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May 7, 2020

The Power of Sound in Spiritual Practice.

Part of my yoga practice is to feed myself nourishing words.

As I rolled out my mat this morning, I congratulated myself for taking the time to practice. When I was feeling frustrated during a particularly challenging pose (Crow), I was internally whispering: “You can do this, love. You’re awesome.” As I relaxed during Shavasana, mantras and delicious affirmations were swirling around in my head.

I also like to keep a Kleenex box nearby. Sometimes my loving words trigger deeply healing tears. I want them to flow.

For me, yoga is not just about the breath and postural shapes. It’s about loving myself through words, thoughts, and ideas. I see yoga as the birthplace of my external reality, as the ground upon which I consciously create my world.

For a thing to come into existence, there must first be an internal thought, a word of want. Take a moment to observe the objects around you. If you are indoors, you might gaze upon furniture, for example. In order for that table or that chair to appear, some person—long ago—must have thought, “I want to be a carpenter.” The internal idea comes first; the external manifestation comes second.

In order for transformation to happen, in order to build and create, we need words: the energy of sound. Many ancient spiritual traditions speak of this potential. In Hinduism, the Vedas teach that the sound OM created—and continues to create—our Universe. In Christianity, the Gospel of John says, “The Word became flesh” (external creation). In the Kabbalah, there are 72 names of God, which are tools to transform physical existence and bring structure to our lives.

It’s not only in the realm of spirituality that we discover such truths. If we are scientifically inclined, The Hidden Messages in Water by the Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto, is particularly enlightening. In carefully controlled studies, he asked people to speak to water while taking highspeed photographs of the water molecules.

Emoto’s results were nothing short of astounding. When humans expressed positive phrases such as “I love you” or “thank you,” the water molecules arranged themselves into intricate, delicate forms that appeared like beautiful snowflakes. In contrast, when people expressed fearful words such as “I hate you” or “you make me sick,” the photos showed jagged, disconnected, displeasing molecular formations.

Since the human body is composed of approximately 70 percent water, then it would be wise to ask ourselves: how might words affect my well-being?

At their most basic level, words are vibrational frequencies. They are raw, primal communications. Have you ever watched a film in a foreign language (without subtitles), but you could still understand the basic gist of what they were saying? It’s a skill that everyone has.

We can understand how someone is feeling based upon the loudness, speed, and tenor of their voice. The vibration we feel in our body is the indicator. For instance, if a character in a film is shouting, this will cause our bodies to become tense. Therefore, we know that the character is having a hard time. Or, if a character is singing a lullaby, this will cause our bodies to relax. We know they are in a happy place. If a character is crying, we may suddenly find ourselves crying, too.

Vibrational frequencies are invisible to the naked eye, yet they impact our lives in profound ways. During this time of intense planetary change, it is vital to remember how powerful we are. Our media, governments, and other authority figures may disagree. They may even actively try to strip us of our power. But we do not have to comply. We can chant mantras or sing kirtan during our yoga practice. We can blend affirmations into our seated meditation practice. We can absorb the healing frequencies of Reiki while praying to a higher power.

So often, spiritual practices emphasize silence and an empty mind, yet there are many ways to discover a profound sense of well-being. There is a balance, I think, to be struck between surrendering to quiet stillness, and then, later, actively using our minds to boldly imagine a new future.

Words fuel an inner remembrance of our divinity. Words wake us up.

When we consciously employ words in our daily practice, we stop fighting with the noisy brain and we give it permission to do what it loves to do: create and think. This is not simply ordinary, monkey-mind thinking. This is something more beautiful: a mode of vision, a foundation of blessing and healing for ourselves and others.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by global politics, pandemics, and crumbling economies. It’s easy to worry that politicians don’t have our best interest at heart. Yeah, all that’s easy to feel. But we don’t have to get stuck there. We can harness the OM, the sound, the word, the love. We can open our eyes, take a deep breath, and ponder: what kind of world do I want to live in? We can allow the answer to our question to matter very much. We can ask: what actions are synchronized with these words?

Through our consciously-created words, actions are born. If we observe the mechanics of how things are created (the carpenter must decide to become a carpenter before the chair arrives), we see that the outdated systems of injustice and violence must eventually die, and in their place, systems of equality and peace shall grow. It’s simple physics. We are drawn to the world of our future that is aligned with the words we repeat within our souls: yes, Love is possible. Love is already here.

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