Sounds are produced in silence. Sounds are consumed in silence.
Silence is the backdrop of all sounds.
“Everything in life is vibration” – Albert Einstein
We live in a sea of sounds spread in space, and it is not an overemphasis to say that we are the creatures of sound as well. Our physical and mental activities—speech, thoughts, feelings, and emotions are expressions of sound energy. Moreover, at a very subtle level beneath physical and mental levels when we meditate on our being, it is still a calm sea of sound energy, which can be called the sound of silence.
Perhaps this is the reason that sounds affect us at all ages. A sweet lullaby puts a newborn to sleep, a siren creates chills of fear in grown-ups, and a meaningful song can help cope up, with the pain of old age disease, or maybe death.
This is a great insight because types of vibrations can be cause and remedy for ease or disease in our physical and mental bodies. Thus, it is immensely important to understand our relationship with sound and silence.
Have you seen a wooden plank in the ocean moving towards the coastline? Actually, the plank never moves, but it gets handed over from one wave to another and just appears to be moving. Likewise, sound travels through a medium when the energy moves by vibrating the particles and appears sound is moving. Obviously, the quality of sound perceived is based on the medium. What does it mean for us in terms of sounds perceived from the outer world and of our own inner being?
In the outer world, sounds are created by striking at least two objects together, and we perceive them through comparison and contrast; and are conditioned by their persistence. We classify them, identify with their sources, and like or dislike them. As we are psychological beings, we create a judgmental attitude. It is true for our social relationships as well.
For the inner world, it is not about likes, dislikes, or judgmental attitude, but knowing the sound of our being is important. Every moment we feel sensations in our body and mind as vibrations, and if we keep observing and moving deep inwardly, we will observe an exceptionally calm, non-instrumental humming. Probably, it is our original sound. Let’s call it—Sound of being. What is the source of this non-instrumental basic sound? And, this sound of being is heard against what background? Let’s call it Silence.
To draw a parallel, it is worth observing the sound of a simple bell ringing, sustaining as a reverberation before dying out slowly. Tune into the silence before, the silence after, and the underlying silence on which sound is traveling.
In the same way, it is worth to observe our own Sound of being originating out of Silence as its background. Find a relatively quiet place, neither soundproof nor public place. Sit in a relaxed posture and do a survey of your body head to toe to find any tightness and relax a little bit more. Visualize yourself as ears only, situated in the center of the world, a sea of sounds. Tune yourself to the farthest sound coming towards you. Examine one by one by moving your attention circularly around your body, and each time, receive it coming radially inward. Attend to the sounds and the gap for some time.
In this way, start with the outer world of sounds and turn inwardly by comparing and leaving behind extraneously received sounds, one after another.
First, examine the physical body, head to toe to perceive any sound, like breath moving between navel and throat, or pulse, or any other form. The key is to be absorbed fully into the experience of your body and its sounds. Attend to the sounds and the gap for some time.
Thereupon, examine the mental body in terms of your thinking voice, emotions, and feelings, which are spoken inside. Note if any song or voice is coming from sub-conscious. Listen to your internal sounds carefully without making any meaning out of it. Attend to the sounds and the gap for some time. Thereupon, examine your inner aliveness into your sense of being, feeling of presence. Do not create or force concentration on anything; instead, let go off your focus on anything and stay to the feeling of beingness. No manipulation or creativity is needed. If some physical or mental sounds are coming, it’s OK, do not push them away or get caught up with them. Stay with the sense of being as it is. There is no turbulence possible with this sense. It is impersonal You are beneath your personality. At this stage, only two things are important— A sense of beingness and receptivity. With these two in a pure state, a non-instrumental humming is felt. You can call it Sound of being. Do not imagine or try to develop anything to experience it. If you develop it in one way, it will be destroyed by the other way. If you try to keep it, it will be lost in your trial. Do not hold; else it will go away. Just be your natural being and be receptive. Let it be a natural and automatic flow of humming and rest in its peace.
You will find this Sound of being is always present but gets avoided due to the noise around. Can you further examine from where it is coming? Is pure Silence in its background? This short poem elaborates on the nature of Silence.
Can you clap and create a sound?
And can you clap louder and create another sound?
Congratulations! You can graduate and multiply sounds,
and make it many and mightier than the previous rounds.
Now, can you un-clap and create Silence?
And can you un-clap harder and create stronger Silence?
Now, you know the science of Silence.
Truly, sounds occur, and Silence “is.”
But, sadly, we assume the opposite.
Consequently, in this world of sounds,
chasing after Silence looks so profound.
And, we search for it in the mountains or in caves,
follow gurus, seek knowledge, or sit near the mute graves.
Still, we miss its fountainhead,
flowing just beneath our being’s bed.
Thus, for a sound-addicted mind,
let us begin with its opposite,
and anyhow, as one must start where he is.
Who knows by the end he loses all, he assumed was “his?”
So, let us begin within,
with the means of sounds, we confer,
and seek what lies beneath them.
Which makes the Silence to occur?
O Beloved, in its purest form, Silence occurs…
when the mute gap eats the borders of mind,
to subsist itself continuously, where thinking is born of it, and not designed.
When the being walks on a sign-less path,
unguarded by the past and future.
It remains deeply relaxed and receptive,
and senses a serene silence behind all of its fore features.
When the stillness sings
without the burden of sound.
Where primal rhythm remains,
without any cause of “two,” to pound.
When the drop falls through
the layers of air,
and merges in the ocean,
and cares no more to find itself anywhere.
When the being stands before the existence
as one mirror before another.
The law of exchange is baffled
when one offers the “void” to others.
When the death is transcended by life
and self knows both are born of each other,
and this knowledge makes your inner-self wise.
Where the center of the body
meets the center of heart,
meets the center of the mind.
Thereupon, you lose this center in a nameless bind.
When the sensors open out,
but its sense opens in,
and the self knows this body is merely a medium
to experience the livingness of the being.
When mechanics of life
transform into the magic of life,
and the freshness prevails.
Your being wonders! And it remains no more stale.
O Beloved, may thee enter the silence like a humming
wind through the window of spirit and
conceive a song to sing forever.