Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Playing with Sounds

(Back from two and a half week retreat with Ruth Denison, at Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana Center, I am devoting the next few weeks to sharing Ruth's wonderful teachings.)

A Concentration Technique for Sitting Meditation.

A few minutes into our early morning sitting,  I heard the familiar sound of Ruth's cane  outside, door opening, shoes taken off, and soon the surprise of Ruth clearing her voice, very loudly, unapologetically, as she was making her way to the front of the zendo. "ok, now you do it." Ruth was inviting us to join her. Clearing our throat . . .  then coughing . . . then swallowing three times, mindfully, then playing around with making sounds with each out breath,

a................
o................
ou..............
ou..............
o................
a................

ay..............
i.................
u................
u................
i.................
e...............

out loud, then silently, on our own, settling back into sitting meditation. 

Using the sounds to support concentration, and continuing until concentration is established. "This is very fine work" says Ruth. 

Indeed . . .

2 comments:

  1. Would it not be great, when making these sounds would be a regular usual activity of every human being? Everyone, who has a voice, indeed can and it is a natural cure for so many things - I think and feel. Some people call it energy healing - body, mind and soul connecting. Found this site that shows http://dotsvoicestudios.com/

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  2. Yes, and so simple . . . Thanks to Ruth I have come around to understand why the monks and nuns chant so much. Besides the internalization of wholesome thoughts and purification of mind from chanting wise and loving reflections, there is also the physical clearing of the whole breathing space, the mouth, the throat, the chest.

    Last week, for the first time, I attended a tsok celebration with Sogan Rinpoche, a great Tibetan teacher, and went through the whole hour of reciting, with that exact mindset. There is a reason for many such practices. It is just that we have lost sight. As Westerners, it is especially important for us to know such things, because of our need to understand first, and practice second :)

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