My sound healing practice evolved out of a decades long yoga practice. My experience early in my practice went beyond the asanas and made inroads into the the eight paths of yoga. The fundamental meaning of yoga is to “still the mind”; the goal is this so that we can see reality clearly. There are a number of different ways to help our minds be still; these are all addressed in ancient yoga texts that show the way.
In our society, we haven’t been exposed to the methods of stilling the mind until recently. We have a lot of growth potential in terms of learning how to live in the world with a stilled mind. Shifting the conversation to sound healing and why I think its so important, the sound frequencies, act as a focal point which the mind can rest upon. Simply sitting in quiet meditation can be difficult for some people. The mind may still chatter. In a sound bath, you get a good opportunity to start to still the mind. Even if its still chattering, the sound whisks away the thoughts more easily as they come by, and provides something “concrete” for the mind to rest upon. Sound healing, provides a platform in which to develop the still of the mind. We can take what we accomplished in the sound bath out into our lives and put it to use.
I want to introduce another aspect in how we can still our minds. Its a phrase called “assume goodwill”. It origins are ancient, and esoteric. When I refer to something as esoteric I mean that it originates from ancient knowledge and practices that were used by “spiritual masters”, or those learning to be that in ancient times. This knowledge was “hidden” from most people, mostly due to people trying to stay in power, and lack of information flow. Now that we have a far more free society (although we’ve made only a little progress compared to where we could be, and we’ve backslid on a lot), the once tucked away information is available for anyone who is will to look for it.
So, back to the phrase, “assume goodwill”; this can be harder than it seems. What about when someone is aggressive and then angrily cuts you off in traffic, not fun. A natural reaction is to feel offended. That starts off a set of chemical reactions in the brain that lead to more anxiety, more negative emotions; all contributing to not stilling the mind and therefore not being able to see things clearly. So even though we feel we have been wronged and it is our right to feel offended, we end up hurting ourselves more than anyone else.
What happens when we assume goodwill, we keep our mind calm, clear and serene. Yes, there is a hiccup in our travel experience, but we keep steady and those emotions of upset filter through us without disturbing our peace of mind. Assuming goodwill in this context asks ‘what is that person going through’, ‘they must be having a hard time’, ‘I hope their day gets better’, ‘maybe they’ve had a hard life and this is how they deal with it’, ‘I will give that person space to help both of us’. Thinking with goodwill is a technique to build clarity, and every time we build on our clarity we have an opportunity to see reality more clearly. Every time we take a step in seeing reality more clearly we can open up to the reality that love is the driving force of the entire universe.