The use of listening as it relates to rhythm and sound are ways to induce deep states of trance and for expanding consciousness. Take a moment to listen on the inside. Listen not only with the ears but with the deepest awareness of the most subtle vibrations of thought and feeling. You may hear external noises and perhaps the beating of your heart. You may hear the sounds of breath as it goes in and out. As you listen, the body and mind naturally begins to withdraw energy from external noises, and as you focus within, the inner sounds become more and more noticeable. Listen and focus upon what you hear. Just listen without mental judgment. Allow consciousness to be immersed in the vibration of the inner sound, however it may manifest.
Keep the eyes quiet and unmoving and you may find that the thoughts come to a point of stillness. With closed eyes there is the chance of drifting into sleep, which is not the purpose of this exercise. The idea is to get into a conscious state of deep trance wherein the mind is quiet and yet you are still aware in an expanded way. It helps to keep the eyes closed and slightly uplifted (without straining) to stay awake. With the practice of keeping the eyes still, you will find that thoughts quickly drop away. From the vantage point of deep relaxation, you may find awareness flitting between total lucidity and sleep. By keeping the body totally still (in sitting posture), the feeling of expansion will increase beyond the body. Just observe, without fighting thoughts. The mind then becomes a screen upon which you, the Observer, watches the panorama of thoughts and memories as they pass through. Again, just observe.
The whole purpose of this practice is to allow a glimpse into the wider consciousness beyond the attachments and fickleness of the normally agitated mind. It allows a look into dimensions outside of time. The use of certain chants or mantras can help if you understand the use of vocal harmonics. Vocal harmonics are a way of singing 2, 3 or more notes at the same time. You all produce harmonics naturally through your voice. That is what gives the voice its unique sound. Without harmonics your voices would all sound the same. The conscious use of vocal harmonics magnifies the power of prayers and mantras. It also quickly entrains the mind to enter deep states of trance where much creative work can be accomplished.
When the low note of C on a piano is struck, the other C notes begin to vibrate (creating sound) because they harmonically resonate with the struck key. With the human voice, certain notes can be sung to not only vibrate other notes in the vocal apparatus but to also vibrate different areas of the body, including the organs and the spiritual centers known as chakras.
The practice of toning or chanting can be as simple as singing any of the vowel sounds: a, e, i, o, u. Or it can be a chanting of certain mantras such as “OM”, “HUM”, or “AH” or any combination such as “Om-Ah-Hum.” The idea is to listen on the inside and feel. This combination of rhythm and sound will take the consciousness into deep states of relaxation and trance.
With this practice, the ability to separate the notes (vocal harmonics) will come naturally as your awareness will be able to tune into subtle sounds within and then be able to project them at the same time.
For an example of what vocal harmonics sounds like, click the link to go to “Manaka Studios.” Allow about a minute for the file to download. It’s an aif file and requires Quicktime Player. A free player can be uploaded here.