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Day 145 - Sound Baths, Healing & Accessing What is There.

Sound baths are a new concept for me. I have never been but I have a friend that is going to one Monday night and he is very excited about it. His excitement got me thinking...

Why is this an up and coming thing?

Why are there so many people going to these lately?

I know they have been around for years, hundreds of years.

What the hell is a sound bath anyway?

Essentially, a sound bath is a meditation class that aims to guide you into a deep meditative state while enveloping you in ambient sound played by instructors, or sound therapists. Sometimes you lie in savasana or sometimes participants are in seated positions.

But describing what it is doesn’t explain it. I think this is one of those things that you have to do before you can really understand it. So I am going to go and I will report back to the class...

However, I still want to talk about this. I think it is so interesting how there has been a proliferation of spiritual practices becoming more commonplace...

I bought a yoga book when I was 12 and started my journey - certainly took me a few years (or decades) to develop a daily practice but I have come to rely on my daily yogic practice for balance, stability and mental fortitude. It has become the backbone of my life.

Thanks to Mike Allard in the 10th grade, I have been meditating since then. Nothing like an attractive, exciting and unusual boy to spark an interest in something non-mainstream for a teenaged girl. He was also the person who introduced me to Buddhism and so began that practice as well. Another daily support for my life.

I find it interesting and exciting that so many things that were once thought of as “out there” are becoming available for everyone. Yoga studios are in every town, everywhere. I do not know anyone who has not at least tried a class. Maybe they felt uncomfortable, but they have at least tried it.

Now I live in California which has always been on the alternative edge. Welcoming in all that is new, trendy and different. I love that about where I live. Everyone seems open to new ideas and thoughts and is willing to explore them.

This also has another side, I see a lot of people in my community just reaching for a new fix. What new agey thing can take the edge off, what can bring peace and serenity? I see a lot of people running around trying to get these things and spending a lot of money doing it.

However, I think they miss the point...these practices do not, in and of themselves, bring peace, contentment and serenity, they are just tools to help us access what is already within us. They provide a structure to our internal processes.

Sound baths, mediation, yoga, mindfulness retreats these are not things that I believe are there to add something to our lacking lives, they are tools for us to use, if we so choose, to enrich and develop new ways to access what is within us. Using these practices to add something to us, is a kind of fundamental violence to our being. I believe that we are already whole complete beings, but we have become disconnected from our core, our true nature. Spiritual practices are ways to re-introduce ourselves to ourselves.

Pema Chodron made the point that if you run around thinking that meditating and doing yoga will make you a better person, a calmer person, a happier person; one is kind of missing the point.

"Loving kindness - maitri - toward ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy, we can still be angry. We can still be timid or jealous, or full of feelings of unworthiness. Mediation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That's what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest."

I like the idea that I am already a good person, that is sometimes calm and sometimes not. It is in those moments where I lose my calm, that I can use these spiritual tools to help me access my calmer, more serene self. How I am as a person is not changed. Mediation, prayer, sound baths, yoga do not make me better, they just help me see myself more clearly. The places I need work, the places where I am doing a good job. Using these spiritual practices to strengthen my ego do me no good at all. I already have enough ego, enough of the errant ideas like “if I workout every day then I will be a better person.” Working out every day might make me a stronger person or perhaps a healthier person but it will not make me a better person. If I am a horrible person that works out every day, then after some time I will just be a stronger, perhaps healthier horrible person. Engaging in these spiritual practices will only help me see myself in a clearer light, but I have to let go the idea that any of these practices will make me better.

I love the proliferation of mindful activities. I love to see so many people engaging with themselves on a deeper level. In my opinion, we all benefit when we come to know ourselves better. It is by me learning to see myself, flaws and all, that I can begin to see you and love you even when I do not like what I see. Because I have already done this with myself. Same process for others. By working on myself, my practice in loving me and you even when what I see falls short of what I want is strengthen, deepened.

For now, I like the idea of laying in savasana, allowing my hearing sense to be amplified and soothed. Seems like I could really use that these days. Not to escape my life, but to sink more deeply into the amazing life I have. I like the idea of being bathe in sound. Makes me feel peaceful, relaxed and at home in my spirit and body. Two places that so often are not in harmony. I am all for anything that assisting me in transmuting the spiritual realm into my daily life.

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