We are so privileged to publish this lovely article by Mark Nelson, currently working at Lodestar Garden Learning Center in Concho, Arizona. He does a wonderful job describing his experience diving into the expansiveness of sound with us on our Heart Fire and the Secret of Sound tour in the summer of 2017. Enjoy. - illuminating hearts
It’s nearly impossible to imagine our world without music. The sounds, notes, rhythms and melodies are fully intertwined with our lives. A single song, or perhaps even just the chorus, can conjure up deep feelings and memories of events, experiences, people or places - positive and negative. It can make our hair stand on end, make us smile and dance or move us to tears.
We all respond to music in our own unique ways. Our tastes vary widely, yet those tones, chords and vibrations are in our genetic makeup. Music is transitive, always changing, and supremely transformational. It can transport us to far-off places, different worlds or a fresh state of mind.
Astara (Lily Livingston) and Orion (Ryan Muff) of illuminating hearts convey that shifting power of sound through a unique blend of uncommon instruments, authentic compositions and suspending the sense of sight.
Gongs, singing bowls, didgeridoos, Native American flutes, drums, chimes, bells and other unique (what some might call traditional) instruments are fused together with their voices to create a calming, resonant atmosphere.
I was privileged to experience several “sound baths” put on by illuminating hearts as they traversed the Arizona’s White Mountains in July 2017 as part of their second consecutive summer tour. I have some familiarity with meditation and yoga practice and welcomed another avenue to calm my mind and turn deeper inward for a time.
As Astara and Orion were seated in front of us before the sound began, they each fluidly explained some of the science behind resonance, frequency and our own bodies. Calmly weaving their words together, they discussed how the frequencies of our bodies would, throughout the event, become in sync with the frequency of the music and with the other people in the audience. It is a phenomenon called entrainment and it happens quite often on a macro and micro level. Think of how you mirror someone’s stance while you’re talking or how you unconsciously start to alter your speech patterns and word choice to more closely match a good friend with whom you spend a great deal of time. Well, on a cellular level, our bodies, and the frequencies we emit, consistently become entrained with those frequencies that surround us.
Following the introduction, it was time to pull down our “Mindfold's” to block out the light as Astara and Orion slowly began to bring sounds to life. By impairing vision and light, the brain’s desire to identify and define is soothed and you surrender yourself to the sounds. There is no sheet music, there are no predetermined songs - their music comes from the heart in the moment and reverberates through the body and soul.
The events of the day fade away and the mind relaxes into a state of meditation. Some thoughts float in and out, but there is no desire to reach out and hold onto any one thought. As the sounds swim around the room, my body relaxes and my breathing deepens and slows. The resonance of the instruments helps declutter my head and bring forth carefree memories of times gone by and daydreams of times yet to be experienced.
Immersed in a semi-conscious, dream-like state, time felt like it collapsed on itself. Our 45-minute event seemed maybe 20 minutes long. As we all slowly emerged from our individual meditative states on Astara and Orion’s cue, I sensed that the whole crowd in attendance was in a very peaceful and unhurried frame of mind.
The immediate result was that I felt like I had just received a deeply relaxing massage. I was hooked. Sign me up for the next session.
I continued to attend illuminating hearts' events during their time in the area and each one was authentic. The way the sounds bounced off each other and intertwined was never the same. Each time, my personal meditation experience was somewhat different. Sometimes I ventured in deeper; other times thoughts and distractions kept persistently knocking on the door. Regardless, each time I emerged relaxed with a smile and a profound sense of serenity.
Astara and Orion inject their hearts and souls into each event. They love to offer the gift of their music to all those who come to receive the experience. illuminating hearts authentic and organic sound will continue to evolve and grow as more people open their hearts, minds and ears to this symphony of resonance.