Reflections from UNFOLDING: A Sound Meditation Experience

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Recently I had the gift of an opportunity to offer a sound bath at one of my ultimate favorite Chicago locations, The Garfield Park Conservatory. The whole thing was dreamy and I felt nothing if not blessed. I’ve taken to reading poetry and prose by some of my favorite authors before these experiences, but as I searched for the right text for this event, I found myself with the desire to just write it myself, and so I wrote. Below please find my opening words for UNFOLDING: A Sound Meditation Experience

When I confirmed with the Garfield Park Conservatory that they would be willing to host me for this sound experience, I dove head first into the irresistible task of coming up with an event title. Naming is the type of work I lean into, because there is something so wonderfully silly about its prospect. Trying to say what something is in a single word or a phrase is laughably human isn’t it? An impossible task that I have just enough ego to love.

Unfolding was the first word that came to mind.

It lit up my storm of a brain like a lightning bolt and cracked open evocation. Even in my head, when I see this space and the ecological life that it holds, I find myself acutely aware of the way in which it is ever presenting, ever revealing, ever unfolding. It is my understanding that plants, flowers and the like are always in a state of revelation. Some of which we can see happen almost before our very eyes (I’ve been reading about the rapidly growing agave plant in the Desert House) and some of which we’d barely be privileged to notice in this lifetime. From the bud of a rose blooming within a single morning, to the trunk of a redwood and its epically slow reveal, creation’s inevitable duty is that of unfolding, revealing and presenting its only truth: It is and because of that, it is good.

But wait, aren’t we unfolding too?

I think so, but somehow not much of our lives... or let me speak for myself, my life seems to point toward this notion. Rather than gracefully unfolding, I find myself often wilting at best and shriveling at worst. Tired of the world’s injustices, bereft by old wounds, overprivileged and overworked, I often can only imagine unfolding to the truth of my creation as an aspirational goal. One for plants and people who are more evolved than I, with access to more natural light and shorter winters. 

It’s a spiral of thought I’m all too familiar with, and that I often believe whole heartedly, but also one I think we know is not true.

How? Well, again I’ll only speak for myself but the reminders are many. Just as nature reminds me of its constant unfolding, so too does my first home, singing, music and sound. I’ve spent a lifetime exploring and working specifically with my voice, but recently I began to step back and notice that I’d not just been singing, but intentionally exploring the cosmology of sound. See, science and all of the world’s great mythologies seem to agree on one thing: sound is the original creation. The first revelation. The bang, the Word, the Universe. And in this sound, we participate in a great unfolding of atoms, molecules and particles in the ceaseless vibratory dance. Sometimes more or less in sync,  but always in motion. Changing, moving, embarking up on the courageous journey of inevitable transformation. 

Despite the many distractions that corrupt our ears and confuse our rhythm, by our very nature we are in its flow. In fact, if we allow it to be, we are the dance and the flow. But, for that to be revealed, we must stop and listen. Listen for the swift growth of the agave as it mirrors our own unavoidable, goodness in creation. Listen for bloom of the rose that brings forth the bright surprise of change. Listen for the patience of the redwood tree and the promise that it reveals. Listen for the music and song reflecting the undeniable order in all living things. Listen to all that unfolds, revealing the sound of who you are. Who we are.

Listen.

Just, listen.

Today, as the plants and sounds unfold before us, so may we unfold to ourselves and each other, revealing all that is and all that’s good.

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