Any movement and micro-movement can be explored to infinite depths of subtlety as a way to viscerally connect with the fine waves of sensations normally overlooked. By allowing the mind to follow and feel vibrations usually not considered, at a certain point, the mind begins to recognize sensations in parts of the body that might illicit a small “Oh wow!” reaction.
As the exploration into subtlety goes deeper, the reaction can be a bigger, “OH WOW!” along with a sense of wonderment that we’ve not connected with or acknowledged these subtleties sooner in our lives, considering how close they have always been!
Feeling deeper and deeper into the overall sensation of the body, one begins to sense that the chanting/toning of Om can be guided from within to vibrate in resonance with what feels like an underground reverberation. In other words, the chanting of Om is fine-tuned by the resonance of the underlying Hum of Creation!
As you continue to relax and feel into the subtle vibrations in the palms (that were started by clapping the hands together, see Part II), you might begin to feel the overall sensation of the body…and ultimately the Hum or Om Vibration. By tuning the mind inwardly on the subtle vibrations, it begins to apprehend its connection with the underlying Hum of all vibrations…felt as One Resonance!
The vocalized sound of Om is a representation of this “One Resonance.” Embedded in this resonance is a sweetness that can be tuned into while toning (or chanting) Om. The vocalizing of Om can be thought of as getting the motor of the body and especially the spinal currents running.
Just like in clapping the hands, the vibrations started in the vocal cords can be—through resonance—felt throughout the body, especially the nasal cavities, lower abdomen, heart area, spine, etc.
The sweetness of the Bliss vibration has a particular resonance that can be tuned into. Like tuning the guitar, or any instrument, the body/mind/psyche can be tuned to the Resonance of Bliss!
Sometimes the body and mind need to be warmed-up in order to get into the flow of creativity, into the flow of the ingoing trance states. The use of rhythm and repetition can be of great help. For instance, the repetition of certain words, like “Divine,Divine, Divine, Divine….etc.” while rhythmically and gently moving the body (dance-like) can be used to quickly and easily enter the first stages of meditative trance and the flow of creativity…and with the Bliss Resonance.
The use of rhythm and repetition is a way to “prime-the-pump” of the mind to connect with the subtle sensations of the Life Force…and this connection is a delicate balancing act of tuning into what feels like an underlying resonance of all sensations together…felt as one overall sensation…one Hum.
This initial connection need not be a “Big Wow, knock your socks off” kind of transformative experience. The important point here is to feel the overall vibration/sensation of the body…and to notice the inward focusing shifts of the mind as it notices subtlety of sensations (however slight).
This initial connection with subtlety need only be a simple noticing of the inward flowing of the mind…as opposed to the usual and habitual outward flowing mind. Now, the “simple noticing of the inward flowing mind” creates a reference point, an inner acknowledgment that gives the mind a knowingness in how to go deeper and deeper into the subtle currents of the body, especially in the spinal currents.
I like to think of certain emotions as being “harmonics” or “overtones” of the fundamental vibration of Love. For example, the feelings of gratitude and joy can be thought of as overtones or harmonics of Love.
Just as in singing, the overtones or “partials” have a direct correlation to the fundamental note being sung. They seem to hover above the dominant note.
Merriam Webster defines the word overtone (in its musical connotation):
one of the higher tones produced simultaneously with the fundamental and that with the fundamental comprise a complex musical tone
And Webster’s simple definition:
an idea or quality that is suggested without being said directly
If we tune into the frequency or fundamental vibration of Love, the overtones of Love would be gratitude, joy, etc. Can you see where I’m going with this?
I believe that the power in mantras (sacred sanskrit prayers) are in the overtones. In overtone singing (or throat singing), the overtones or harmonics seem to float over the fundamental note being sung. They sound ethereal…and the effects can be felt in the body, ranging from relaxing to ecstatic.
The fine vibrations of the overtones seem to create “suggestions” or “echoes” of sensations, exquisitely felt in the spine and in the body as Bliss.
If you’d like to experience (and feel) the power of vocal overtones for yourselves, I have some free lessons that I offer to get you started. All it takes is a childlike willingness to play, along with an openness to deeply feel. The free lessons can be found here.
The following techniques are guidelines to help you get the feel and sound of the high, medium and low register overtones. Once you are familiar with the sounds and comfortable in creating the overtones, you will discover your own techniques and unique sounds to explore. These techniques should in no way strain the vocal cords. In fact, the quality of the voice and breathing capacity should improve with practice. Have fun with the techniques! Remember, no forcing or straining. The overtones come when you are deeply relaxed!
Higher Register: the harmonics sound similar to high whistling.
Tip of tongue behind the upper front teeth
Make small movements with the lips and tongue to get the overtones vibrating.
EE as in “year”
Listen especially during the transition between the “y” to “ee” sound, and then from “ee” to “rr” sounds.
The listening part is most important. Take note of how the sound changes with very slight movements in tongue position. Experiment with volume (low to high). The EE sound corresponds to the spiritual eye and crown centers. Pay attention to these areas as you practice.
It is also important to note that you are already creating harmonics with your voice. This is what makes your voice unique. The techniques you are learning are just ways to tune into and magnify certain notes or “partials.”
Mid Register: the harmonics sound like ethereal flutes.
OH as in OM
Lips slightly round and tongue flat on bottom of mouth and slightly pulled towards back of throat. Visualize small grapefruit expanding the space in the mouth. The sound of OH corresponds to the root chakra (at base of spine), giving a sense of grounding and connection with Earth energies.
UU as in “you.”
With slightly round lips, sing UU and then move the tongue slightly and slowly forward. Listen to the changes in harmonics. Repeat. Again, experiment with volume. The sound of UU corresponds to the throat area, the seat of creativity and expression.
Lower Register: The harmonics sound guttural (similar to Tibetan Buddhist chanting). The lower register can also sound like low notes of a flute or like someone blowing sideways on the opening of a bottle. The harmonics are produced in the back of the throat in general but can also be produced throughout the mouth with practice.
OH as in “OM”
Relax the throat and open up the back of the throat and nasal passages. As you tone the sound of “OH” create a cavity in the mouth (visualize the grapefruit) and push air out through the mouth and nasal passage. This takes a bit of practice. Experiment with going back and forth with pushing air out mostly through the mouth and then a combination of through the mouth and nose.
Sound of motor: with lips closed (no air going through), make the sound of a motor (kind of like a sawing sound) high in the nasal cavities. When you get this sound, try opening the mouth to add overtones from the expanded space.
In practicing the upper, middle and lower range harmonics, keeping the nasal passages open and allowing some air and vibration to pass through this area is a great help in producing the harmonics. In the beginning, however, it may not feel natural and so to get a feel for this, practice with mouth closed for a little while. Hum through the nose and listen to each of the aforementioned sounds.
With time and practice you will learn to hear a wide range of harmonics and will begin to project greater energy in sounding out different overtones at the same time. You will then be able to create your own unique combinations of overtones that will help you towards a greater sense of well being and balance.
Have fun with your practice and let me know how you are coming along.
This past weekend I had the great fortune of having my injured shoulder treated by Jeffrey Yuen, an 88th generation Taoist Master of the Jade Purity School, Yellow Emperor/Lao Tzu Sect, ordained by 87th Generation Taoist Master Yu Wen (Jeffrey’s adoptive Grandfather). I was invited to be a demonstration subject at his workshop, which was hosted by a good friend of ours, Kathryn P. White, Ph.D., DHM, MTOM. An incredible healer in her own right, Kathryn is the President and Founder of the American University of Complementary Medicine (AUCM) in Beverly Hills, California.
As the workshop focused upon the use of gems and stones in the practice of Classical Chinese Medicine, Dr. Yuen used stones and crystals instead of the customary needle upon certain acupuncture points. He did not pierce the skin but instead used the sharp points of the stones and pressed fairly deeply upon the points. He also used a scraping technique around the shoulder area called “Gua Sha.” The effects were quite remarkable as the flow of energy felt in the body was pronounced and gave much relief to my shoulder. He also recommended elixirs made up from specific stones as further treatments to be continued at home.
Dr. Yuen seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of Taoism and the Classics of Chinese Medicine and he artfully combines this knowledge with an intuitive understanding that enables him to connect quickly and deeply with underlying causes of illness.
Of great interest to me was his recommendation of the use of certain “animal” sounds for strengthening the tendons. Although the “Six Healing Sounds” in Classical Chinese Medicine are quite powerful, he recommended the animal sound of “huummph!” (I’m not sure this spelling is quite correct). He also recommended “Waah!” These reminded me of certain Japanese martial art “kiais” that I’m familiar with. The kiai is a way of generating and focusing powerful internal energy.
Try this out whenever you feel stuck or in a rut: I have mentioned this elsewhere on the blog, but it bares repeating. Just start writing…or drawing. No editing, no letting up with the flow of energy that is being expressed. Allow it to move, to gain momentum, to gain velocity and power. For this to occur, a deep letting go is required; a letting go of the desire to have things just right, releasing all attachments to how you think things “should be.” Of course the whole purpose is to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes it just needs a kick-start.
Just a sidenote: a lot of what gets expressed may be meaningless drivel…and that’s ok. You will find this exercise to be lots of fun and becomes easier with practice. The mind falls into a rhythm that takes the consciousness into a deep trance state. The energy gets relaxed and yet awareness is heightened.
This is similar to “stream of consciousness” or “automatic” writing. The power comes from getting into the vibration or rhythm of the experience. It is a form of meditation wherein the awareness drops into a state of just enjoying the moment…observing the energy as it expresses.
It is also similar to shamanic drumming, merging with the constant beat of the drum and allowing the mind to enter the deep states of trance. A lot of creative work can then be done from that mental framework.
Repetitive use of mantras and affirmations are other rhythmic means to access the inner states. This all ties in with the concept of “entrainment” wherein different states of awareness are influenced and “entrained” or brought into vibratory “resonance” with whatever rhythmic means are used.
If you don’t have a drum (or bells), try clapping the hands in rhythmic fashion (usually around 4 beats per second) to entrain the mind to enter the relaxed “alpha” and “theta” states.
Of course, there are infinite variations that shamans and healers use to prepare the body and mind, and there are certain rituals and protocols that can be used. Just find what works for you. Conscious walking or dancing can work. Again, the idea is to use rhythm to entrain the mind. The purpose is to use this mental state to generate the required energetic grid to magnetically attract what you envision or pray for.
I remember in high school running for the cross country team. We would spend hours running everyday. It did not slip my attention that during those moments and through each day, I always felt so good. I did not fall into moods for the most part. I wondered about this even then, attributing it somehow to the constant and hypnotic rhythm of our breath and the repetitive pattering of feet on the earth. Even now, one of my favorite forms of exercise is walking and jogging. My practice, however, involves the conscious use of rhythm, entraining the mind to revolve around certain sounds such as “Ah” or “Om.” Or I might use the repetition of a prayer or mantra. With practice you find the prayer going by itself, as though you’re just observing the energy move of itself. It’s fun and relaxing, never something “I have to practice.” It’s a great way to just be in the moment.
The idea of “runners’ high” is generally understood by people, that long distance runners create certain amounts of endorphins that give them feelings of well being. In a sense, runners seem to enter into a kind of trance state, getting into the “zone” as many athletes refer to.
In any type of practice where you consciously use techniques of entrainment to enter trance states, it requires a certain openness of mind that allows the possibilities that different states of consciousness and even different dimensions can be accessed beyond the ordinary and familiar states that seem to be so hardwired in our day to day awareness. In a lot of ways it is like learning to become as a child again, where magical creatures and spirits can be seen in places an adult might consider just “ho-hum.” In the world of the child, swaying trees can become dear friends that they love to climb upon and spend hours with. And through the eyes of the child, it is so easy to see mystical creatures and faces in the play of wind and leaves.
Whatever modality of entrainment is used, drumming, chanting, running, singing, writing, drawing, etc., another layer of awareness seems to open up which involves an intersection between dimensions of waking and dream states and also the dissolution of time itself. More on this later…
The use of listening as it relates to rhythm and sound are ways to induce deep states of trance and for expanding consciousness. Take a moment to listen on the inside. Listen not only with the ears but with the deepest awareness of the most subtle vibrations of thought and feeling. You may hear external noises and perhaps the beating of your heart. You may hear the sounds of breath as it goes in and out. As you listen, the body and mind naturally begins to withdraw energy from external noises, and as you focus within, the inner sounds become more and more noticeable. Listen and focus upon what you hear. Just listen without mental judgment. Allow consciousness to be immersed in the vibration of the inner sound, however it may manifest.
Keep the eyes quiet and unmoving and you may find that the thoughts come to a point of stillness. With closed eyes there is the chance of drifting into sleep, which is not the purpose of this exercise. The idea is to get into a conscious state of deep trance wherein the mind is quiet and yet you are still aware in an expanded way. It helps to keep the eyes closed and slightly uplifted (without straining) to stay awake. With the practice of keeping the eyes still, you will find that thoughts quickly drop away. From the vantage point of deep relaxation, you may find awareness flitting between total lucidity and sleep. By keeping the body totally still (in sitting posture), the feeling of expansion will increase beyond the body. Just observe, without fighting thoughts. The mind then becomes a screen upon which you, the Observer, watches the panorama of thoughts and memories as they pass through. Again, just observe.
The whole purpose of this practice is to allow a glimpse into the wider consciousness beyond the attachments and fickleness of the normally agitated mind. It allows a look into dimensions outside of time. The use of certain chants or mantras can help if you understand the use of vocal harmonics. Vocal harmonics are a way of singing 2, 3 or more notes at the same time. You all produce harmonics naturally through your voice. That is what gives the voice its unique sound. Without harmonics your voices would all sound the same. The conscious use of vocal harmonics magnifies the power of prayers and mantras. It also quickly entrains the mind to enter deep states of trance where much creative work can be accomplished.
When the low note of C on a piano is struck, the other C notes begin to vibrate (creating sound) because they harmonically resonate with the struck key. With the human voice, certain notes can be sung to not only vibrate other notes in the vocal apparatus but to also vibrate different areas of the body, including the organs and the spiritual centers known as chakras.
The practice of toning or chanting can be as simple as singing any of the vowel sounds: a, e, i, o, u. Or it can be a chanting of certain mantras such as “OM”, “HUM”, or “AH” or any combination such as “Om-Ah-Hum.” The idea is to listen on the inside and feel. This combination of rhythm and sound will take the consciousness into deep states of relaxation and trance.
With this practice, the ability to separate the notes (vocal harmonics) will come naturally as your awareness will be able to tune into subtle sounds within and then be able to project them at the same time.
For an example of what vocal harmonics sounds like, click the link to go to “Manaka Studios.” Allow about a minute for the file to download. It’s an aif file and requires Quicktime Player. A free player can be uploaded here.
There is power in focused repetition. Can this also be used for expanding consciousness? In learning any new skill, practice and repetition will make the most difficult actions seem natural and second nature. Some of the techniques that you learned in playing the bass guitar at one point seemed beyond your capacity to master, and yet those skills seem quite simple now. The constant repetition and practice has pushed you to new levels in playing. All that was required was to see and hear how to perform the techniques. The rest was practice. Isn’t it interesting that the fingers now seem to know what to do without much effort on your part? Can you understand that there is no ceiling in what can be accomplished in any areas of human endeavor? For expanding consciousness, the use of rhythm and sound are especially helpful.
I would like greater access to dimensions beyond the earthly. How can I use the gifts that I already have to help me in this?
Again, repetition and the practice of letting go of mental attachments to body and sensory impressions is necessary. Use rhythm and sound to merge your consciousness into the field of the Universal Mind. You’re getting an inkling regarding what this means.
Everything you do can be a practice of immersion into the Cosmic Stream because all things reflect rhythm and sound. You can then use this knowledge to achieve deep states of consciousness. For example, the very practice of writing generates rhythm and sound, a kind of resonance that takes the mind and body into deep states of awareness, especially when the act of writing is approached as a form of meditation. In this way, subtle layers of thought can be accessed, allowing creativity to go in any direction.
Remember, focus and repetition are essential, but the resulting state of trance that is created is the power that actually creates for you. Use the repetition of any activity to help focus and center the mind to drive your consciousness deeper and deeper into the Creative Ocean. There really is no end to what can be manifested!
Focusing upon the breath as the nexus of awareness is a powerful practice because it is the most repetitive of all actions. Chanting and the use of mantra are also ways of using the vibration of sound and breath to create what you want. Jogging, dancing and walking are other ways to use the power of rhythm and repetition to generate dynamic magnetism.
If you find yourself caught in a certain narrow constraint of circumstance, it just requires a change in the pattern of thoughts and actions that keeps you locked in the repetitive loop of a narrow existence. Use the vibration of rhythm and sound to shake the foundations of your present limitation! You can literally “dance” and “sing” your troubles away! When the mind slows down through use of rhythm and sound, you will then have access to layers of creativity that will shift you to new dimensions.