The role of meditation is to become a seed point for an active calm that can grow into the rest of your life. Sound based meditations give us a special chance to simplify the mind, unclutter the thinking and bring in this active calm, the presence of True Self.
The basic technique with any sound-meditation is:
1. Listen inwards to the sound you hear. Listen so deeply it becomes like diving into a warm pool, the sound IS your entire space.
2. “Watch” the sound change as it fades, the harmonic structure evolves as the note ‘decays.’ – Stay within in.
3. Notice if you can find the exact moment that the sound becomes inaudible. As you do this, you will find the note continuing inside you after it no longer comes in through the ears.
4. “Listen” to this inner note that arose out of the outer note, until that too fades.
5. Observe how your inner space has been changed by this listening process, by the note itself. Rest in this inner “temple” space.
– repeat the note and this process as often as you feel. Each time you’ll notice the temple becoming stronger and clearer.
Short sequences of notes on a Sounding Bowl can have profound effects in body and soul. You can find a sequence that has meaning for you, selecting notes from your bowl that move you or you can find in various spiritual traditions sequences of notes that have served many over centuries.
A popular sequence is B,A,E,D, a descending sequence within the pentatonic scale.
The essence of this meditation is to make our being in our bodies more harmonious. Based in that truth that we are spiritual beings seeking an incarnate experience rather than physical beings seeking a spiritual experience, these notes and intervals are about harmonising our passage into this body, this moment, this lifetime, the better that we may give the gifts that lie within us. This sequence comes from the work of Rudolf Steiner.
Find the strings for these four notes on your bowl, (you can mark strings with sharpies and wipe off later) then settle into the first note, using the techniques above.
Once this has opened up the space for you, repeat the first note then add the second note while the first is still sounding, feeling the movement within, the harmonic and melodic progression. Then, sounding the first note again, move onto the second and the third note and once again give yourself time to feel into the movement that happens within before returning to the strings and sounding the whole sequence. Becoming familiar with the movements allows more focus on the inner effects. The more you repeat this, the mroe the flow itself becomes a feature within you.
There are two distinct areas of enquiry here:
- ‘Where is the note or interval coming from?’ This enquiry leads into the hidden source of the manifest world in the unmanifest.
- ‘What changes are occurring in me in response?’ This enquiry leads into the inner nature, and very source of, the self – body, soul, and spirit.
Ultimately, if you find your way into the very essence of these spaces they become the same source, but finding that far/deep essence can be a lifetime’s enquiry. Initially they are two distinct directions of equal importance, and become mutually fertilising.
You can also explore such questions as: “How can the spaces within this interval be seen, be felt?” and “what can I find as the true source of this interval?” or “what comes to me through the space-between these notes?”
Do not seek verbal answers, ignore the mind for now. The more you ignore it the more wonderful and deep seeing its answers become. And yet, they are still mind answers. Questions will always take you further than answers will.
This is not about learning, it is about becoming, about Being, in this world, gladly.
Follow the music
NB: If your instrument is tuned to a pentatonic that does not include these notes you can use different notes on the same intervals. Any whole tone pentatonic or diatonic scale will have these intervals amongst it’s notes. Do ask for guidance if you are not sure how to apply this pattern to what you have.