Meditation - Sound, Music, Silence


On 10 May 2014 Patricia Long led a retreat titled "Doorways into Meditation: Experience the Power of Sound, Music, and Silence". The day began with a quote from Joseph Campbell:

People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about.

The rapture at this workshop centered on vibrations, thoughts, and resonances. There was mantra-chanting, including "Om Namah Shivaya". There was mysticism, worth respect as metaphor regardless of one's skepticism. There were harmonies, sometimes distractingly beautiful. There was focus, the opposite (or complement) perhaps of a diffuse-attentive style of mindfulness (cf. the taxonomy in Finding the Quiet). There was honoring of self, and overcoming of barriers, and dropping of judgments, and pushing-off into deep inner waters.

Patricia read poems, including an extraordinarily apt one by Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks):

"Where Everything Is Music"

Don't worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn't matter.

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world's harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.

This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!

They derive
from a slow and powerful root
that we can't see.

Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.

And, as Patricia observed, "All sounds are potentially music." (Yes, and that applied to occasional ambulance sirens passing by outside!)

Personal footnotes:

  • when describing what came to mind during one exercise — "I felt the space around my hands."
  • when asked what I seek from meditation — "That is the question. I don't know. Is that an answer? Or a pass?"
  • when reminded by Patricia of her observation in January, that I suffer from "Humility Overload" — "Thank you."
  • when discussing goals — "I try to help people find balance. Including myself."

(cf. Thoughts Drop (2014-01-22), Meditation Retreat (2014-01-28), ...) - ^z - 2014-10-06