"There's music in the sighing of a reed;
There's music in the gushing of a rill;
There's music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres."
Lord Byron (1788-1824)

"You see, the universe is a vibration."
Alan Watts in OM Creative Meditations

The universe vibrates. Some of its vibration we see as light, some we feel as heat. Our ears perceive the vibrating waves of air molecules as sound. Some sounds seem to fit with the vibration of our nervous system, so they please us. Some are disharmonious, so they put us off. We can use sound to create harmony in us. We respond mentally and emotionally to vibrations of certain frequencies and rhythms. Church bells and temple gongs may be a call to worship, but they are also an invitation to a certain spiritual state, a physical and mental vibration of greater focus and unity. They stand out from the background noise, like a bright light in the darkness. They draw our attention and induce a vibration in us that reflects the coherent vibration of the bell or gong.

Beginning a meditation session with the sound of a deep toned bell or gong can induce a clearer mental state. We may attune to the unified vibration of the instrument.

The world is full of sound. We naturally tune out most of it as insignificant, but part of being mindful is noticing the world and our responses to it. Here is a meditation exercise you may want to practice and come back to now and then.

Sit in your meditation posture, take a few deeper, slower breaths, close your eyes and relax your body.

Give your full attention to sound. Listen. What do you hear? Observe the auditory sensation.

Note any tendency to evaluate and label sounds. You may find that you value some sounds over others. You may, for instance, notice yourself judging the relative value of the calls of a songbird and a jay or crow. See if you can put that evaluation on hold and just experience the sensation of hearing without interpretation or evaluation.

If you sit very quietly in a quiet environment, you may hear sounds in your body. In addition to your breathing, you may hear ringing or white noise in your ears, the pulsing of your blood, digestive noises, or the snaps and pops of your connective tissue as you move. Just note those sounds for the sake of awareness.

Keep opening your awareness to whatever vibrations come your way. Do you feel sound anywhere in your body other than in your ears? 

As you vibrate in the pulsing of your heart and blood, the rhythm of your breath, the firing of your nerve cells, the growth and death of the very cells of your body, soften your edges. Feel yourself as part of the vibrating universe. Relax into the harmony of it all. You are part of the whole. It vibrates you and you vibrate it back. You are one with all.

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© 2002 Tom Barrett