The power of mental sound
As with all concentrations that attempt to reproduce a sensory perception mentally, the greater or lesser difficulty in performing it derives from the state of the connected Element. The prevalence of an Element in the psychophysical constitution makes the associated practice easier; simultaneously, this excess causes an imbalance in the remaining Elements, making it difficult for the sensory exercises that refer to them.
If a particular sensory exercise proves problematic in its execution, it is worthwhile to insist. This way, you will have the opportunity to improve your soul balance, combining this training with the soul mirror, self-suggestion, and the magic of water and food. If you do not consolidate the balance of the Elements, the transition to the following levels will be challenging.
The association of the sense of hearing with ākāśa (see the paragraph on visual concentration) may seem misleading because experience leads us to associate the transmission of sound with the Air Element. In reality, air (or a solid or a liquid) is only the medium through which the sound propagates; the vibration of an object or instrument (such as the vocal cords) is the cause, and the pressure wave generated on the transmission medium affects the auditory mechanism generating the perception of a sound event. Likewise, ākāśa is the cause of the sound, a space from which the vibration emerges before it takes the form of sound itself. Sound, therefore, requires the presence of space, a means of diffusion and a sensory apparatus.
In the practice of auditory concentration, one reaches the root of sound, the stimulus of the sound sensation, without going through physical means. The exercise takes place as follows:
- After assuming the usual relaxed position, imagine you hear a simple sound, such as the ticking of a pendulum or the ringing of bells. Since this is an exercise that aims to isolate the various sensory perceptions, it is essential to try not to visualise the object that produces the sound. The perception of sound must be free of images; banish it from your mind if an image appears. As in the previous exercise of visual concentration, the sound will first be clear for only a few seconds; as you persevere, you will feel it more and more distinctly.
- When you no longer struggle with simple sounds, move on to the more elaborate sounds of musical instruments, atmospheric noises and percussion generated by various tools. Always stay within the limits of pure auditory concentration.
- The practice is over if you can hold the auditory sensation for five minutes.