Today I went to a Sound Light Healing Concert with Pierre Garreaud at the Akasah Yoga Studio in Jamaica Plain. Akasha is a very sweet, homey little one room studio about a mile from my apartment. I love the space with its giant Love Sac bean bag type chair, small kitchen and friendly, laid-back atmosphere. The Sound Light Concert is something I signed up for before I started my new job. This person had been there once before and I had wanted to go but ended up missing it because of work. So, when I saw he was coming back and that it fell on my day off, I took it as a sign to go.
Sound Healing is meant to be exactly what it says it is: healing through sound. I think sound is a very strong tool. It can instantly change the mood of a room. In yoga, I think it's a pretty amazing tool to just drop people into their practice so they can just move without their minds making too much noise. So, the idea of this workshop is to use Peruvian and Native American instruments and singing to open up the meridians of the body so that energy can move freely. After the time I had at my old job, it sounded like something I really needed, so I jumped at it. Today, I wasn't sure I wanted to go anymore. I was feeling different than I did at the time, less "I'm going to scream if I don't get out of here!" and more, "ok, I'm here, whatever." But, I paid the money for it and I like the sound of that kind of music, so sure, let's go.
Pierre set up his instruments and told us his background and explained the concepts behind Sound Healing. He also said that he was going to be focusing on the lower chakras: 1, 2 and 3. #1, The Root Chakra is all about feeling secure and safe, grounded. #2 is the Sacral Chakra and is all about feelings: desires, sensations, sexuality and home to your creativity. #3 is the Naval Chakra, home to your self confidence. He said that too often, people just focus on the upper chakras: heart, throat, third-eye and crown. Basically, spending all the time experiencing "divine" communication and the like without having any ground to come back to. It's kind of like having all these amazing insightful experiences through mediation and what not, (I can't remember his words exactly) and then not wanting to come back to the more physical ones. Basically, not spending a whole lot of time in the present, material world. Which kind of reminded me of...me, lol. Chakras 1-3 are our foundation and are just as important as the upper ones--especially because they are developed first. According to Pierre, each chakra takes 7 years to develop. Birth-7 years old=First chakra; 8-14=Second; 15-21=Third, 22-28=Fourth and so on. Which makes a lot of sense when you think about it the psychological stages of human development. Of course, that also means they tend to hold the oldest "blocks." Pierre described them as "rocks," that you keep going around and kicking every time you come to them, until you figure out that you can use them as a stepping stone. Ah, very nice. He also said something about "the ego" that I really liked. He said that it is something we need, not something that needs to be extracted or eliminated. Basically, he referred to it as the part of us that can recognize that we've had experiences, the part that can feel that, "oh, I just had an amazing experience in mediation," or whatever. It's hard to remember the exact words or explanation he used, but that's the gist of it, and it makes a lot of sense to me. I don't think "the mind" or "the ego" are necessarily bad things that need to be removed like a cancer. They are a part of every human being and serve a purpose. It's more like they're tools that we are given in order to relate what we see and experience to the rest of the world.
With all that in mind, when Pierre asked us to raise our hands for which chakra we wanted to work with most, I went for the second. Ages 8-14 were extremely tough for me, mostly because that's when my home life was kind of in shambles via my parents divorce. I also don't feel very creative and usually restrict a lot my feelings. The third is also a good one for me, but the second was the one I felt needed the most attention. Either way, the music was played for everyone, no matter which chakra you choose to work on....this was more like "setting an intention" for the session.
So, my experience was...interesting. It's kind of hard to put into cohesive sentences and paragraphs, so here is a bullet version of my "journey" (as Pierre called it):
-->holy moly, it sounds like the lady next to me is going through an exorcism!!! And we're only 5 minutes in...at most!
-->it's really hard to just let go and be open when she's making so much noise! It's like an assault on my senses! Not only am I really sensitive to sound, the sounds of people upset really gets to me. Listen to the music, listen to your breath...everything else is just background noise....
-->I love his singing. It's Native American chanting and it just sounds so primal and....organic, natural. It doesn't really sound like there's any real words or structure, more like he's just singing off a base and then altering it to accommodate the people in the room. And I love the sound of the drum! When he comes over and plays it right above/next to me, I can literally feel the vibrations in my body. He walks around the room and to each of us to play above us and, when he first started, he was playing a rattle of some kind. The rattle was hard on the ears at first too, and I kind of tried to push into my mat to get away from the sound. But when he played it over me, I literally felt a little...tingle (for lack of a better word) right at my belly button. I gave a little smile and laugh...that's cool! :-)
--> I really loved the drumming piece of the session. Largely because it was loud enough to drown out my own thoughts AND everyone else's sounds. But also because it goes right into me. When he played over the woman next to me, she yelled louder. When he played over me and I could feel its vibrations inside me, I just laughed and smiled :-) When the drumming part was over, my whole body literally felt like it was humming, or vibrating...I'm not sure if there's a difference. After that I think it was more rattles or something, I don't really remember the particular instrument, but he was singing the whole time.
-->Somewhere along the way, I started wondering why I was the only one who seemed totally calm...almost unresponsive. Everyone else seemed to be having these phenomenal experiences and I felt myself getting kind of jealous like, "Hey, what's wrong with me?! Why aren't I feeling anything phenomenal?" And then I started realizing, "Oh. I'm the only one 'awake.'" Everyone else is really letting themselves go and just experiencing what's happening to them. I'm doing the "movements," a.k.a, the specific breathing he wanted us to do, but my mind is totally awake and observing the whole thing. I started realizing, I don't spend a whole hell of a lot of time in "this world," I spend most of the time in my head. Listening to and observing what's going on around me, but not really engaging with it. I don't know. Maybe it was my reaction to the woman next to me. When other people are freaking out, my immediate reaction is to detach and remain as calm as possible. It's possible that could have set the tone for the whole thing. Maybe. I also feel like, even a year and a half of doing yoga, it is still pretty difficult for me to just let go. To stop thinking and analyzing and observing and just simply experience things...to just be here. Hmm...interesting side note, I'll file that away and write it down later. Right, back to breathing...
-->His singing and the rattles aren't loud enough. The people around me are still too loud, and I'm still thinking too much. Maybe I should try making sound as I breathe out. Nothing huge, just a little sigh. That actually feels really good. It's easier to follow my own breath and voice when I actually make noise. It doesn't even have to be super loud, just enough for me to hear it. I feel more...present.
-->The lady next to me is starting to quiet down, she must have worked through some pretty intense stuff!
-->What is that? I felt...something, an emotion. Nothing huge. But it's there. I can feel it just behind my eyes. Deep breath in, long out with a little sound...feels better, emotion passed.
-->Crap. My back is really starting to hurt. I should have doubled up the mats! I knew I was going to be laying here for 2 hours! Why didn't I prepare better?! Should have doubled the mats and put a blanket under knees. I can't lay flat on my back for this long....Holy crap! I sound like my mom!!! No, I'm too young for this s**t! I'm really tired of being injured...I just want my life back....
-->Huh. Interesting thought floating through my head: my injuries are forcing me to be present. Can't zone out when there is a sharp pain in your back. I also think that my injuries force me to connect with people, because I need their help to fix them. When I wasn't injured, I didn't spend too much time with people. I was usually off hiking or doing something on my own. But it also feels like my injuries are also preventing me from fully engaging with the world, because I can't be as active as my friends without there being pain. That's an interesting paradox. I wonder if it's possible for me to engage with the world without needing to be injured to do so...
-->Whoa! It kind of feels like I'm floating. No, not floating. More like sliding backwards. That's really cool. I kind of feel like I just keep rolling backwards...very cool.
-->Crap. My back is really hurting. I wonder if putting my knees up would ruin the experience...like breaking the spell. I don't care, it's hurts and I don't know how much longer this session is going to last. Oh my god! My lower back just popped and shifted. That feels SO much better! Now I can relax a little more...
-->He's just whistling gently now and waving something above us. I think I'm starting to understand the method to this whole thing. The rattles shake everything up. The singing connects to the different chakras that he's focusing on. The drum wakes everything up...you feel alive! More rattles to keep shaking things loose and "move stuff out." Waving whatever it was above us is literally clearing the air. Cool. Hey! Brain, why are you still awake?! Be quiet.
-->Now he's ringing bells and striking notes on, probably, a metal bowl. It sounds amazing and drops me right in. It's like listening to someone hit a church bell. Literally quiets my mind and just...drops me in. There's no better phrase for me. Finally, quiet.
-->He's playing a wind pipe, or flute, or whatever. Picture Native American flute sound. It's so beautiful and it hits a chord somewhere deep inside me. I start crying. The only thought in my head: I want to go home. I don't belong here, this is not my world. The only thing I can think of is being alone in the desert with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. I don't want to be here anymore. I want to go home. Big breath in, breathe out...more deep breathing. Nope. Emotion, not passing.
-->Flute done. The room is completely quiet and still. We lay quietly for a few more minutes before giving us the ok to move around and stretch. Holy crap, my back hurts....and my arms are stiff from just laying with them palm up out to the side! Emotion still very raw. Tears quietly rolling down the side of my face as I look at the trees outside the window. I want to go home. I don't want to be here anymore. I don't belong here, this is not my world. Those same thoughts keep running through my head and I can feel the emotion pushing against my chest and throat. What I am doing here? I belong outside, in nature. I don't want to get up. It takes far too much energy to be a part of "that world." Crowds of people on the trains and buses. Loud sirens screaming down the streets with the huge and loud diesel trucks roaring along side them. Wearing clothes I don't like, "dressing up" just so that I can play a part in this world. Spend all day indoors, 5 days a week. Have 1 day to myself. 1 day. Just 1 day to relax and just do something I enjoy. This is not living. What am I doing here?!
-->He's talking, thanking everyone for coming. Everyone enthusiastically thanks him. Namaste, thank you. I can't say anything, there's a lump in my throat. I just lay there on my back with one leg pulled in stretching the outside of my hip Everyone starts getting up around me. They're all happy and talking with each other. Crap. Why did I do this? I wipe the tears from my eyes and make my way to the bathroom and slide down the wall to finally really cry. I don't want to go outside. I just want to stay here. Nope, can't stay here forever, gotta move. I wipe my eyes, wash my face with cold water to wake myself up. I walk back into the room but still feel unsteady. I get some water and sit in front of the partially open window. The fresh air feels SO good. What am I doing here? I sit there for many minutes just feeling the air on my face, trying to steady my emotions and convince myself to move. Everyone's almost gone. Can't stay here forever, gotta move.
-->He sees me as he's packing up his things and asks me how I'm doing. Nervous/slightly annoyed smile and shake my head, more tears. He asks if I want to talk, he's not going anywhere. Sure. I tell him about the thoughts running through my head and he asks where I want to be and what I want to be doing. Where? I'm not completely sure, but I'm starting to get a good idea. It's time to move, away from the city. Not right now. There are things set in motion that I need to go with and see where they end up. I miss the desert. He says, "Maybe it's time to go back." Yeah, it might be. And then I look outside and see the trees...which were one of the big motivations for picking a different climate: no trees like that in the desert. No four seasons like we have here, with flowers and falling leaves. "You could live in many places and follow the seasons." Maybe. What do I want to be doing? God I'm tired of that question. I don't know. "What makes you happy?" I don't even feel like I know anymore. I'm just tired. Tired of trying to figure things out, "soul search," and do work just so that I can get by in this world. "This world? Earth? You feel like you belong somewhere else, Heaven?" Yeah, lol, heaven. No, more like in "civilized" society, the "real world." I told him that I look at all the job listings and think, "I don't want to do any of that. It doesn't interest me in the slightest." He said, "so make your own. You need to find out what your talents are and then find a way to bring them to the world." Hmm. That's a little different way to look at it. We'll see. Again. I've just made a lot of changes and set some things in motion, we'll see what happens...
I think that is a deep feeling that's kind of been resting beneath the surface just waiting for a chance to surface. It's not like I didn't know it was there. I've been feeling the desire to move--really move--for the past several months. It's like a part of me knows that I never expected to live here long term--which surprised the hell out of the other part of me, lol. "Wait a sec! I never said that I intended to go back! To the black hole?!" I don't know. Boston no longer feels very free, I feel restricted, almost trapped. Limited transportation, high cost of living...Either way, right now is not the time for a big move--job or location. I think this was just a feeling I'd been keeping suppressed so that I could keep moving through out my days without breaking down or exploding at an innocent by-stander. Maybe it just needed to be heard...to really be heard. Hence the putting it down in some kind of "concrete" form: yes, I felt you, and I acknowledge that there is something else in my life that really needs to change.
But not yet.