Creating a Sound Environment

This is an excellent video by Julian Treasure, an expert on sound and the ways in which sound affects us, both negatively and positively, and how we can improve our health by being more conscious of what we listen to and how we listen to it.

As he says, "Ears are made not for hearing, but for listening." This is the basic premise for sound healing. Sound healing is not so much about specific sounds or frequencies being introduced from the outside to promote healing, but about learning to listen deeply, to open to sound and to become more and more aware of what sounds feed and nurture us and what sounds have a negative effect on us. Even deeper than that, if there is a positive effect, what is it specifically? Where do we feel it in our body? What is our response to it? Is it physical? Emotional?

Last week I was out driving and I put on a radio station that was playing 80's music which I still often enjoy. On this occasion though, I don't remember specifically what it was but I found myself becoming agitated. I thought I liked the music- I was singing along with it and knew it all by heart, obviously something I had listened to a lot at one time. But as I began paying attention to my body I realized that it really wasn't making me feel very good! I allowed myself to really tune into the experience and realized that it was music that I listened to when my life was not actually very joyful or fulfilling. I was doing a lot of drugs (cocaine, the drug of the 80's) at the time and, even though when it was happening I thought I was having "a good time" my body memory was telling me something very different- that this music was triggering feelings from a time in my life when on a deeper level I was very unhappy and really didn't like myself at all.  It was interesting because it didn't connect with one particular "bad experience". It was an overall pervasive feeling of discomfort. At that point I changed the station realizing that I wasn't actually having a positive experience from it at all.

Another concept he introduces that I love is "schizophonia"- a dislocation between what you see and what you hear. Much of the time we are introducing sound that is coming from somewhere else and unrelated to what is actually going on around us. I think this is something that may very well have a huge relationship to attention deficit "disorders". So much of the time we are trying to focus on phone conversations, videos, social networking, things that are not "current" so to speak. We actually make an effort to tune out our immediate environment so that we can have a conversation with someone who is not in our immediate vicinity. In some ways the ability to do this is most definitely a gift but I also agree with Julian Treasure that it can be at the expense of our sound health.

A few years ago I received a demo CD from White Swan Music- "Vibrational Healing" by Majorie de Muynck. The foundation is a layer of insect sounds with very meditative ambient music played over it. It was recommended by one of the sales people and I was actually very skeptical- I didn't really want to hear a Cd with a bunch of bugs on it! We weren't talking crickets- we were talking bees and they mentioned bats and frogs on the back of the CD as well; however the woman at White Swan was sure that I would love it once I heard it. I knew I would be using it for the sound table so I decided to check it out. I put the music on and lay down on the sound table. Within 30 seconds it was clear to me how important these sounds are! I realized almost immediately that they soothe and nourish the nervous system. They feed the brain. Now it is one of my most frequently played CDs for sound healing sessions!

Those sounds go along with what Julian Treasure says are 3 important sounds for our whole being- water, wind and birds... sounds that are integral to our environment and to our well-being. If you are not already doing it, start being mindful to ways in which you can create a sound environment. Take time out to listen deeply, listen to your breath, listen to the sounds in your inner being and your outer environment.  This is one simple and important way that we can balance the bombardment of mental stimuli from our advanced technology. Take time out!