Ground yourself in this moment. As you read my words, let the rest of the world grow distant. Imagine worry as a physical object that could be pulled out and placed beside you. Rid yourself of the extra weight. Feel your shoulders relax and your hands soften. Close your eyes, deeply inhale and exhale 10 times. When you’re done, read on.
Meditation has a power to create space for the now. Breathing techniques force the mind and body to link as one and focus on the most basic part of our existence, air. Taking deep breaths as a means to calm ourselves can transform our thoughts and reduce stress levels. In today’s reality, this practice has become particularly humbling, as COVID-19 continues to infect respiratory systems. Suddenly, overall health has come to feel like a gift.
Southampton Arts Center understands the importance of acknowledging this present, and has started a Zoom-friendly virtual immersive sound meditative series with DJ Daniel Lauter. Crystal bowls, gongs, hang drum, Tibetan and Himalayan bells, rain sticks, ocarina, didgeridoo, and other objects bring about an awareness through guided harmonious sound over 45 minutes, captured using high fidelity microphones.
Those who have gone through sound meditation before are aware of the emotional reactions that come from a single session, which can range from blissfully falling into a meditative sleep, to crying. This holistic method of healing dates back to ancient Greece, which used sound therapy to treat mental disorders. The different frequencies unlock levels of pent up energies within, as the waves physically enter the body similar to music at a live concert.
But will a virtual sound meditation provide the same experience? Without Bose noise-cancelling headphones, which I do not own, it’s hard to say. I found Lauter’s guidance soothing, as my refrigerator hummed in tune, but without the proper audio equipment or personal Zen space, it’s honestly difficult to get the full benefits provided in person.
However, Lauter’s unique technique awakes a new sense of gratitude. Hands on my lap, legs crossed, eyes closed, the sounds forced me to be present. I thought about the new world we all now live in and wondered: Will humanity be better off after this pandemic has passed? Undoubtedly, yes. Similar to the way forest fires break down nutrients and minerals in plants to create a more fertile area for regrowth, so will COVID-19. Death, even metaphorical ones, have always created a rebirth, a resurgence of appreciation for what’s around us.
Southampton Arts Center’s “pay what you can” service is hosted every Saturday at 10:30 AM and 8 PM, and will continue through May 9. Visit southamptonartscenter.org to learn more.