The Effect of Sound on the Subtle Bodies

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I heard an interesting statement from a doctor the other day. He said, “We tend to think our bodies contain our energy, but in reality, it is our energy that contains our body.” What he means by this is that our energy determines our physical form — not the other way around.

According to Ayurvedic and yogic philosophy, we’re composed of many different energetic bodies or energetic sheaths, known as the koshas. These layers exist beyond just our physical body.

Sound, unlike any other “substance” in the universe, has the ability to penetrate the deepest layers of the mind. It is like a laser that penetrates the cellular membrane walls, breaking up stagnation (ie., trauma, past memories, etc.). Tibetan monks incorporate humming into their daily meditation practice. Why? Because humming quite literally “shakes” the bones in the skull, releasing pent up energy and creating a calming effect. Humming rearranges the molecular structures within the brain, reducing stress levels and increasing lymphatic circulation. Some scientific studies have shown that humming reduces activity in areas of the brain related to depression.

Meditating on sound creates a sense of calmness, but beyond that, it has a physiological effect on the entire organism. It dissolves blockages; it sharpens the awareness; it opens the mind to a higher level of perception.

Basically, sound is just light vibrating at a high speed. With this high vibrational energy, the subtle body is more easily penetrated and permeated, making one more receptive and in tune with one’s own heart/soul center.

In Hindu tradition, sound is considered to be nada Brahma (god). When we play music, we are essentially raising our consciousness towards the ultimate reality and bringing the listeners along with us. The great sitarist, Pt. Nikhil Banerjee, said it best:

“I do not compromise with anybody or anything else in the world. I do not care. I want to really go beyond this materialistic world…not for the sake of enjoyment, entertainment, no. A musician must lift up the souls of the listeners and take them towards space.”

This is the magic of sound. It penetrates to the deepest level of the mind. This is the calming practice of nada yoga — becoming one with cosmic consciousness through meditating on sound vibrations, which ultimately leads one to discover the inner sound current, unheard by our daily auditory perception.

Our body is essentially vibrating at its own frequency, compacted into slower vibrations which make our body appear to be a physical form. When in actuality, it is not as solid as we think.We exist as a flowing river of ever-changing light and sound vibrations. Entering into this world is like opening a portal for these divine frequencies to flow through. A channel between heaven and earth.

Through consistent practice of either playing the instrument or listening to this music, our minds begin to settle, sharpen, and transform. A higher, psychic light becomes evident and begins to guide us to the ultimate reality, beyond duality. It is truly a path of spiritual awakening.

Diana Waldron is a writer and a sitarist.

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