Mindfulness is one of the buzz words in the industry these days. Mindfulness is a technique to bring and keep the mind in the present moment, moment by moment.
There are umpteen number of researches done and experiences shared by many people on the benefits of Mindfulness in terms of positive emotions, reduced stress & depressions, improved health and overall happiness. Research has also shown the significant improvements in the mental faculties like memory, concentration, focus and creativity. Mindfulness is now not only used in therapeutic use but also to enhance leadership qualities and work performance.
There are several techniques used to develop Mindfulness. Some of them include Mindfulness Meditation techniques (adopted from Buddhism), Breath watching & breathing techniques, Body scanning & observing body sensations, Mind watching etc.
In this article I am going to talk about Sound as a tool to develop Mindfulness.
At a basic level bringing attention and listening to sounds around us and within us makes us to be ‘here & now’ – in the present moment. One can practice this simple technique of consciously bringing the attention to the sounds in & around oneself – this will reduce the mindless roaming/wandering of the mind and brings focus.
There is a much larger phenomenon of Sound as a transformation tool for human system. I want to focus on that Sound Technology in this article.
Human system is a sophisticated and integrated body-mind-energy complex. Body, mind and energy are inter-connected. It is known that by improving the energy, mind becomes more positive and in turn body becomes healthier; Modern medical research shows that almost 90% of the diseases are psychosomatic – caused by mind.
There are enough scientific researches available now which demonstrate the effect of sound on human system. Here are a few examples:
Effect of Sound on Water
Dr Masaru Emoto of IHM Research Institute in Japan (http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.htm) has conducted several experiments and published books on effect of sound on water. He used MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) photography on frozen water crystals to carry out these studies.
As shown in the pictures above, the crystals of normal water before the sound experiment showed amorphous, dull crystal formations. Same water, after certain sounds (and even just thoughts), formed into beautiful symmetric crystals with vibrant aura around them. This demonstrates the phenomenal effect of sound on water.
It is medically known that 70% of our body is water – now imaging the effect of sound on our system!
Cymatics – Sound Visualization
There are many different patterns that are observed for different kinds of sounds. For example, for a Rock Music it creates a very complex pattern. For the sound Om (AUM), it creates a simple oval/elliptical form as shown in the picture.Cymatics is a technology through which one can visualize the patterns for every sound.
Through modern science we know that from atomic level to cosmic level everything is ellipsoid in nature.
Most advanced modern science, String Theory, shows that everything in the existence is a manifestation of vibrations. As shown in the Cymatics instrument, sound Om (AUM) creates the most fundamental vibration in the existence, creating attunement with the Creation. That is why Om (AUM) is considered as primordial sound.
Technology of Om (AUM)
Try out this simple experiment: Sit with your back straight and palms rested on your laps facing upward; close the eyes and utter the sounds Aaaa, Uuuu (Oooo) and Mmmm. As you make these sounds one at a time, observe where you feel the vibrations in your body. You will notice that Aaaa creates vibrations at the pit of the stomach; Uuuu at chest/throat level and Mmmm at Head level.
You might have heard/read about great leaders making decisions with Head, Heart & Gut – using all the intelligences – Intellectual Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence and Intuitive Intelligence. Now there are many Western Leadership/Management books on Multiple-Intelligences. Sound AUM is a simple technique to enhance multiple intelligences leading to better choice/decision making in life.
Technology of Sanskrit
With the awareness of sound vibrations, now if you pay attention to the sounds of Sanskrit alphabets (and all Indian Languages), you will notice that there is a very scientific structure behind them. The Vowels A, Aa, … U, Uu, … Mm does not need tongue to make the sound; it starts at the pit of the stomach, comes up to chest/throat and goes up to head. If you observe the Consonants, Ka, Kha, Ga, Gha, ..the tongue pressure starts at the lower throat level; for Cha, Chha, Ja, Jha, … the tongue pressure comes at upper throat level; for Ta, Tha, Da, Dha, .. the tongue pressure comes at mouth palette (ceiling in the mouth) level; for Tha Thha, Dha, Dhha, .. it comes to teeth level and for Pa, Pha, Ba, Bha, … it comes to lip level.
Combinations of Vowels and Consonants produce the rest of the words & sounds. Sanskrit is known as Discovered Language – Vowels and Consonants are discovered based on what sound produces what vibration.
Notice that Aa, Uu and Mm are the beginning, middle and end of the Vowels and vibrate the entire column from pit of the stomach to the head.
There are many experiments, studies and adoptions of Sanskrit being carried out all over the world.
There are demonstrations of how children’s memory, concentration, focus, attention-span, creativity improved just by uttering Sanskrit words over a period of time – influence of sound on human system!
Though ‘life’ is so apparent, modern science does not understand and recognize it – it thinks the human system is a mere assembly of electro-chemical-mechanical parts; existence of life-force/energy is not recognized by the modern science because modern science is limited by the 5 sensory perceptions only – for example, a few years back if anybody had mentioned about electromagnetic energy, nobody would have believed it; only when it is converted to audio-visual form, there is acceptance that there is a form of energy named as electromagnetic energy which can propagate in space without any medium (where as electrical energy needs a wire to propagate).
Spiritual Science from the Ancient Wisdom recognizes that such energy forms exist and that they are the cause for the rest of the physical manifestation. Beyond the Musculo-skeletal system (Earth (Bhoomi) element), Circulatory system (Water (Jala) element), Respiratory system (Air (Vayu) element), Nervous system (Fire (Agni) element) that is known to modern science/medicine, Spiritual Science recognizes the Energy system (Ethere/Space (Akash) element) – which is called as Chakras & Nadis. Yogic system defines 7 major Chakras along the spinal column and 72,000 Nadis all over the body through which the life energies circulate.
Adjacent to these 7 major Chakras are the 7 Endocrine glands and major Nerve plexus. Impacting the energy system influences the endocrine system and nervous system which control our hormones, enzymes, thinking, moods, and emotions which in turn determine our choices/decisions and behaviors.
And the sound AUM produces vibrations in all the Chakras and enhances the life energy!
Sound and Mindfulness
As we can see by the above mentioned demonstrations, Sound is a powerful tool to transform this human system – Mindfulness is a by-product.
Sound AUM (AUMin, AUMen etc. in certain religions) is the most simple but most potent vibration in this creation. That’s why AUM is such an integral part of Yoga and Meditations.
These are not belief systems – they are very scientific. One does not have to believe in it; it’s like Sun energy – person need not have to believe in it, but if the person stands in Sun he/she will receive the Sun energy.
Don’t believe me either. Try it out. Explore, Experiment and Experience by yourself.