Enlightenment – Using SOUND as a Gateway

I’d like to talk today about one of my favorite subjects, and that is using sound as a gateway to experiencing oneness, and ultimately attaining enlightenment.

Sound is conceptually easy to understand the connection between yourself and the universe, but it is also a very practical way to demonstrate and experience the connection too. 

And I think experiencing something yourself is so much better than just taking it on faith.

You can also watch the video directly on YouTube if you prefer – just click here to learn this simple enlightenment technique

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If a Tree Falls in the Woods

To understand the high school physics behind sound, we can start with the age-old question, “If a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?”

I used to answer that question like most people, and say, “yes of course it does”.  But now I answer that question a little differently. Now I say “NO, if there is no one there to hear it, it does not make a sound.” 

So what’s changed in my thinking?

Well, my basic understanding of how sound works is that, as the tree falls and hits the ground with a thump, it will cause  vibrations in the air that travel to somebody’s ear.

Once the vibrations reach the ear they are converted into electrical signals and passed to the brain where those vibrations are interpreted and the mind creates the impression of sound.

Mind processing vibrations to create the experience of sound
From right to left for some reason 🙂

So the tree itself doesn’t create the sound, but your mind creates the sound from the vibrations that the tree makes.

So if there isn’t an ear for the vibrations to reach, then there is no sound, because there is no “mind” to create the sound.

When I was a kid and I first learned about frequencies and wavelengths and how our eyes perceive color, I had the question, “do we all see color the same way?”

And that could actually be true of sounds also. Because our mind is interpreting the vibration and creating a sound for us to experience, does everybody hear the same sound or does everybody hear a different sound as their mind interprets the vibration differently?

Unfortunately there’s no way to know the answer to that question because we only have our own perception to refer to. 

We all call the color of a fire extinguisher red and so we can agree that that is the name we are going to call that color, but the actual Vision that we see in our mind may be very different. 

And I wonder if that’s actually why people experience things differently because they are seeing them differently? Anyway, we are getting a little off topic here. Let’s get back to sound and enlightenment.

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Watch the mind as it processes sound

So in our first example of the tree falling in the woods, our mind creates the sound from the vibration, and it also tells us the direction that it heard the sound, and also more fundamentally, it tries to identify what made the sound.

Our mind is a fear-based survival computer, and it’s always looking out for danger. So it is constantly analyzing sounds to determine if they are a threat or not. And that means it has to try to identify every sound that it hears.

We can do a very simple experiment to demonstrate this. Listen to this little audio clip and observe what your mind does. It does it really quickly so pay attention.

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Sound experiment 1

Click to play the first audio clip

So that was pretty easy right. Your ear received the vibration from your computer speakers, and your mind created the sound for you to experience, but you will also notice that your mind identified the object really quickly and told you what it was. I don’t think anybody would have had a hard time identifying that.

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Sound experiment 2

So let’s try it again. This time try to watch your mind do that identification.

Click to play the second audio clip

Okay, so that was pretty straightforward again. Your mind identified the motorbike almost instantly. You would have also noticed that your mind was able to tell you which direction the motorbike was traveling in.  These are all survival instincts kicking in.

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Sound experiment 3

And finally, this one is a little more tricky, you may not get this one right away, but just observe the mind doing its thing.

Click to play the third audio clip

If you couldn’t identify the sound straight away, you may have noticed your mind panic a little bit and become much more alert, until it was sure that the sound wasn’t something threatening like a tiger or a lion sneaking up on you.

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Always looking for danger

So that gives you a practical demonstration of your mind interpreting a vibration coming from your computer speaker, creating a sound from that vibration for you to experience, and then looking in its internal database to try and identify the object creating the vibration, and also giving you a direction so that you can swivel your head around and know which way to run in case it is something threatening.

Mind processes all sounds to assess whether it's a threat

So all three of those examples were pretty straightforward and I don’t think would have challenged anybody. But have you ever noticed how when you hear something you’ve never heard before, how you’re full attention goes to where the sound is coming from, until you are able to figure out what it is and whether it is dangerous.

That’s just like when you wake up in the middle of the night having heard a sound, but you weren’t sure what it was. And you lie there in bed holding your breath and trying to hear the sound again. 

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The Ahaaaaaa Moment – Sound experiment 4

So with this next demonstration, we’re going to do the same thing again, but just watch what your minds does this time. It might surprise you.

Click to play the audio clip

So that was interesting. It was the same three sounds that we had before, but of course they were all played simultaneously. All three “objects” were creating vibrations and all of those vibrations were received at your ear as one combined vibration. Not three separate vibrations, but one combined vibration.

Soundwaves combine to produce one soundwave

And if you’re listening to this on your computer or your cell phone, you are literally listening to one vibration coming from one source.

Essentially one sound.

But even though conceptually you know it’s one vibration reaching your ear, your mind still splits that vibration up and creates the impression of three separate objects and identifies each one to give it a threat assessment, and gives you the direction the sound is coming from.

Mind processing multiple sounds still creates the impression of multiple objects. Use this fact to progress towards enlightenment.

So understanding that concept is fundamental to understanding how your mind interprets and creates the world around you. 

And understanding that basic premise is what gives us the gateway to enlightenment. The knowledge lets you stand on one side of that gateway, but practice and experiencing the one sound is what lets you step through the doorway.

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How do we step through the doorway to enlightenment?

So how do we do that?

What you need to learn is how to interrupt your mind and stop it interpreting the sounds, so that all sounds remain as one combined noise.

If you can do that, your mind can’t put any labels on what it hears. It can’t say, that was a motorbike, that was a lawn mower etc.

The technique I’m going to teach you is easiest to learn with a very simple repetitive sound. Something like a bell or a metronome that is fixed in one location and not moving.

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Find somewhere quiet

So before you continue with this video, find yourself somewhere quiet and away from too many other sources of sound. It doesn’t have to be completely silent but just away from too many other loud noises. 

I’m going to play the sound of a bell or a singing bowl. What I want you to do is to try and draw that sound into your chest.

So listen to the sound but picture that sound coming from your chest or just slightly in front of your chest.

Draw the sound within your chest to experience oneness and ultimately enlightenment

By doing this you are telling your mind that you already know where the sound is coming from. And that seems to disrupt the mind’s ability to try to identify the sound and put a label on it.

So each time the bell rings, focus intently on sound but feeling that the sound is coming from the region of your heart.

As you do this for a while, you will notice that the sound loses its direction and appears to be created within you.

You will also notice that the sounds are no longer attached to objects. So even though you know you’re listening to a bell, because you are drawing that sound within you, your mind simply does not associate it with an external object.

Now as you get better at this and you start to add more sounds, such as two bells or three bells all coming from different directions, by drawing those sounds within you, you will find that they merge and become one sound. All the sounds become one sound.

Click to play the guided practice

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Experience being one with the universe

Now there is a slightly trippy effect that you will probably encounter. But at some point your mind will realize that the sounds are being created within you, so that means you are surrounding the sound, and if you’re surrounding the sound, that also means that you are surrounding the object that made the vibration. The object is within you too.

Generally this gives you quite an expensive feeling like you are expanding outwards and consuming all sounds within you. Usually what happens though is that the feeling collapses back in on itself once you notice. It’s like your mind becoming aware for the first time and then freaking out and getting scared.

Like all new experiences, it can be a little bit strange at first, but that’s a good sign, it means you’re making progress.

You will often be filled with extreme joy the first time it happens. It’s just so wild experiencing sound within you. And I’m not talking about feeling the vibration within you. That’s different. But feeling the sound created within you.

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So why is this such a good technique to attain enlightenment?

Well conceptually, it’s easy to understand the physics of what’s happening, and easy to see how the mind splits up and filters the sound to create the objects. I don’t think anybody would argue with that. But then when you practice this exercise, you can actually experience it and feel it happening in real time.

So what I really love about this technique as well, is that you can do it with your eyes closed as well as open. So you can practice it while you’re watching TV, you can do it while you’re mowing the lawn, you can do it while you’re driving.

You can do it pretty much anywhere at any time, in private or even out in public, and nobody would ever know that you’re doing it.

It’s like power meditating your way towards enlightenment.

When you’re having a conversation with somebody else, you feel their side of the conversation being created within you just as much as your own. 

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Your mind tells you what to hear and what to ignore

One thing you will become aware of after doing this for a while, is that while your mind is analyzing the world around it to look for dangers and threats, it actually filters out and removes a lot of the more subtle sounds that it doesn’t perceive as threatening.

So as you practice this and all sounds become one sound, you will become aware of so many more sounds going on around you that you had no idea were present previously.

This is also part of that expansive feeling, where you become more conscious of the diversity of the world around you. You experience the world more richly, or more deeply without your mind trying to decide what you should and should not hear.

All of our senses work in exactly the same way, so the next big leap is to do this with vision. That’s a lot more difficult, because conceptually we might understand that light entering our eyes is combined in the same way that the sounds are basically combined vibrations, but things look like separate objects, so it’s more difficult to not see them as separate objects.

I’ll do a whole separate video on how to do that. But this is by far the easiest way to progress on your journey to enlightenment.

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10 Minute singing bowl practice

But for now I will leave you with 10 minutes of a simple ringing bell, so that you can practice listening to the sound and drawing it within you. You never know. That 10 minutes could be all it takes to become enlightened 🙂

10 Minute Singing Bowl Practice

I will be creating a few more videos that progressively increase the diversity of the sound, so that you can practice drawing the sound within you in more complicated but controlled circumstances. So don’t forget to subscribe so that you get notified when those videos are published.

And as always thanks for reading. Don’t forget to like, share and sign up for my newsletter, that’s really important for me, and helps to share this information with other people.

Happy listening my friends.

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