Updated: Apr 26
-In Tune Series Part 1-
Demystifying controversial beliefs within the field of sound healing and modern-day spirituality.
What is true and what is false?
Who can I trust to believe?
What is right and what is wrong?
I confess. It always was one of my life’s mottos not to believe anything just because others believe it, and yet I regularly find myself suddenly waking up from such a blind belief. I’m talking about a belief – knowledge - that I took for granted without verifying it through my own experience, direct perception or deeper investigation. Such a wake-up-experience moves me to continue to break through dogmatic beliefs and find out what is the truth behind the veil of illusion. For the sake of clarity that rises from the connection with ‘truth’, I’ll start to share this series.
This is the first part of what I call the ‘In Tune’ series. It will contain articles and occasionally videos on vague, mystic and often controversial topics within the field of sound healing and modern-day spirituality. I will investigate some of the truths and untruths about topics like chakras, 432 Hz, healing frequencies and the like. I want to shine some light on some very ‘settled’ beliefs within this field, and investigate whether or not they really are ‘in tune’ with ‘truth’.
Science and objective truth
In this first piece of writing I like to start off with the question ‘What is truth?’ For many of us, Western people, the answer to this question lies within the discoveries of modern-day science. The majority of modern-day westerners puts their faith in science and no longer in God or a religious authority. But could we truly trust science when it comes to gaining right knowledge?
Within the bigger histrical context we can see that science grew out of the movement of enlightenment. From the 16th and 17th century on a new way of thinking emerged; mechanical thinking, based on reason, with the aim of ‘knowing the objective truth’. A sincere wish to know the truth surely was the drive behind this movement. One of the core ideas, still strongly settled within the collective mind today, is that there exists an objective truth. There is an outer reality to be observed and researched and the observer is considered to be neutral, without having any influence on the observed.
Within the field of science itself (in quantum mechanics to be precise) this belief was tackled in the first part of the 20th century. When scientists discovered that the subject has a direct influence on the observed object, the entire idea of an objective reality seemed no longer valid. Erwin Schrödinger, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, states: “Looking at something changes it.” (*1)
Quantum physicists enter here the arena, or the kingdom if you will, of the enlightened (wo)men from the east. Whether you dive very deeply within, or you dive deeply into the external world, either way one comes to conclude that the object and the subject are one. An objective reality doesn’t exist without the subject. You are perceiving and experiencing reality, you have a direct influence on whatever you are perceiving, and in fact you are inseparable from what you consider to be the external world. The so-called internal and external reality are one.
Yoga and right knowledge
Throughout the ages, in all corners of the globe, people have been occupied with knowing the truth – what is right and what is wrong? What is true and what is false? In the field of Yoga in ancient India this was a deeply investigated matter. Instead of studying the external ‘objective’ world, the rishis (yogis or wise (wo)men) turned their attention inward. In the nearly 2000 years old Yoga Sutras of Patanjali it is stated: “The sources of right knowledge are direct perception, inference and scriptural testimony.” (*2)
First of all it is notable how much importance there is given to direct perception. It is considered the number one means to derive right knowledge from a direct observation of reality. For example if you see a snake in your garden eating a mouse, you derive the knowledge from this direct perception that ‘a snake can eat mice’. If you feel depressed and listen to a musical piece of Mozart and you instantly feel better, you derive the knowledge from this experience that ‘music of Mozart has the potential to lift up the mood of the listener’. There is no doubt, because it has been your direct experience. It doesn’t mean all snakes eat mice, or all people feel better with Mozart’s music, but at least you certainly know there is some truth in it.
Next to direct perception, Patanjali states that right knowledge can be derived from inference as well. If you are smelling smoke, you conclude there must be fire nearby. You know that there cannot be smoke without fire, so you derive right knowledge from perceiving something directly related to it. You make the correct connection because many times before you perceived it directly, and everyone agrees on this connection as well.
Lastly Patanjali states that truth can be derived from scriptural testimony. It is very likely that he is here (in this particular cultural-historical context) mainly referring to the Vedas from ancient India. Essentially the message here is that an ancient knowledge that has been proven through time, has survived the centuries and millennia of direct successful experiences with it, can be a source of right knowledge too. Most of the results of modern-day science wouldn’t be in line with this part of the sutra, because the knowledge that is found and shared in science is very often no longer right knowledge a couple of years later.
Gautama the Buddha emphasises even stronger the importance of direct perception, as well as the faculty to discern what is beneficent from what is harmful for oneself. In the Kalama Sutta he states: “Don’t believe anything simply because you have heard it. Don’t believe anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Don’t believe anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Believe only that what you yourself judge to be the truth.” (*3)
Psychology and the subconscious mind
Sigmund Freud brought up the metaphor of the mind as an iceberg. As the tip of the iceberg represents the waking consciousness, the great majority of the iceberg finds itself underneath the surface and represents the subconscious mind (often referred to as unconscious). Scientists are estimating that around 95% of our brain activity relates to subconscious thoughts, and only about 5% of it is within the scope of waking consciousness.
Throughout the first years of our lives our minds are being programmed, very much like a hard drive, by the beliefs of our environment. Particularly the beliefs of our parents and the collective cultural beliefs are imprinted in the mind. These belief systems prevent us from perceiving the world ‘as it is’, and thus being in direct connection with ‘truth’. If we want to perceive reality directly in order to gain right knowledge (as Patanjali suggests), we need to drop the mind entirely, including the subconscious beliefs.
As our external personal life manifests as a result of our personal beliefs about reality, we have to conclude that our life experience is mainly guided by the subconscious mind. The great majority of our choices and preferences are made subconsciously. No matter how ‘awake’ and ‘aware’ you consider yourself to be, the deeply engrained subconscious mind usually rules the show.
Baring this in mind, in this series I’ll humbly attempt to tackle dogmatic – usually subconscious – beliefs, so that we can more easily perceive the true miracle of life directly, beyond the veil of illusion.
All of this being said, all knowledge I’m about to share in the upcoming writings aren’t to be considered as the objective truth. In fact, as stated above, objective truth doesn’t exist. I will speak (aligned with the yoga teachings of Patanjali) from my direct perception, logical reasoning as well as from sources (always mentioned) that I consider trustworthy. If my research, my reasoning and arguments are resonating within you, then consider it to be a shared truth.
To be continued…
In Love and Truthfulness,
1) The psychology of totalitarianism – Mattias Desmet (p. 25)
2) The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (1.7) from the commentary of Swami Satchidananda
3) The Kalama Sutta (free translation from the commentary of Bhikkhu Bodhi)
Images by Ana Heart, National Cancer Institute & Simon Lee respectively.