|Melody is the medium within which my soul hears something from your soul... --Chloe Goodchild|
The Naked Voice: Transforming Life through the Power of Sound--by Chloe Goodchild, Mar 18, 2019
From The Naked Voice by Chloe Goodchild, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2015 by Chloe Goodchild. Reprinted by permission of publisher.
Since childhood and throughout my life, my voice has been my conscience and guide, providing me with an in-built “sonic laboratory” for self-inquiry. In 1990, following a transformative experience in India, I discovered my voice as my very own self. My singing voice became the messenger of this awakening. I called it my naked voice, for it arose from an unconditional source far deeper than my personality or ego could fathom. It touched a place of wisdom and oneness (nonduality) within me that opened vast new fields of perception and presence, which dissolved my rational mind. I was thirty-seven. From that moment I dedicated myself—through my music recordings, workshops, trainings, and “singing field” events—to an exploration of the human voice as a catalyst for spirit and a gateway into the deepest regions of the human soul. My work with individuals, communities, and organizations worldwide has revealed that there are as many unique voices as there are souls. Your voice is as unique as your twelve-stranded DNA. However, many don’t know how to access it. Our schools and social conditioning don’t offer many clues. Yet the human voice is everyone’s birthright. It is a universal given, a bridge between the worlds, the soul’s messenger, a gift of spirit capable of inspiring evolutionary shifts in consciousness.
Both ancient wisdom and the latest advances in science agree that every particle of matter, every phenomenon you experience, is a form of resonance or vibration. Your voice is the mouthpiece of this experience. There is nothing more personal, more tied to your identity than your voice. It is a primal means of expression—something true about us that precedes rational thought and conceptualization.
Yet we live in a visually dominated culture that places more importance on our eyes than our ears. The great pianist, conductor, and musical ambassador for peace Daniel Barenboim describes the human ear as “the most intelligent organ in the body.” He explains in his talk for the UK Reith Lectures (2006) called “In the Beginning Was Sound” that our ears not only absorb sound or noise into the body, they also send it directly to the brain, thereby setting in motion the whole creative process of thought that a human being is capable of.
Our ears are unique in helping us recollect and remember who we are behind all the artificial layers of self-consciousness catalyzed by the personality or ego. Our ears started operating on the forty-fifth day of our mother’s pregnancy. This means that we began to use our ears inside the womb, seven and a half months before the eyes! Yet once born, the significant role and purpose of ears can be seriously neglected, as the eyes assume more and more dominance over the other senses.
Have You Found Your Note?
The person who has found the keynote
of his own life has found
the key of his own life.
- Hazrat Inayat Khan,
The Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word
How do you feel about your voice? Does your voice express who you are and what you really want to say? Does your voice express the real you? What do you most love about your voice? If you were to write a vocal self- portrait, the story of your voice, what would your voice have to say? When is your voice most hidden and unexpressed, and when is it most alive and authentic?
I am not just asking about your singing voice, I am inquiring about your everyday voice in all its forms. The voice you use at home, the voice you present at work, your social entertainer and diva voice, the voice that lets rip in the shower or the car. Maybe you are a voice of protest, an urgent activist, a change-maker, a revolutionary voice? Maybe you never speak up at all? And what about your voices of longing and yearning? When and with whom do they show up? Do they hang out in the shadows with your hidden shy voice, or are they outspoken with the masses? Is there a still voice, a place of sanctuary, where your inner self is nourished and at home?
Research shows that more than two thousand messages move through the brain even before words come out of one’s mouth. People pick up on these unspoken voices inside us, carried in the vibration and tone of what we say. So many voices, and yet most of them conceal a deeper longing to be seen and heard, not just for what we have achieved, but simply for who we truly are. Paradoxically, the way we express ourselves in everyday life is largely determined by how safely or adventurously we wish to live and play. Our personality habits are sustained by lifelong, ingrained, taken-for-granted assumptions about what is good and bad, right and wrong. This hypnosis of the mind derives from a life of inhibition, separateness, unfulfilled dreams, fear, and a belief that duality is the only reality, leaving us no choice but to spend our lives struggling between the oppositions of pleasure-pain, success-failure, happiness-sadness, win-lose.
However, there is a deeper, wiser you behind the warring polarities of your rational mind and ego-self. This deeper you is found in the landscape of your soul. Your soul is your unconditioned self, the messenger of your spirit, and it is forever free and unaffected by everyday survival and stress. As the great Sufi mystic and poet Rumi has said, your soul is simply here for its own joy, and it is most easily accessed through your heart rather than your head. Which is why getting out of your head and into your heart makes communicating so much easier. It’s essential.
Singing offers a fast and effective way to open your heart and embody what you really want to communicate. Despite what your mind would have you believe, your soul loves to sing.
Your authentic singing voice is the muscle and mouthpiece of your soul. As unique as your fingerprint and DNA, your soul has a melody, a rhythm, and a resonance that is yours alone. You are the only one who can embody your voice. Your true or naked voice can access your soul song, and this resonant song reveals your authentic nature, who you really are.
Expressing your soul song is easy if you are willing and committed to listening, to hearing, and to acknowledging it without judgment of any kind. Once heard, your soul song will take you on the journey of your life beyond social conditioning and all your self-limiting beliefs of right-wrong doing. It’s an adventurous journey supported by new communication skills, inspiring a metamorphosis, from bug to butterfly, from entropy to syntropy, from a fear-driven persona to a transparent, courageous, compassionate human being resonating with the energies of unconditional love.
As you learn to listen to and accept yourself without judgment, you will soon discover how to engage with the voice of your personal calling and what really matters to you. When your naked or authentic voice is firing on all cylinders, your whole body starts to vibrate with an aliveness that resonates in every cell of your body.
It’s a well-known fact that the Australian Aborigines believe the whole world was sounded into Being. Scientists researching the earliest known archaeological sites on the Australian continent— using thermo-luminescence and other modern dating techniques—have pushed the date for Aboriginal presence in Australia to at least 40,000 years. Others point to 60,000 years. The hallmark of Aboriginal culture is “oneness with nature” and all beings. Prominent rocks, canyons, waterfalls, islands, beaches, and other natural features, as well as sun, moon, visible stars, and animals, have their own stories of creation and interconnectedness. To the traditional Aborigine they are all sacred: environment is the essence of Australian Aboriginal godliness. Out of this deep reverence for nature Aborigines learned to live in remarkable harmony with the land and its animals.
Paban das Baul, one of the Bauls of Bengal, a wandering group of mystical minstrel singers from Bengal, India, once told me at “The Sacred Voices” Festival in London that the Bauls describe the human body as God’s “house of song.” The great Indian philosopher Hazrat Inayat Khan reminds us that “harmony is the source of all manifestation,” unifying earth and heaven (The Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word, The Sufi Message). The unique melody of your soul is a sonorous medicine that resonates through your body temple with a sound map for your life.
Find Your True Voice and Your Life Will Change in Ways You Never Imagined Possible
For more than thirty years I have been facilitating people’s discovery of their authentic voices, primarily through their natural sound and singing— that is to say, singing with the intention to transform, not perform. Singing to express, not impress. There is something intrinsic about authentic singing that transcends everyday words. Singing from your soul connects you with a wondrous power inside you. It bypasses the rational mind, opens your heart, and takes you directly to what you most care about in your life.
Singing has an immediate and unpredictable impact. As soon as sound is pouring out of your mouth, you are brought into the present moment, face to face with yourself, and there is nowhere to hide. It’s like falling in love. Singing ignites the entire electromagnetic field of your heart, switching on the whole light bulb of the brain, and awakens your soul into a way of being where all and everything is possible. Everyone knows that when you sing, musical vibrations move through you, altering your physical and emotional landscape.
Sound is the invisible music of matter. Your sound is the invisible architecture and geometry of your emotions, expressing the relative resonance or dissonance of your relationship with Earth, humanity, heaven, and the whole universe. Music, as shared by humans, is a delicate arc of audible frequencies that harmonize and unify us, transforming our negative emotions into deeper positive feelings. The musical molecules of our emotions play a significant part in clarifying our perceptions and inspiring caring relationships, thus offering our children a far greater chance of evolving consciously.
Science is trying to explain why singing has such a calming yet energizing and wholesome effect on people. Researchers are beginning to discover that singing relaxes your nerves and lifts your spirits at the same time. The elation may come from endorphins, a hormone released by singing, which is associated with feelings of pleasure. For example, the hormone oxytocin is released during singing, which has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress, and to enhance feelings of trust and bonding, which may explain why a range of research shows that singing lessens feelings of depression and loneliness in significant ways.
TED.com has produced an animated educational video created by Anita Collins and Sharon Colman Graham that demonstrates how music directly affects the instrumentalist’s brain:
Did you know that every time musicians pick up their instruments there are fireworks going off all over their brains? On the outside, they may look calm and focused, reading the music and making the precise and practiced movements required. But inside their brains, there’s a party going on. How do we know this? In the last few decades, neuroscientists have made enormous breakthroughs in understanding how our brains work by monitoring them in real time with instruments like FMRi and PET scanners. When people are hooked up to these machines, tasks, such as reading or doing math problems, each have corresponding areas of the brain where activity can be observed. But when researchers got the participants to listen to music, they saw fireworks. Multiple areas of their brains were lighting up at once, as they processed the sound, took it apart to understand elements like melody and rhythm, and then put it all back together into unified musical experience. And our brains do all this work in the split second between when we first hear the music and when our foot starts to tap along. But when scientists turned from observing the brains of music listeners to those of musicians, the little backyard fireworks became a jubilee. . . . The neuroscientists saw multiple areas of the brain light up, simultaneously processing different information in intricate, interrelated, and astonishingly fast sequences. But what is it about making music that sets the brain alight? The research is still fairly new, but neuroscientists have a pretty good idea. Playing a musical instrument engages practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. And as with any other workout, disciplined, structured practice in playing music strengthens those brain functions, allowing us to apply that strength to other activities.*
If the brain is activated in these ways when you play a musical instrument, it is activated— all the more so— when you start singing. And it’s not just the human brain that is “lit up” by song and sound.
The Song of Your Soul
How do you communicate with your soul? Or more importantly, how does your soul communicate with you? And what part may sound and singing play in these courageous conversations with yourself? You will find out as your voice explores the practices within this book.
Naked Voice is an experience inviting you to take responsibility for rediscovering the song of your soul, thereby liberating your life and the lives of those around you. You are no longer the singular living organism that you have been calling “me.” You are an interconnected community of trillions of living cells called “we.” I call this “we” a singing field: a resonant polyphonic field of sound, an electromagnetic vibrating constellation of musical molecules, an omniverse of elemental sounds and frequencies ranging from dense, earthy, and dark to etheric, heavenly, and luminous. Humanity has barely begun to fathom the infinite resources available to us through our “house of song.” A new and different language of consciousness, a harmonic resonance, awaits us here.
Melody is the medium within which my soul hears something from your soul, and together we drink water from a secret spring whose current of sound moves immensities inside us, from the marrow of our bones through the singing hairs in our ears, awakening the heart through the music of our emotions while our thinking mind surrenders to a deeper intuition. The nervous system is conductor, the heart is the conduit, and love is the source.
What was in that candle’s light
that burned and consumed me so quickly?
Come back my love
The form of our love is not a created form
There was a dawn I remember when my soul
from your soul.
I drank water from your spring
And felt the current take me
— Rumi (Coleman Barks translation)
* TED.com URL link: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-playing-an-instrument-benefits-your-brain-anita-collins
Excerpted from The Naked Voice by Chloe Goodchild, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2015 by Chloe Goodchild. Reprinted by permission of publisher. North Atlantic Books is a leading publisher of authentic works on the relationship of body, mind and nature to create personal, spiritual and planetary transformation.
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Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.
David Starr Jordan
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