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Sound Insights

Cymatics, the study of wave phenomena, pioneered in the 1950s by the late Swiss scientist, Dr Hans Jenny. Following the work of German physicist and acoustician, Ernt F.Fchladni, who towards the end of the 18th century, created intricate sand patterns by vibrating a steel plate with a violin bow, Dr Jenny employed the modern technology of the day to carry out more precisely replicable experiments. Using a sine wave generator and a speaker to vibrate various powders, pastes and liquids, Dr Jenny succeeded in making visible the subtle power through sound structures matter.

In the 1960's Robert Monroe pioneered a process in which he used specific sound frequencies to modulate brainwave states. Through headphones, he would introduce slightly different audible frequencies into each ear. Subjects reported that as the frequencies converged, they no longer heard separate tones, but rather an oscillation, like the sound heard when you tune a guitar. As the strings approach the same pitch you hear a 'wawawawawa' pulsation, the beat of which is the difference between the two frequencies.

The Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia, spent many years experimenting with these binaural beat frequencies, developing precise formulation to evoke a frequency following response, or an entraining effect, on brainwaves.

An extensive body of research documents the ability of specific frequency differentials to entrain brainwaves in such a way that a dynamic state of balance is achieved between the left and right hemispheres of the neocortex. Specific HemiSync beat frequencies can be encoded into musical compositions which are further engineered to assist the listener to reach the desired brain states ranging from relaxed or meditative states, to those of increased mental clarity and alertness.

Throughout the ages, various esoteric traditions known as the Light and Sound teaching, have proffered a simple contemplative process of deep listening, where one may actually begin to hear the subtle inner sounds at play within our nervous system.In our normal active (Beta) state, the sensory currents flow throughout our body and out into the world gather perceptions.

WE process the physical mental, and emotional sensations and navigate our environment accordingly, totally unaware of this subtle energy outflow. Yet these sensory currents are the very avenues through which most of our lifeforce is diffused into the outer world.

The Light and Sound paths teach that through controlling the play of sensory currents, rather than trying to dominate the kundalini energy, one may begin to reclaim this spiritual elixir and consolidate these energies at the third eye centre. When sufficient energy has accumulated therein, it begins to rise into the higher charkas. It is through these centers that one may begin to hear these subtle sounds.

Yet hearing the sounds is not the objective, nor is simply stilling the mind. These are but effects of concentralising ones sensory currents and allowing the energy to ascend to the higher, non-physical energetic vortices within the cranium. The sounds are very particular, each one denoting the level of consciousness to which one has tuned-in.

At first, faint buzzing or electrical-sounding noises may be heard, analogous to the static received when tuning a radio or when going online with your computer modem. If your attention remains focused, perhaps through changing a mantra to help entrain the mind, you might begin to hear the humming of bees, then the chirping of crickets. There are the various elemental sounds produced as the Nada (or Audible Life Stream or Sound Current) interacts with our nervous system.

Over time, as one masters the ability to sustain focused attention at the third eye, the sounds become clearer and more powerful: a resounding bell being struck, a conch shell being blown, the beating of a large drum, the playing of harps, the flute and finally a sound similar to bagpipes.

It is interesting to note human culture the world over have created musical instruments which mimic these subtle sounds, perhaps as archetypal echoes remind us from whence we have come, and as guideposts for our long journey back home.

This is an extract from an article by Jeff Volk in Issue 60, originally published in Kindred Spirit, Autumn 2002. The full article and details of Jeffs work can be found at www.kindredspirit.co.uk A year's UK subscription is 14 for 4 issues. Call 01803 866686