August 14, 2008

Painting with Sound

I am taking a fantastic Buddhist meditation course at my favorite yoga studio, Alameda Yoga Station, and it is fascinating to explore all the different ways to relax your body and mind.

The traditional way to relax in meditation is to follow your breath. Our instructor Martina Schneider is having us try some other approaches such 4 listening to all the sounds that surround you. The challenge, although if it is meditation you shouldn't think of it as a challenge but rather a practice, is to not attach any thoughts or judgment to the sound. Just notice it.

What I am discovering and really enjoying about the sounds is that they are painting a picture with their different qualities. A short, high-pitched sound sounds like a dash of bright color whilst a long deep sound is like a long rich and wide brush stroke of dark, deep color.

As the different sounds play across the landscape I find myself searching and craving for more. As a visual person I appreciate the non-use of my visual senses and instead tuning into what my ears are "seeing".

I am also discovering from this practice that I am enjoying the qualities of sound in my everyday interactions. Last night was a total sound feast as I merged with the excitement of the music at my cousin Michael North Beach jam session. I smiled and laughed all night as the band played around with sound. It was one of the most visual aural experiences I can recall ever having.

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