Drumsound rises on the air,
its throb, my heart.
A voice inside the beat
says, “I know you’re tired,
but come. This is the way.”
Translated by Coleman Barks
It was a still morning, with a few ripples in the wide expanse of the nearby waters. On the far horizon there was a slight hint of the nighttime hues surrendering into the gentle oranges of dawn. Then, suddenly, almost magically, there were sounds of joy percolating in the distance.
My mind danced with the disappearance and reappearance of silence and sound. Like a heartbeat, the rhythm echoed the mysterious pulsebeat of life. The sound was quick and had such pure, crisp openness that it conveyed completeness and wholeness. No more, no less – past and future gathered and resonating in a timeless cadence.
The underlying silence was unruffled. Each utterance left no residue as it rose and receded, again and again. This rhythmic repetition slowly infused the sky with a beautiful sense of aliveness. Within minutes one clear beat had magnified into thousands, seemingly gracing the world with remembrance of the infinite source of its teeming and cyclical vitality.
The carriers of this commemoration of life were flocks of geese flying toward the eastern radiance, their wings fluidly synchronized with the comings and goings of life. They needed neither clock nor calendar nor compass to celebrate the newness of the day – or, even a season or direction. There, in the mass of wings and sound, I felt my heart fly fearlessly with them, into the light.
This practice supports awareness of hearing.
- Intentionally minimize the potential electronic distractions in your immediate environment. For example, silence the electronic device you are using, or shift it to airplane mode and remove any others, including those on your wrist.
- Playfully shake out through your limbs. As you do this, invite a sense of being fully supported by the earth beneath you – even if through a floor – and the ever-present space around you.
- Take a moment to recall your human embodiment. With one of your hands, gently squeeze your opposite arm from the hand to the shoulder. Repeat on your other arm. Then, using one hand on each squeeze your legs from as far down as you can comfortably reach up to your hips. Wrap your arms around your upper torso and give yourself a hug.
- Find a comfortable seated position.
- If you are seated in a chair, rest both of your feet on the floor.
- Gently stroke your face with your fingertips of both hands, from the center (along your nose) outward. Do this a few times.
- With your thumb and first two fingers of both hands, very softly squeeze the edge of your ear from the top, along the back and to the lobe.
- Tilt your head slightly downward and cup your hands over your ears. Soften the muscles across your face, shoulders, throat and chest. If comfortable, invite a soft gentle breath, staying here until you sense some inner relaxation.
- Bring one of your palms slightly in front of your mouth, and softly exhale into your palm through your mouth. As you do this movement four to six times, notice the subtle sound. Rather than labeling it with what it sounds like, just listen. Imagine you are hearing this sound for the first time.
- Allow both hands to rest onto your thighs.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- Gently close your eyes and sit quietly for as long as you are comfortable.
- When you are ready, transition back into your day. As you go throughout your day, consider listening anew to the sounds you hear.
This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 46, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon on katevogt.com. KateVogt©2023.