Voice Mysticism: The Harmony of the Spheres

Voice Mysticism: The Harmony of the Spheres

“The knower of the mystery of sound knows the mystery of the entire universe” Khan
Some train themselves to hear in the solitude, on the sea shore, on a river bank, in caves…. 

I bought a book a while ago, The Mysticism Of Sound and Music: The Sufi Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Several years actually, and since then it has been sitting on the shelf. I “randomly” opened a page today and found answers to questions I have been pondering all year. Right under my nose.  Clear answers. Clearly I have been in training.

I am exploring my sensory engagement to my environment, and associated issues with perception. I have been exploring the melodies that come by exploring natural structures. It is sometimes nudged by the etheric (almost above the tree tops) and sometimes it is the denseness of the physical environment, more like a Pranic energy. Inside the caves, sometimes there is a mixture of both of these.

Accoridng to Khan, abstract sound is called ‘sawt-e-sarmad’ by the Sufi’s; all space is filled with it…the sound of the abstract plane, which Muhammad heard in the cave…Moses heard on Mt Sinai….Christ heard in the wilderness…Shiva in the cave in the Himalayas.

“Space is in the body and the body is in space”. Almost like in the caves: being in the cave, and the caverns in the body. Paradox within paradox. Space within the space. Infinite. 98% of our body cells are empty space. 

Those who are able to hear the sawt-e-sarmad and meditate on it are releived from all worries, anxieties, fears, sorrows, diseases and the soul is freed from capitivity in the senses and in the physical body.

A shell, found on Bateman’s Bay, possibly
 like the shanka, that awakens in man his
inner tone, his “inner song”.

I went to a beautiful concert at the State Library of Victoria “Love and Devotion” back in March. It was on Rumi, one of the greatest poets of all time, in my opinion. It was presented as a combination of the Persian Flute, poems said aloud in both Farsi and English. Such a creative presentation. Exquisitely beautiful. Rumi states that he did not belong to any religion although he was Muslim. Persian poetry is highly symbolic, acting as a bridge that links earthly and heavenly images, spiritual and profane ideas. Shahnama of Firdausi is one of the songs. and so powerfully moving. 

Listening is active, hearing is passive. In his TED talk, Julian Treasure speaks of the concept of ‘Sound Health’. (Check him out, there are several other great talks he does. I am a big fan) One of his comments is “It’s when the birds stop singing that we need to pay attention”. As I woke to the sound of chopping wood this morning, and the distinct absence of bird song, I was reminded of this. He urges us to consider listening consciously to the world around us. He also talks of “earlids” which i like immensely. Except that unlike eyelids, we cannot close our earlids when we do not want to hear something.

Marius Schneider is an ethnomusicologist  who coined the term “Acoustic Spirituality” and stated that all matter vibrates, and therefore everything in the world has a sound.

“The astronomy of the Pythagoreans marked an important advance in ancient scientific thought, for they were the first to consider the earth as a globe revolving with the other planets around a central fire.  They explained the harmonious arrangement of things as that of bodies in a single, all-inclusive sphere of reality, moving according to a numerical scheme.  Because the Pythagoreans thought that the heavenly bodies are separated from one another by intervals corresponding to the harmonic lengths of strings, they held that the movement of the spheres gives rise to a musical sound-the “harmony of the spheres.””
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000

In the  TED talk by Janna Levin, she speaks of how the universe isn’t silent, but has distinct sounds and rhythms which is the sound of the planets vibrating. Just think, the big bang likely had a song! a description is that it is like a low banging on a drum. Perhaps the future of music is “Gravitational Tunes”? How can we listen to this? Open our ears more to that which surrounds us? What kind of equipment do we need? And because we can’t hear it at our frequency, does that mean it doesn’t exist ? And because we can’t hear it with our ears, does it not impact upon our physical body? Sandra Selig says that there are “hidden rhythms and structures so that we can sense sound through the visual.” Evelyn Glennie‘s aim is to teach the world to listen. As our accessibilty to sound has increased, how can we listen to music with our whole body?

So if everything has a sound, including the trees, caves, rocks, water, perhaps I can continue to make aural landscapes for these visual and kinaesthetic objects. So that they can be perceived on a multi-sensory and multi-dimensional level, and that I may be able to share with others such an aural experience that I perceive.

“We are ourselves works of art, and as we work to bring forward the art within us, we express our inner divinity” Julia Cameron.