Sunday, April 5, 2015

Broken Sound Barriers

This inquiry is a sort of follow up to the question of Peacocks found here, but it can certainly be done solo.  It's an amazing exercise.   Though I've done this work before I keep returning to it because I never get tired of of looking at the questions. 

It's a lot of fun to examine sensory input such as sound because once you dive in, your previously hard and fixed view of how it's experienced can dramatically shift.  What often results is the finding that we live in a world filtered by layers of rigid assumptions.  To see this brings a sense of playfulness and ease which can open us up to a more unexpected and wonder-filled world view.

So let's start.

Where is the border between me and sound?

When looking at this question, the first thing I find myself trying to imagine is what's meant by the word "border".  Obviously, it can't be a line or edge, because sound doesn't come to me by passing through a border as though it required a passport for entry.  Nope.  Sound seems to 'find' me whether I want it or not, as evidenced by the fact that right now I find the dialogue coming from my television set to be a whole lot louder than I'd like.  If there was a border, I'd make it stop before entering my hearing space.  So no, I can't turn away a sound.  It's here, and heard, and doesn't care about my wishes or opinions on its existence.  Besides, I've never heard of a border between me and sound, so this one seems straightforward.

That was pretty easy, so let's push a bit more and take it further.

What does it mean to find that there is no filter or border?  Doesn't the lack of a line or demarcation dissolve the idea of there being a me AND a sound?  Does the evidence show two things interacting, or does it show just one? 

Listening.....  There's dialogue from the TV.

But I can't hear a me HEARING the sound.  There isn't a hearer running interference between the act of hearing and what's being heard.  The dialogue is happening, and the sound is immediately just here without any interruption.  I can't find three things... hearer, hearing, and heard.  Sound just appears.  Out of nowhere... thin air.

This finding has a quality of wonder because the assumption of language is that there are three parts to the story.  Even the simplest sound has just one part, not many. (for example, the ding of the kitchen timer that just went off).  It did not take multiple steps....


Those are all words used to tell a story about a single event without borders.  There was simply, Ding!  Though to be able to tell you what happened I'd need to express it in a way which suggests that there were multiple parts and players (nouns and verbs), the truth is that the reality of experience is completely collapsed into just the raw happening, the.... Ding!

Is that what's meant by One-ness?

Working Questions For Your Own Inquiry:

Questions for Investigation:

When a sound appears, check for the existence of a filter or barrier between the sound and the ear.  Does the ear need to work to hear the sound or is the sound simply there, experienced effortlessly.

Tools for Ongoing Inquiry:

Try to actively block a sound from being heard.  Look for the boundary or blocking point between what is heard and the hearer.  Is there any way to stop the sound from being heard by placing a wall in front of it?

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