The Real Yoga of Sound

Sound is something that moves us, we hear a loud bang and immediately a picture comes into our mind-space;  if we are from a background of trauma there will be a response in our body, we may shake, freeze or run.  At the other end of the spectrum there is the syncopated rhythmic sound of rain on a tin roof, it always puts me to sleep, the pitter-patter of the drops closes my eyelids and I’m gone…outta here to Alpha Centauri, Shambala or the Deep Silence.
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Humans and the Sound
The relationship between sound and the human being is well known to composers who design audio for movies, they write at specific tempos to create anxiety in the viewers, speed it up for excitement or get the heart pumping, add bangs, whistles and pops, use notes where the harmonies clash or textures to calm, they develop tunes in various musical keys to evoke emotions.  The military also uses sound-weapons in ways to disperse crowds and to disturb people in specific locations.  We know that sound does impact on us, we hear it not only with our ears but also with other parts of our being.
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Rethinking the World of Sound Yoga and Spiritual Music
Personally I think there is a mountain of accidental misinformation and fluffy stuff about the yoga of sound; a lot of partial truths are spread among the community in the West that are assumed to be true. In the East there are great master musicians who are very self discipled and play to a very high standard but also in other cases there is a rigidness that is often not questioned, in some instances some things are considered to be undeniably true, staunch traditions with a mix of truth; cultural habits sometimes are a type of imprisonment.  Because an idea sounds reasonably okay and as a general rule Westerners are extremely gullible and emotional (and I say this as a 7/8th Caucasian person), it is often easy to be naive and fall into the “it’s from the East so it must be Spiritual” trap.  As I have spent a large portion of my life as a musician, been heavily involved in what would be called devotional music and have spent thirty years with the yoga of internal sound, I will add my view to the mix, it may differ to other peoples, that’s okay.
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My opinions on the subject are not flippy-floppy or based in a type of New Age euphoria; music has been a major focus point in my life, time and experience allows us to develop a sharp eye or in this case sharp ear to be able to identify the wagon of buffalo dung as it crawls its way along the dirt road to and from the Spiritual Retreats and Monasteries.
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Selling the Gods of Music
There are a lot of novices with various hypothesis who are lecturing and running workshops on a subject they sometimes have only a minimum of experience with, and I am not questioning their integrity, enthusiasm or intention, nor am I saying that the work that many people are doing is useless, not so.  The BOTTOM LINE is if participants at workshops ‘feel’ they benefit, it is very useful and dollars are well spent; but partial truths can be slightly dangerous things, in the same sense that ‘partial gurus’ who share a bit of the truth and set themselves up as ‘Da Masta’ often mislead the community, many bright eyed gullible naive people get led down the garden path and sometimes into the bedroom. I’ve had enough years to watch the ENDLESS betrayal of trust of student teacher relationships and the complexities that arise from them.  Short periods of starry-eyed-ness that always seems to lead to a mess, the pattern is pretty common not only in Spiritual circles but in the music scene in general.
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The Insignificance of OM 
I have read numerous articles and books about OM and what it supposedly is.  I will start from the beginning and clarify a few things, this will be at odds with a number of people.  OM is the sound of the CREATION. No doubt it does resonate at various other frequencies outside the audio spectrum of the ears of human beings and is present in other ‘world-spaces’. The view I take is contrary to many of the Spiritual teachers but not all.  It is important to note that it is not just the human ear that hears the sound of OM. The human ear and its potential is limited, a perfect example is most people can’t hear a dog whistle, the sound resonates somewhere between 23 and 54 Khz, this is way above the average human beings auditory perception, they say humans hear between 20Hz and 20Khz but really this is a variable and most people won’t hear the higher frequencies;  some can hear as low as 12 Hz and as high as 28 Khz but this would be a rarity and each person would need to be tested individually. George Martin (the 5th Beatle) was definitely a person who had a sense of heightened listening and proved this once when he heard a problem in a Neve mixing console that other people couldn’t hear.
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Listening with Our Being
The bottom line here is to get across the point that ‘sound is not just about our ears’, it resonates throughout the Cosmos and changes shape and frequency in other environments and this depends on how, who or what experiences it.  It can also manifest as light frequency; OM is part of this or should I say under, over and inside this. Contrary to popular belief and pseudo spiritual non-science OM is limited and is NOT what some people think it is.  It is often confused as being the NAAD and also the Word of the Middle Eastern and Western Mystic traditions, it is cross-referenced frequently as being the core sound and equated with God.  It is esoteric, Mystical but IS NOT all it is made out to be. This confusion of what OM is, is something that requires a little clarification.  OM is a little like a Caravanserai, a camel stop on a journey to a destination or could be equated with being a rope that joins those humpy backed beings together, it is the beginning of esoteric sound and I am almost tempted to say it may be bypassed, I will hold back on that one.  I do not consider OM as critical and if someone experienced the NAAD, I am adamant that OM would not be overly important. However it has its place of relevance and reverence in the land of Prakriti (Creation).
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Looking in the Wrong Places
Many of us at times think we have lost our glasses, when in truth we are already wearing them, we lose our keys at times only to find they are in our hands.   These analogies are similar to the sound we are looking for, in the same way the deer seeks the musk, it’s hiding in its navel and it looks everywhere for it, not knowing it’s within itself.  I am not going to head off into ‘what you are seeking is within you’, this is too ambiguous and is an overstated cliche.  But having said that, inside the head there is a ringing sound, it is high pitched, it phases in and out throughout the day, at moments it is loud, the sound of water is a reasonable description of it at certain times, it does change shape.
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The Great Escape
There is a ladder to heaven, the poet Sage Rumi speaks of this continuously, they are not just pretty words.  Rumi is such a master wordsmith it’s easy to miss what he is saying in the same way that we may not see the sun but we see its workings because around us is the play of light and darkness, the shadows pass, the luminosity is there but the sun is hidden.  He speaks of the golden branch, this branch is inside what is known as the silver coil that connects the lower astral body to the physical encasement (the 3D human body), this golden thread winds its way through into foreverness.  So what has that got to do with sound? EVERYTHING.  We forget that there is a unity in things, in the same way that a father may be a son, uncle, friend, grandparent or cousin, the world of subtle vibrations is the same. Sound and light are the same, it is just perceived differently depending on the RECEPTOR.
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The Musical Calling Card
In some Spiritual traditions peopler do chanting, Simram, Kirtan, Bhajan, although they are potent within themselves and are life changing, they are just teasers that call the aspirant into the Spirit, they are a doorway to what Mystics know as the Naam, the Naad, the Divine Melody or the Sound Celestial. This sound in its various manifestations are what would I say (for lack of words) is closest to God, in fact odd as it may sound it IS God.  The Great Silence/ the Ocean of Consciousness is God unmanifest, the Naam is the underlying thread that weaves through the Cosmos under the worlds of forms, it is the life force of all.
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Naam or Word
The Sound Celestial, Akash Bani, Naam or whatever Name it is given to it resonates within the human head, it is soft sound, it may be heard as a gentle ringing noise; when people hear it they often assume it is outside the head or around them.  This sound comes in waves, they peak and fall, when I say that I mean it does seem to have a high and low tide, in various situations or places it will be inclined to be a lot louder.
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When someone follows the sound it can change shape, it may take the shape of the music of harps, flourishes of glorious notes, I refer to it as the Harps of David (Biblical King who supposedly slayed the giant Goliath), it may also take the sound of a flute, this would be described as the flute of Krishna.  As the experiencer of the Divine sounds goes through deep states of consciousness they may at times experience the sound of bells, the conch, thunder and even have an explosion of light within the head.  I can only speak from personal experience, and cross reference that with credible literature, it will not be the same for everyone but there will be similarities in experience as ones world breaks apart into a larger sky-scape.
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I have spent thirty years with the Naam and I know beyond all doubt that it is what is worth pursuing as it is the vehicle we can use to travel to any location, a vine to climb to the stars, deep within and beyond.  This is the Yoga of Sound, the audio frequency that unifies all things, it truly is the ladder to heaven.  Personally I recommend people seek out this sound.
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Tilopa 2.0

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