Each of the following two principles of healing arts has its place and uses:
- In the diagnostic model, the healer applies a technique in an attempt to cause change in the patient/client. These types of applications may range from pharmaceuticals to alternative healing methods
- In the resonance model, the healer refl ects back the same state, so that the body might use the increased energy to achieve energy balance
The principle of resonance in healing could be stated this way: “If you were to reflect back a frequency with the same frequency, energy will be increased.” As harp practitioners, we use the harp to reflect back the energetic states we discern in our patients through our major sensory input systems. We learn to “follow what we find.”
Healing through resonance is not a set of articulated rules that we follow in sequence but a group of principles and practices of observation, which the practitioner masters through experience. Think of it as an approach to healing rather than a methodology, for it exists only in the space between the practitioner and the client. As practitioners, we follow our practice as if we were fi ne musicians dedicated to the art of improvisation, constantly refining the tools we need to respond to whatever the situation presents. Resonant healing is finely-honed improvisation, following from moment to moment the cues presented by the patient.
Resonance is the most important principle of sound in any form. Every cell in the body is a resonator. Every organ is a collection of cells that respond in the same way to a particular sound vibration. As a result of resonance, music has the ability not only to change brain waves but to profoundly affect other bodily states and functions, as well.
Each of us—patients and practitioners alike-has our own resonant tone, a frequency that feels “right” or “good” to us, that feels like “coming home.” We can listen for our own resonant tone in our first exhalations of breath in the morning as we awaken or in our speaking voice.
As practitioners, when we play in a mode or key that strongly reflects a patient’s resonant tone, (in G major or minor or E minor, for example, if the patient’s resonant tone is G) we enhance the effectiveness of the “Cradle of Sound” that we are striving to create. Learning how to find a resonant tone requires experimentation and practice, as it can be an elusive technique. Many practitioners (myself included, initially) say that it is a skill that takes time to master but once you get it, then it is very easy to use.
Into Resonant Tone. Now we’ll begin to discuss the way we can use our own awareness, in the form of Inclusive Attention, to find resonant tone. We’ve already seen that Inclusive Attention is a meditative state. What does this mean? There are so many different ideas about meditation. What kind of meditative states are we referring to?
To explore this a bit, let’s take a look at the vibrational frequencies that we have in the chart (mouse click chart on right to enlarge). This chart appears in our introduction to physical science classes for our junior high school students. Here we have, beautifully mapped out, a vibrational representation of our entire phenomenal world. This chart begins with the densest, most solid matter—our material existence—then progresses into more subtle levels of vibration; our experience of the five senses, including sound waves, light waves, and the experience of heat; then into the invisible realms of ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays, which are beyond our perceptual experience; then finally into the highest frequency waves, which we identify as spirit. This entire spectrum falls under the category of “energy.”
According to modern science, we can now say that all things are vibration or energy. Matter is vibration, phenomena is vibration, emotions and thoughts are vibration, our bodies are vibration; any experience we have can be expressed as vibration. Vibration, according to acoustical physics, is simply defined as an oscillation between two points. This is diagrammatically represented by the waveform: a wave-like movement that has amplitude and frequency. Therefore, vibration means movement – something that moves or oscillates between two points, with a certain force and speed.
What we are saying, then, is that this entire chart—which represents the vibrational world we live in-is a world of movement. Energy is movement. Sound, light, emotions, thoughts, our bodies, the earth-everything that we experience can be seen as some kind of movement. Even time is movement.
Time is simply the movement of the earth rotating and revolving around the sun. But does this describe our entire existence? Does this describe reality completely? We can fit everything that we have in the knowable world into this chart, everything that we can perceive, in all its huge variety, but does it describe everything? Does it describe the entire truth?
If we explore further, we must ask the question, “If everything is vibration, then what is the medium through which vibration travels?” There has to be a medium for the waves to be carried by or there is no movement. Whether it’s air or water or an electromagnetic field, vibration can’t occur without a medium. Therefore, we can say that for every type of vibration, there must be a counterpart. It is the other half of our reality. The vibration and the medium coexist together. In the same way, we can create a schema to understand these correspondences. If we want to group together the phenomenal reality that is vibration, and find some key words to describe them, we can place those words on one side. Then we can find some words to describe the counterpart to those phenomena, and place them on the other side. Then we have a chart like this:
Relative Truth – Absolute truth
Manifest world – Un-manifest
Movement – Stillness
Form Formless – Emptiness
Sound – Silence
Light – Darkness
Our perceptual experience – Transcendent experience
Time – Beyond time
Here we have a more complete picture of our reality. Although these might seem like opposites, they are, in fact, not divided. The absolute aspect is part of the relative aspect. They coexist together. There are many spiritual traditions or philosophies that believe that the manifest world arises from the un-manifest. They describe an absolute principle, whether it is called God, the Divine, the Void or Primordial Mind. This absolute principle gives rise to vibration which then differentiates into various forms and frequencies, which go on to create our manifest world. These traditions also say that one cannot exist without the other.
Within all sound is silence. Within all time is timelessness. Within all form is emptiness, coexisting together. However, it is not always so easy to detect the absolute side of our experiences. Our minds always want to cling to the relative truth. We are very attached to this left side, to the vibrational world that we perceive with our five senses, as well as the thoughts and emotions that endlessly arise within us. We live here (on the left side of the chart – see above right), in the manifest world. In our ordinary mode of awareness, we are usually only conscious of the vibration itself. We are not paying attention to its corresponding medium. When you hear music, when those sound waves, carried by the air, beat upon your eardrum; are you aware of the silence between the sounds? When you see light patterns reflecting in the sunlight, are you aware of the shadows in between? When your thoughts and emotions are raging within you, are you aware of the spaciousness of peace within you as well?
We rarely enter into the stillness, the emptiness, the timelessness of any given moment, so this aspect of reality slips by unnoticed. How much we’re missing! But when we enter into the state of Inclusive Attention, we are sliding into this absolute side, which we can also call this present moment. Meditation is a practice that helps us to enter into the gaps between thoughts, the silence within the sounds, the peace within the chaos. To be fully HERE. When we can drop into that space through which vibrations travel, when we can experience that spacious quality, then all things become apparent because this space, this emptiness, this absolute, is the source of all things. All possibilities appear.
When we ask you to “trust,” what is it you’re learning to trust? What is it you’re stepping into? What you’re learning to do is to allow yourselves to be fully present to whatever is there, in whatever way it presents itself, whether it’s a person you’re attending to, your own body or a situation that you find yourself in, such as when you walk into a room that is charged with emotional energy and you feel overwhelmed with all the vibrations bouncing off the wall. If you can identify with that spaciousness, that silence, that timelessness that is always there, then that keeps you steady and rooted. You will not be so rocked off balance by outer circumstances.
When we can connect with the absolute nature of any experience, then we don’t feel the need to change it. It’s perfect as it is, because we are not as affected by what we might interpret as “negative.” We no longer need to judge, which means we no longer need to judge ourselves. Students have an easier time with finding a person’s resonant tone if they have already had some experience with that spacious quality within themselves. They know that along with all this vibrational activity, there is also space and peace. This experience is what meditation leads to and why so many spiritual traditions use it to connect with the absolute. In some traditions this might be called prayer. In contemplative practices, we learn to silence the body, silence the mind, in order to hear that still small voice from within, the state of grace. In Inclusive Attention we’re exploring the process of being in such a meditative state, regardless of what we’re doing. As harp practitioners, you’ll find yourselves in a variety of settings. In fact, every time you step into a patient’s room, you’ll be stepping into the unknown.
Inclusive Attention will give you the tool to be able to completely tune into any situation and find that stillpoint where all things originate. You’ll be able to develop the ability for deep listening, and tune into that person’s experience, then translate that into a sound. You will “hear” or perceive that person’s vibrational state in the form of sound. That sound will be their “resonant tone;” the totality of their being in that moment in time. Then, voila! You’ll know exactly what to do! It all becomes clear because the answer was always there—silently waiting.
You don’t need to be psychic. You don’t need to see colors or to hear sounds. Just trust that when you’re Inclusively Attending, and you enter into the spaciousness of the present moment, then all things become apparent, all possibilities become clear. The “right” note will come to you, because it’s right there in front of you. But you won’t be able to hear it through the noise of your mind, your uncertainty or your personal agenda.
There was once a Zen Master named Suzuki Roshi who said, “In the beginner’s mind the possibilities are endless. In the expert’s mind the possibilities are few.” I like this statement because it reflects that open state of mind, like a beginner’s mind, full of curiosity and without predetermined expectations. We should enter into any situation with a beginner’s mind and then we’ll suddenly find endless possibilities that we weren’t aware of.
How do you enter into this state? You trust the existence of the present moment. You trust the existence of the absolute side of any experience. When you don’t trust, you’ll think, “well, what about this and what about that?” You’ll be full of doubts. Entering into the spacious now is much easier than memorizing all the different things that could be said about vibrations. There is no end to all the fascinating ways that people are working with sound vibrations. You could spend a lifetime memorizing every method, every technique and every application. Or, you could learn to enter into the all-pervasive space, and what needs to happen in that moment will become clear to you. What note needs to be played and how to play it will spontaneously arise in your mind and your hands will follow.
As harp practitioners, you’re learning to use your harps as an extension of your own awareness. Deeply listen and then follow what you find, letting the spontaneity of the present moment move through you, through your hands and through the strings of your harp. Let your awareness and intention be carried by the sound waves of the harp strings. This is why learning to improvise is important. Inclusive Attention is the tool you use to feel confident with improvisation. Let go of that part of you that has an agenda and simply be curious—“what would happen if…”
A musician can go on stage and play a technically perfect piece of music but the music won’t move you. It’s not imbued with a certain grace that comes through a musician who is in the now, who is tuning into the spontaneity of the moment. To really touch an audience, a certain grace needs to come through. That state of grace comes through being in the moment. Remember Sarah Hughes, the young American figure skater that won the gold metal in the 2002 Olympics? She wasn’t even in the running. No one expected her to win the gold metal because she was so far behind. But then, in her final skate, she pulled off this incredible performance that won her the gold metal. When they interviewed her afterwards and asked her how she felt before she performed, she said that she no longer cared about the gold metal because she was already so far behind, so she just decided to go out there and have fun. She didn’t have an agenda and was able to simply be in the moment. From that state, she performed a miracle.
So we’re inviting you to step out of your habits of only paying attention to the vibrational side of your world and notice the invisible, silent side. Be willing to acknowledge this other aspect of reality, this other dimension to vibration and sound. If you can connect with this within yourselves, you will be much more confident in what to do in any given situation. You won’t need to worry about what to say. By simply being still for a moment, inclusively attending to the situation, the words will naturally come. While you’re learning your repertoire, while you’re learning to improvise, while you’re learning to attend to dying patients, remember to be aware of this hidden dimension. Then you will be bringing an extra quality of grace to your work. You’ll not only be empowering your work but you’ll also be taking care of yourself. Very often we find ourselves bombarded with all kinds of discordant vibrations that are overwhelming or we find ourselves in unfamiliar situations and are not sure what to do. Remember that the most useful tool that you have is always with you—your own awareness, your ability to attend inclusively to this very moment and connect with the deep and vast aspects. No matter how loud something is, there is always silence.
Keep this in the back of your mind as we begin to explore Inclusive Attention. This is going to be your main tool. Everything else is detail. All the harp techniques you learn, all the music theory, the NLP, etc., will become the ways in which you will express the present moment in whatever circumstance you find yourself in. Then, you can truly respond in a way that resonates.
Another useful way to approach learning how to deeply listen and to trust is to cultivate the “don’t know” mind. It is a lot like the idea of beginner’s mind, and it is different. The beginner’s mind is a mind of open curiosity to what is new. The “don’t know” mind is comfortable with find through improvisation.
To summarize, by using the techniques described in Inclusive Attention, you’ll be bringing together your own awareness, your knowledge of the modes, your harp technique and your intention, to truly meet this person in front of you in exactly the way they need to be met. You learn to trust and you become confident that you’ll be able to appropriately respond to any situation.
– From a lecture by Judith Hitt.