Song: the perfect antidote to the banal

Cover Picture

‘There is a room around this song.’

Shocked, she wondered who thought of that? She asked who put this room in this library of other rooms to hold all the songs? It is called a ‘college of music,’ but an original college was a partnership, like the word ‘colleague’ today, not a huge institution with a whole unique ethos, surging forward, attracting fame and sponsorship, competing with other such urban necessities. Walls within walls, never still.

First everything is encased, captured. Then we must build a wall around it to hold it still, to make it stay so we can perpetuate it. Even the strings of this magical instrument ‘the piano’ that I am permitted to caress only the black and white teeth of are secreted away beneath designed wood, constructed, boxed. Must I play with these limits? Must I be held back? But wait! Questions are also constructed, their answers filed away in drawers.

Then suddenly amidst all this obsessive division, we will begin the song.

I have seen your face once or twice appearing and disappearing through doors and mirrors, your wine red lips, the hushed eyes of others with voice, the mutterings of your reputation, your talent. The light of you switches off and on again as you perambulate through the banal between songs, eating and drinking of necessity, speaking if spoken to, but saying as little as possible. You have always known that speaking the mundane is the poison, and you have found the perfect antidote in song.

You appear in this room indicating with your paper mantras – your score, as a talking point to get started, holding on to it scarcely with singing fingers. My mantras stand upright on the music desk only touched at the edges, but yours are cradled against the opaque skin of your forearms. Both are heavily marked, pencil, scratches, another kind of mantra made with numbers and symbols in Italian.

Before we start, oh how I long to get started, must there be this kind of foreplay? We both know that the poison is slowly killing us. Should we prolong the suffering for the sake of others? Should we stay to be like those who have not taken the antidote? Comfort in numbers, not to stand out for fear of being condemned as arrogant, or different?

The poison of containment behind walls and below roof tugs hopelessly at the fixed anchor of time. The tyranny of the visible, the prolongation of object permanence well into adulthood. Close the door, the drawer, the coffin lid, and now it’s gone. And the demented denial of the invisible, the inaudible, the untouchable, all the time the clammy jacket of space squeezing us tightly, holding us still until we are certain we really exist.

They do not realize that the poison of our ignorance and blindness hold us back, confine us, suffocating because we monopolize oxygen and are terrified that it will run out.

But once the learned conventions have been delivered, we can concentrate on the mirrors, polishing them up, breathing on them, rubbing, and they soon start to reflect. No decision to make about which of these miraculous antidotes to apply because they all work. The pages of scores are vague references, tacit, of no more concern so tossed aside.

We begin. We breathe as one in gratitude for the loan of just this one breath, and then the next, one at a time: gratitude and breath are key conditions that will make the antidote work.

I will start the song with breath-placed bent fingers perched on the cool ivory. Their tips are singing and they are calmed by air which convinces them that their nails should not tear away the wooden confines boxing in the gorgeous strings.

Seated beneath you, I am thrilled to be the soft underbelly of our union. My legs and feet drive the pedals, operate the dampers, quickly ‘on’ and ‘off,’ to promote the resonance or stop it summarily. I must be master of the used air in this song’s room because breath is required between strings and dampers, one for each key, an airiness which keeps the vibrations regular, oxygenation of the felt pads. Breath is also necessary for the highest treble strings, fine, taught, connected to the heavens; and the lowest bass, thick, loose, connected to earth which I never need to dampen with my foot pressure.

The convention of vocal song says that the accompanying instrument will start to set the mood. But I fail to notice the start because the antidote is already working. I am no longer conscious. ‘I’ has disappeared, leaving behind only poised fingers and forearms to weight them down. Fingertips and joints ripple and pivot, merging with you even before you let out a sound. There can be no human insubordination now.

The ethereal kiss is a delusion in the showcase of romance. The poison of possession, of fixing each appointed victim completely still with lips and arms, of pressing body weight, of the burn of skin friction and static. Crude, abstract, a stab in the dark, mirrors filthied by the poison and no antidote in sight.

Separate humans jammed together, confined, last-ditch, crammed in drawers and behind doors.

Conversely, this airy kiss of fingertips on strings is the perfect reflection of yours on lips like wild geese. Air and sound are only an apparition in the visible.

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Transcending All Separations in Sound

Cover Picture
 The energy of sound and its perception is an ancient force which has mostly been overwhelmed and replaced by visual energy in modern times. Today, people cannot often surrender themselves entirely to listening, to soaking up pure sound for its own sake, without meaning or pictures or associations, or to listening to each other wholeheartedly without judging.

It is intellectually accepted that the energy of sound is composed of vibrations, but how many people regard sound in this way? Opening oneself so that the vibrational patterns of incoming sound can merge with one’s personal vibrational receptors and then allowing the physiology to react without blocking, is rare. This ‘allowing’ oneself to be touched and moved by vibrational patterns is an important dimension of healing, or apprehending the invisible world, of being fully alive. 

In this way, we can maintain contact with the universe and the magical forces of Nature. Receiving sound and merging with it is our true energetic nature. It balances, it moves with our energies, never remaining still. This is the expression of pure life. Buddhists call it the Dharma, Chinese chi, Christians spirit, the ancients, Harmonices Mundi – the Music of the Spheres. We can see this balance and dynamics in the design of this magnificent temple Byodo-in below.

The ancients, our ancestors, were closely in touch with sound. They knew that if they could produce it in certain skillful ways, they would be able to balance not only the immediate environment and the sensing beings in it, but also contribute to the massive banks of sound of indestructible energy stored in the universe. 

Today, sound tends to be a fashion statement, mass-produced, elitist, wallpaper, an accompaniment to images, an escape from reality and natural life. Urban environments are populated by people pursuing status and wealth who spend their leisure time plugged into devices which receive sound, but are they truly listening and not just using ‘their’ sound to shield them from reality and assert their individuality and separateness? Some might say that plugging in and becoming impervious to others or the natural universe is a violent act of arrogance or deliberate isolation from others, a refusal to be aware.

Sound has nowadays become a commodity listed in a ‘purchases’ category, or downloaded to ‘my playlist,’ or even stolen from its producer without rightful payment. We are the consumer, pinning down what we have paid for, appropriating it and turning it into our knowledge and materials to build our profile with. This is a travesty of sound. It is not a commodity.

Ancient Chinese philosophy and medical systems viewed all life in terms of Yin and Yang, the opposites of energy or matter, which are never static but in a constantly changing relationship of balance. The four seasons are a notable example of this. Others are darkness and light, sun and moon, feminine and masculine. The five elements of the universe, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, are essential to balance also. Fully cognizant of this, ancient people strived to make musical instruments, which would fulfill this need.

In Korea, the zither was created according to these principles. There were two types: one which is known as the female and the other the male. The I Ching, an ancient Chinese text used for divination, refers to them as instruments reflecting the ‘resilience of woman’ and ‘the braveness of man.’ Modern discontented people may object to this seeming gender discrimination or segregation, but it is a fact that the universe operates on such contrasts. 

It is only in the mundane visible world that we make such differences, such separations. In the ‘invisible’ world of sound and spirit, there is no real separation into genders, no attachment to differences: so, we can and must transcend such separations. 

The female Gayageum has silk strings plucked and struck with the bare hands to give a range of sensitive sounds. The male Geomungo also has silk strings, thicker to produce a lower tone, 16 frets, and is struck with a bamboo stick to produce a percussive sound. Two different qualities can harmonize together to create a whole. 

The shapes of both instruments are strongly influenced by Yin and Yang. Both the Gayageum and Geomungo have a prominent rounded front representing the vault of the heavens, while the back is flat, representing the Earth; the front is constructed from softwood of the Paulownia tree, while the back is made from hardwood of the chestnut tree. The hollow interior of the Gayageum represents the 6 directions, 4 cardinal compass points and up and down, and its 12 strings the calendar. Flat versus rounded, soft versus hard, plucked versus strummed: all of these are aspects of Yin and Yang, and all necessary for balance.

The Geomungo has only 6 strings each with a name: the two outer strings are bungen, the civilian, and bugen, the soldier, characters or types which appear in the I Ching. If their conflicts can be harmonized, then the glories of music have triumphed over the lower minds of humans. The Geomungo gradually was withdrawn from use as a concert instrument to entertain an audience to be employed solely as an aid to spiritual elevation.

Sound is sacred. If we live our daily lives with this awareness, it will help us to live naturally, without friction in our interactions with others, or in our general performance in the visible world. 

Kind words, sincerity and unconditional love need to be the main constituent of our vocal utterances in everyday transactions. This combined with the gift of truly listening to each other, to genuinely receiving the sound utterances of others, will once again create balance in the wider perspective.

Images: Courtesy of Megapyxl –

Byodo-in Temple in Kyoto, Japan – <b>© <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/sepavo-stock-images-videos-portfolio”>Sepavo</a&gt; | <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/&#8221; title=”Premium Stock Photos”>Megapixl.com</a></b>

Beautiful Peacock Roof Design – <b>© <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/lucyinsisu-stock-images-videos-portfolio”>Lucyinsisu</a&gt; | <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/&#8221; title=”Premium Stock Photos”>Megapixl.com</a></b> of megapxyl.com and Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments, Japan.

Sound Healer’s web banner – <b>© <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/nikkizalewski-stock-images-videos-portfolio”>Nikkizalewski</a&gt; | <a href=”https://www.megapixl.com/&#8221; title=”Premium Stock Photos”>Megapixl.com</a></b>

Zithers and player copyright: Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments, Japan.

Temple Chronicle: 9th February

no demons or dialogues

Our minds trick us into living constantly with negative and unnatural thoughts. All around us, there are many other negative energies exhibiting themselves in the world which overcome us with their cheap perfume. But they are unreal and regularly projected onto vulnerable beings. The state of ‘LovingKindness’ means that we gently but firmly refuse to take on these negative missiles, and with the vibration of pure love and light, bring a new awareness to the projectionist. A smile, a loving touch, can bring something new to someone who is jostled by fear. Those who project have wide staring human eyes, but they are outcasts from their own hearts, shivering in the cold. They understandably lash out at the nearest person, and likely those they are closest to.

The outcasts are not separate from us. We cannot reject them or escape from them because they are mirror images. All humanity is viewable in the cosmic mirror in one vast sky. It is only the thoughts which prize us into separate beings, arms and legs, parted lips, and certain permissions – to condemn, to adore, to decline from comment. The awakening of the entire species is our collective concern. A sincere smile is sufficient to rouse the oblivious, and eventually, the fragrance of divinity will seep through the strata.

LovingKindness is not something spiritual traditions have created or generated. It is eternal and interstellar, but we have found a way to uncover it. It is the fragrance of the flame of divinity which we can kindle with our wisdom at this time of disintegration.

Each flame is different and essential to the completed glow of full harmony and happiness.

image

Applying Divine Systems of the Sacred Universe to our Human Lives

 

human potential 2The energy of sound and its perception is an ancient force which has mostly been overwhelmed and replaced by visual energy in modern times. Today, people cannot often surrender themselves entirely to listening, to soaking up pure sound for its own sake, without meaning or pictures or associations, or to listening to each other wholeheartedly without judging. It is intellectually accepted that the energy of sound is composed of vibrations, but how many people regard sound in this way? Opening oneself so that the vibrational patterns of incoming sound can merge with one’s personal vibrational receptors, and then allowing the physiology to react without blocking, is rare.

This allowing oneself to be touched and moved by vibrational patterns is an important dimension of healing, or apprehending the invisible world, of being fully alive. In this way, we can maintain contact with the universe and the magical forces of Nature. Receiving sound and merging with it is our true energic nature. It balances, it moves with our energies, never remaining still. This is the expression of pure life. Buddhists call it the Dharma, Chinese chi, Christians spirit, the ancients, Harmonices Mundi – the Music of the Spheres.

The ancients, our ancestors, were closely in touch with sound. They knew that if they could produce it in certain skilful ways, they would be able to balance not only the immediate environment and the sensing beings in it, but also contribute to the massive banks of sound of indestructible energy stored in the universe. Today, sound tends to be a fashion statement, mass-produced, elitist, wallpaper, an accompaniment to images, an escape from reality and natural life.

greater awarenessgreater awareness

Urban environments are populated by people pursuing status and wealth who spend their leisure time plugged in to devices which receive sound, but are they truly listening and not just using ‘their’ sound to shield them from reality and assert their individuality and separateness? Some might say that plugging in and becoming impervious to others or the natural universe is a violent act of arrogance or deliberate isolation from others, a refusal to be aware.

Sound has nowadays become a commodity listed in a ‘purchases’ category, or downloaded to ‘my playlist,’ or even stolen from its producer without rightful payment. We are the consumer, pinning down what we have paid for, appropriating it and turning it into our knowledge and materials to build our profile with. This is a travesty of sound. It is not a commodity.

divine link 1

Ancient Chinese philosophy and medical systems viewed all life in terms of Yin and Yang, the opposites of energy or matter, which are never static but in a constantly changing relationship of balance. The four seasons are a notable example of this. Others are darkness and light, sun and moon, feminine and masculine. The five elements of the universe, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, are essential to balance also. Fully cognisant of this, ancient people strived to make musical instruments, which would fulfil this need.

Korean zitherIn Korea, the zither was created according to these principles. There were two types: one which is known as the female and the other the male. The I Ching, an ancient Chinese text used for divination, refers to them as instruments reflecting the ‘resilience of woman’ and ‘the braveness of man.’ Modern discontented people may object to this seeming gender discrimination or segregation, but it is a fact that the universe operates on such contrasts. It is only in the mundane visible world that we make such differences, such separations. In the ‘invisible’ world of sound and spirit, there is no real separation into genders, no attachment to differences: so, we can and must transcend such separations.

gayageumThe female Gayageum has silk strings, plucked and struck with the bare hands to give a range of sensitive sounds. The male Geomungo also has silk strings, thicker to produce a lower tone, 16 frets, and is struck with a bamboo stick to produce a percussive sound. Two different qualities can harmonise together to create a whole.

The shapes of both instruments are strongly influenced by Yin and Yang. Both the Gayageum and Geomungo have a prominent rounded front representing the vault of the heavens, while the back is flat, representing the Earth; the front is constructed from softwood of the Paulownia tree, while the back from hardwood of the chestnut tree. The hollow interior of the Gayageum represents the 6 directions, 4 cardinal compass points and up and down, and its 12 strings the calendar. Flat versus rounded, soft versus hard, plucked versus strummed: all of these are aspects of Yin and Yang, and all necessary for balance.

The Geomungo has only 6 strings each with a name: the two outer strings are bungen, the civilian, and bugen, the soldier, characters or types which appear in the I Ching. If their conflicts can be harmonised, then the glories of music have triumphed over the lower minds of humans. The Geomungo gradually was withdrawn from use as a concert instrument to entertain an audience to be employed solely as an aid to spiritual elevation.

GaiaSound is sacred. If we live our daily lives with this awareness, it will help us to live naturally, without friction in our interactions with others, or in our general performance in the visible world. Kind words, sincerity and unconditional love need to be the main constituent of our vocal utterances in everyday transactions. This combined with the gift of truly listening to each other, to genuinely receiving the sound utterances of others, will once again create balance in the wider perspective.

natural practice