By Satya Hinduja
All life is energy in one form or another and sound is one of the most subtle energies affecting our consciousness in many unseen ways, at many unseen levels.
Urbanization is one of the leading global trends of the 21st century that has had and is having a significant impact on our global health. Most of the 4.2 billion people living in cities – half of humanity – suffer from inadequate housing and transport, poor sanitation and waste management, and air quality failing WHO guidelines. Other forms of pollution, such as noise, water and soil contamination, urban heat islands, and a dearth of space for walking, cycling and active living also combine to make cities epicenters of the noncommunicable diseases epidemic, pandemic and drivers of climate change.
These challenges have been at the forefront of why my individual artistic journey has been evolving into birthing the Alchemic sonic Environment project.
As a human being whose given name ‘Satya’* has been carrying the energy of the word truth, exploring and practicing the yoga sutras, vedic philosophy, various ancient wisdom and methods of reprogramming the subconscious mind have become an integral part of my daily life.
Influenced by the metaphysical Hindu concept of Nada Brahma (the primal sound of being), I have been researching the essence of resonance to develop ways of deeply listening to the energetic cycles of life hence allowing me to make positive choices that lead to the neuronal regeneration of the intelligent body.
Daily Personal Rituals
1. As I begin the day the first step of embodying a healthy mindset is to set a very strong intention by meditating on ancient masters, symbols and states of being. Bringing attention and awareness to the centre of the forehead and focusing on deep silent breathing patterns calm the mind and silence one’s thoughts allowing for clear guidance to manifest into the day.
As I sit in meditative practice, I have been focusing particularly on bringing awareness and attention to the sit bones - feeling the earth beneath the body as dense matter and as breath is filled up towards the top of the head, a silent and empty space is felt. This cycle allows for me to feel the relationship of space, matter and everything in between, sensing and observing the rhythm of the breath as a continuum cycle. Following the breath without any distracting thoughts allows for a color, a message or insights to be revealed leading to healthy motivation for the self and the day.
2. In our fast paced lives we generally grab and go but slowing ourselves down and making recipes of water with orange and mint, rosemary and thyme, oil of oregano and echinacea can be so healing for the body. We are all well aware that health guidelines recommend humans to drink at least 2 liters of water a day. The human body is made up of about 65-70% water. Water holds memories and patterns and hence giving time, setting intentions and bringing moments of ritualistic focus into our water can have profound impacts on our physical health.
3. Having deep awareness of daily and monthly energetic cycles and the awareness of smell and its relationship to positive experiences, I work daily and consistently with herbs like native american white sage, palo santo and juniper cedar to cleanse the energy of the space I live and work in.
It has been scientifically proven that the olfactory stimuli brings up a lot of memories and emotions. It’s bulb a region of the central nervous system that processes sensory information from the nose is part of the limbic system in the human brain. Hence I choose the olfactory stimuli that’s used in ancient healing ceremonies and rituals to help daily productivity and increase positive moods.
4. Within the developing Alchemic Sonic Environment lifestyle, the core focus has been to work with a multidisciplinary approach to sound as a personal tool for transformation. We are too used to just being passive listeners of music. Within my conscious research in these past 8 years I have experimented and experienced with sound, learning it’s power and becoming aware of its potential to hack, heal, unravel and understand consciousness.
Everything in this universe is in a constant state of vibration, including our bodies. Sound is vibration that can be translated by the delicate structures of our inner ear, and it moves more than just those tiny receptors, sound is transmitted four times faster through liquid and ten times faster through bone density. It is part of the spectrum of energy vibrations that affect us physiologically, psychologically and biologically of clinical significance. The most fascinating aspect of sound is that we’ve been listening since sixteen weeks in our mother’s womb!
Sound has the capacity to change the chemistry of our body, mind and soul. Since time immemorial sound has been used in native shamanistic societies and eastern philosophies (mantra and sutras) to heal people. Sonic vibration has been one way of experiencing the energy of the universe for much of humanity's history.
Hence I spend time with the power and essence of my voice especially in toning, vocalization and song, to create and perpetuate the reality I desire. We don’t have to be great singers, our voice becomes the sacred teacher and sound becomes the source. The key to practice is to focus on the art of deep and compassionate listening as an act of meditation, being completely connected with your capacity to bring awareness and attention to what you are hearing. Making clear discernments between passive hearing and active listening. We are constantly surrounded by sound waves and most times we aren’t even aware of its presence. The idea is to start thinking sound.
As we begin to practice using the voice starting with a single note and moving our tongues like child’s play we start to become aware of the subtle overtones (one of the higher tones produced simultaneously with the fundamental and that with the fundamental comprise a complex musical tone) that our human vocal tracts have within its complex structures. We begin to start feeling the vibrations in our throat, our chest, our facial muscles and buccal cavities depending on how we move and place our tongues. It helps us watch our own thoughts and over time we even watch our thoughts come to an end, since we begin tapping into its transcendental states.
Of course naturally then, we begin observing ourselves observing and become aware of how we are observing things. This helps us make better choices and become better human beings. And brings us to the awareness that we really are just waves of atomic energy within the unfolding symphony of life!
When the vibrations of our physical and spiritual bodies are out of harmony it can cause disease. Sound and ancient healing systems such as Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurveda associate specific musical notes with subtle-energy systems of the body, such as in yoga where particular notes of sound correspond to each of the seven chakras. In Tibet, priests have long used bells and bowls over and around the body to tune and clear the energy centers. Chimes and tuning forks are other tools that have been used to heal not only the body but the energy field within a room. We begin to perform acts of self-healing that connects us with one of the most basic vibrations of the universe.
Its never too late to start shifting our focus towards our ears, a pathway to deepen our hearts.
Alchemic Sonic Environment
Alchemic Sonic Environment explores the nature of health as process to redefine the transformational power of sound. The work focuses on the auditory sensory processing system and it’s impacts on human potential. Since 2011 I have been researching and developing the ASE Method, collaborating with artists, neuroscientists and healing arts practitioners.
The capacity of certain tones, physical spaces and symbolic interventions intend to sensitize the receptive listener demanding a specific state, one that contains a ritualistic power, suffused with energies that sit beyond the rational mind.
Merging my mother culture’s origin of meditative sound and my passion for experimental electronica, I’ve been creating Alchemic Sonic Environments (ASE): site specific, multi-sensory deep listening experiences designed to invoke states of reflection, receptivity and exchange.
*(Sanskrit word for truth, carrying the virtue of being truthful in one’s thoughts, speech and action)
Native American White Sage at the Alchemic Sonic Environment at Vedary, Mumbai.
Satya’s daily toning and vocalization techniques with the Shruti Box, Alchemic Sonic Environment