Could sound be an answer to the question: What is energy? Sound is something one can not see or touch, but that still has the capacity to entice feelings, moods and focus. A song, a natural sound or the textures, repetition or familiarity of sound waves all have the potential to shift our mood and send us to a new place. I have personally played music live many years and experienced the effect a sound, melodies and atmosphere can have on an audience, and those playing the instruments. Sound is indeed powerful.
On one of our first ever Norway Retreats we had a sound meditation where we closed our eyes in the living room at Skjerjehamn where we were staying, focusing step by step on sounds outside the house, inside the house, sounds coming from people in the room and lastly our own breathing. It made me think about how sounds around us take energy or gives energy, but it is also down to what we choose to focus on. The human ear has an amazing capability of directing our attention to details, and filtering out other parts.
THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE
But what if there is no sound. What if there is silence? Is that even possible? I remember my good friend, music collaborator and sound engineer Kjetil (Kjetil with an audible "J") tell me about his experience with controlling the sound desk at a concert for deaf once. Playing on the stage was a sound artist working with frequencies that were so loud and powerful that the audience could feel it physically, in their bones. One of the attendees even asked Kjetil to turn the volume down.
When it's completely quiet inside a padded sound recording booth, there is still one sound that always seems louder than usual: one's own breath. Focusing on the breath (the rhythm and sound of it) is of course, a very frequent tool in meditation, mindfulness and yoga. To explore this focus is for me one of the most energy-boosting experiences that exists. A perfect energy top-up before returning to the sounds of the world around us. Kind of like starting with a blank sheet of music. Perhaps John Cage's 4'33 is the ultimate energy boosting music experience ever composed?
RECORDING THE SOUND OF THE SEA
I find that one of the sounds that gives me energy is the sound of the sea, and taking yourself on a artist date to the sea is a wonderful energy boosting experience.
Here is the sound I collected on our last trip.
I used my sound recorder, but have in the past also just used the recording function on my phone, which is surprisingly good! To record a natural sound or atmosphere, a so called "field recording", can be a form of sound meditation I find, as I listen for things I would usually not notice around me.
PS: Check out our new project Music + Meditation here and get a free audio meditation.