Sound and the Subconscious

I have found through my years of practice in sound something quite interesting in regards to growth and healing with sound as a modality. When working with sound as a form of meditation one cannot escape their own mind. In a sound bath the participants are often in a state of docility and stillness. It is not only a practice of patience, but that of disassociation with the stories we tell ourselves. To witness our thoughts subjectively like a car passing us is the nature of the experience.


            We teach in our trainings something known as abreaction. This is the psychoanalytical state of purging one’s emotional tension from the body-mind. It is a form of catharsis whereby one is cleansed subconsciously of the lingering effects of trauma and disease. One must understand that in sound we are attempting to bypass the sympathetic nervous system to directly tap into the parasympathetic to reach a deep state of relaxation and calmness. In this we circumnavigate the fight or flight reflex and tap into the rest and digest.

            Within abreaction one may have a subconscious reaction. The body may react in a way such as convulsions, deep exhales, and a myriad of individualized reactions which propagate a great release. This great release, though an intangible aspect of the self, is no less real when the body experiences its unconscious response. When we access the parasympathetic state, the nervous system is open to be cleansed. We cannot heal ourselves when tension and stress are the default operating systems. We can gain a little headway once we understand that there is great power in listening to one’s pain. The power of vulnerability is a valuable lesson within a progression to fearlessness.

            The most fascinating aspect of abreaction comes in the form of reinforcement. Sound can make the traumatic experience set deeper in the body mind if not treated in a great form of respect and reverence. When sitting with sound we are given the chance to strengthen and break through that which makes us feel uncomfortable. The movement of energy can bring about states of bliss, connection, deep joy, and eternal love. Yet, often times we must experience deep states of grief, sadness, shame, and possibly guilt. If these states are too uncomfortable for some people, they may leave the room or find an excuse to leave. This action reinforces the state of the mind which perpetuated the feeling of being uncomfortable in the first place. In this right, the subconscious state has established a state of dominance in the mind, being able to secure itself and continue living within the mind-body and putting its foot in everyday thoughts and actions. Some people cannot let go of unconscious ideas which radiates throughout their lives. More so, that act of fleeing is a symptom of something greater. When we feel uncomfortable, we must understand that it is deeper than just a feeling, it is not our past moving into the conscious mind without the memory of the moment, but rather the emotion and feeling that we continue to carry throughout our lives in part with the unconscious state of being. People do not leave sessions, they flee from something they have ignored or fear when it confronts them.

            This state of abreaction is not exclusively a sound state. This psychoanalytical aspect is found in our daily lives and often keeps us from experiencing a state of deep connection with others because we are always moving away from the uncomfortable. How many times have you wanted to say something to someone, and how many excuses have you made to not do it? Why? Because it’s easier. You aren’t putting yourself out there and the safety and protection of the “way it has always been” provides a wonderful sense of false security. The mind is malleable, yet as we grow into our age it slowly becomes concrete. So, the less we experience and challenge ourselves in life the more bitter we grow as we stay the same and the rest of the world seems to grow, building a greater state of disassociation.

            It is a great blessing to have these practices. For when we are able to be uncomfortable and release an artificial stressor deep within us, we can then move about the world with a greater tolerance, less fear, and a greater outlook on life. Sound has the ability to work quickly and effectively. In this, sound has the ability to heal parts of our mind which have been impinged upon by our past. Sound amplifies the emotions and feelings and it wells in many places of the body, but often felt within the heart center, the key component of our electromagnetic field.

            The synergy of sound and the subconscious is quite unique. For sound it is a practice of awareness for both the practitioner and the participant. One is not required to do anything aside from sit with the sounds. There is no breathing or movement; just stillness. Often in the world we do not value a state of nothingness, it is not constructive per se. But sound allows us to sit with the murky parts of the self without judgement. Our trauma and issues in our lives can stem from something deep in our past. Yet ultimately, we are responsible for them as they are an unwanted gift. Sound gives us a better chance to love ourselves more deeply. For in great moments of hurt, bliss is hiding on the horizon. I have always believed that sound is a practice of self-acceptance rather than that of self-change. We cannot wish away who we are. Do not walk away. Do not let your past dictate your future and then learn from the past and become the greatest version of yourself.

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