How does the physical world maintain the illusion of a solid reality?
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The magic of sound vibration
In my last blog I wrote about mantras. Many people on a spiritual quest have come across the idea of a mantra, even if they haven’t committed to many years of regular practice. As I have already explained, I learned a Sanskrit mantra from a Transcendental Meditation (TM) teacher in the 1970s, getting on for half a century ago. I found the results dramatic, effective and life-changing. Shortly after my initiation into the TM method, I had an illumination experience that can only be described as a whole body meeting with the Divine Source within me. Ultimately, learning that technique all those years ago led me to writing this blog!
Sanskrit is a very ancient language, described as ‘sacred’ because the sounds are ‘primordial’, which means they are fundamental, original and embedded in the unfolding universe from the very beginning of Creation. The most famous of all Sanskrit mantras is Om. We can hear the mmmm sound in the universe and in the activities of the natural world. Another primordial sound is sshh, the noise of the sea. Astrophysicists have heard this sshh sound through radio telescopes that can pick up the sound traces left over from the so-called Big Bang, what we currently think was the very first activity in Creation.
Choosing your sounds
Anyone can choose their own mantra. The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson described how, as a child, he would achieve a state of inner tranquillity when he repeated his own name silently. I assume he used ‘Tennyson’, not ‘Alfred’. There are definitely sounds that work best for meditation practice.‘Carrot’, for instance, would not work very well, as you can imagine. You can test some basic sounds for yourself. Lie on your bed in a darkened room, covered with a blanket or duvet. Close your eyes. Make the following sounds aloud, letting them vibrate in your body: Sshhh… Aahhh… Mmmm… You will probably find these sounds soothing, or intense – or both. You could try some ‘hard’ sounds, such as: Kkkkk… Ddddd… Ttttt… Play around with any sounds you want to test.
Psychologists, investigating the Transcendental Meditation movement’s claim that certain sounds had more beneficial vibrational effects, tested whether any particular sounds could be used to achieve a state of inner calm and peace. They certainly agreed that a word like ‘carrot’ would not be conducive.
Why I teach Hebrew zeras
In 1982 I was surprised by an inner vision of an Angel, which I later realised was an Archangel from the Jewish mystical tradition. The reason I was surprised was because Angels were not at all on my spiritual radar. The Angel was carrying a blue crystal, and crystals were also off my scanner. To keep a long story short, this Archangel led me to find the Tree of Life diagram in Jewish mysticism, where I discovered other Archangels I could converse with. When I realised that Hebrew is also a sacred language based on primordial sounds, I decided to experiment with using words from Hebrew, rather than my original Sanskrit TM mantra.
The Jewish mystical tradition places great emphasis on sounds and alphabets. The oldest kabbalistic text, the Sefer ha’ Yetzirah (The Book of Creation) describes how Creation began with the systematic use of sounds as evenim – building blocks. Every sound represented by a Hebrew letter plays an essential role in the structure of the cosmos. When we sound the letters, either aloud or inwardly, we are creating a vibration that resonates with the architecture of the universe.
I call the Hebrew sound I have chosen for myself, and for students as well, a zera, meaning a ‘seed’. During our meditation sessions, we ‘plant’ this seed deep into our consciousness. That seed will germinate as our inner Tree of Life begins to grow.