A Sound Surrounding

Originally published in
KULA MAGAZINE Volume #27 July 2017

Our senses are the portals through which we experience the world. And these days, those experiences can be distracting. The beep of a phone, the rumble of a motor down the road, a child calling (okay, maybe screaming) for attention, a feeling of frustration, excitement, or joy at the latest turn of events… and then that beep of the phone again. There’s hardly a moment when we are free from the vast palette of sensations that ripple into our attention. It’s easy to get lost in all of them, and it’s no doubt that our environment can drastically color our mood or state of being.

And while it might seem ideal to leave it all behind and run off to a utopian reality of soothing and peaceful sensations at every turn, this escapism is not only impossible on the long term, but would also destroy the dynamism of life and our very understanding of what peace is. What would peace and tranquility be like without the context of chaos opposing it? Pretty boring. How would we ever know joy without experiencing sadness? How could we jump high without first rooting down?

Kevin Yee-ChanA Sound Surrounding
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Sounds like…

I recently had the luck to attend morning Aarti at a Durga temple in Varanasi, India. It was 5am- that quiet hour before sunrise- and as I stood in the middle of a small crowd in a place of worship filled with rich carvings and structures, in front of us the sweet, warm blaze of fire and incense offerings filled the air. All quite atmospheric, yes, but what struck me most about the experience was the symphony of sounds created in this most peaceful, serene and sacred time of day.

As the offerings were made, everyone present was offering a piece of him or her self through sound. Chanting, mantra, and the clamoring of countless bells filled the space. In this case, the mix of sounds created an intense vibration that not only struck the ears, but sent a pulse of love through the body and into the heart.

Kevin Yee-ChanSounds like…
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