place to sit down for a moment. Do not lie down, as this may tempt you to fall asleep. You want to be fully awake and fully Aware of being Unaware.
Did you hear what I just said?
I said, You want to be fully Aware of being Unaware.
Do you understand? You must deeply understand this if you are to find your way to the Holy Experience. This is a journey, and you must deeply understand that the journey moves you from where you are to where you want to be…without you going anywhere.Nothing changes, but everything is different.
So, next, make yourself comfortable, letting go of any physical tension that you may feel in your body.
Now, close your eyes (to limit the number of receptors receiving data from your environment) and open your ears. Listen, just listen, to the world around you. Do this for a few moments, without working at it in any way. Just listen to everything there is to be heard.
Then, begin to categorize what you’re hearing. Make a mental list of the different noises to which you are listening. See how many different sounds you can identify. How many can you count?
Good. Now, begin to eliminate those sounds one at a time. That is, shift your focus away from them to the degree that you can, one at a time, until you focus keenly on only one sound.
It does not matter what that once sound is. It can be anything. Just focus your attention on that one sound, and that one sound only. You’ll still hear the other sounds, but they will be in the background. Listen intently to thesingle sound.
In a quiet room, this could be the sound of your own breathing. In a place where there is more noise, this could be the sound of an air conditioner, or of music playing, or of people walking on a hardwood floor.
If you can’t pick a sound that it pleases you to isolate and focus upon, make your own sound. That’s right, make a sound that you like, and focus on that. Some monks do this, and they call it om-ing. They make the sound of om, and they listen to themselves doing it!
Do this and you will find that you can get lost in that sound. That is, the “you” that you think you are will literally be “lost” in the single sound, and Resonant with it. You will lose your sense of self and begin feeling at-one- ment with the sound itself. Don’t ask yourself why. Just let it happen.
Chanting can do this for some people very quickly. Either listening to chanting, or actually doing the chanting. Chanting can be enchanting.
Music can also be entrancing in this way, as was observed before.
Sound, which is an immediately and easily accessible way to experience Resonance, can be an effective tool and a wonderful pathway to enlightenment, a doorway into the Holy Experience.
You may wish to make it a habit to listen to life in this way for five minutes each day. The nice thing about this is that you can do this at any time, in any place. Just stop what you are doing for five minutes and listen. Listen. Listen to all the sounds of the moment, then pick out a sound that you choose to focus on and pay particular attention to that. Moveinto the sound. Become one with it.
You can do this at an airport or a train station. In a busy department store or on a street corner. At home or at work. Or listening to a symphony. And once you get into the habit of using this sound idea, you will find yourself wanting to do it again and again. You may even find yourself, in a sense,addicted to sound. Because you will discover that isolating and focusing on a particular sound can bring you enormous peace.
Warning: Do not do this while driving, or operating heavy machinery.
You think I am kidding, and I am not.
Hugs and love,