Another technique we can use to sharpen our concentration is auditory evocation. In most the auditory function is inferior to the visual, however the introduction of another sensory component to a visualization exercise is beneficial because it activates the discriminatory function of the “I-consciousness” or personal centre. The conscious decision to register or ignore sounds and noises coming from the external world is tantamount to direct regulation of the psychological processes. By becoming receptive to the linear flow of associated auditory images (i.e. the chirping of birds outside, a tolling church bell or alarm, the evolution of one conversation in a room full of people, and so forth) we are in effect strengthening our conscious will.
Sound has an intimate resonance with the emotional faculty; we see that certain artificially contrived sounds such as musical compositions can ruffle our emotional feathers and unleash negative and positive sentiments. We hear an upbeat melody with a vigorous beat and we spontaneously become exultant and excitable. Then something snail paced and solemn written in A minor comes on and we’re adrift on the unbounded seas of melancholia and despair. A rendition of a beautiful classical piece on the grand piano thrusts us upon ruminative shores, while an acoustic synthesis of a Portuguese fado song maroons us on a wistful reef together with our fellow listeners. The bottom line is that the registration of physical sensations, real or imagined, and the psychological functions are connected and that by purposively including or excluding such stimuli from the sphere of I-consciousness we can cultivate control over the resting nature of our personal selves.
Furthermore, it sound be specified that auditory images are divided into two types–natural and artificial. We have sounds that are produced by the interaction of the elements in the natural world such as waves breaking on the seashore as well as groups of manufactured musical sounds such as rhythms, melodies, and harmonies (chords) simulated by humans on specific instruments for the purpose of entertainment and inspiration. With respect to the latter, the combination of sounds to be found in an individual musical arrangement is layered, and reverberations of a single element (i.e. rhythm, chord, the pitch of the instrument producing the sound) from the same composition can have widely dissimilar and variegated effects upon the same individual. Our I-consciousness can be readily influenced by simple monotonous sounds and, perhaps to a far greater extent, by the more complex multilayered auditory arrangements intrinsic to music. Experimenting with the first puts is in direct communion with the detached aspect of ourselves, our “I-amness”, the part of us that can observe inner and outer phenomena without being fundamentally altered. Afterwards, we introduce the method of discrimination between two or more auditory images (or images wrought by different senses), becoming more attentive to one and repressing another so that the conscious will may be fortified.
With these facts in mind, let’s attempt to sharpen our powers of auditory discrimination:
Relax and centre. Bring to mind the sounds of the sea and the frothy waves. Hear them breaking along the shore, against the precipitous cliffs. Enter into communion with the series of sounds in a chronological format; first become aware of the sounds of the rushing water, the salty mists being sprayed up in the air. Then hear the thunder of the collision with the ragged cliffs, and the crackling and fizzling as the water recedes back into the amorphous oceanic soup. Allow this to repeat in your mind’s eye, and disallow other external or internal stimuli from filtering through to your consciousness. Sustain the entire gamut of auditory images for as long as possible.
After a while, imagine that a supernal mermaid has appeared on a giant boulder near the shore and is playing a Middle Eastern tune or Arabic-sounding tune on a flute. Try to hear the quality of the sound emanating from the mermaid’s instrument, the flute, without losing sense of the ocean waves crashing on the shore. Allow both these sounds to intermingle and remain in consciousness for as long as possible. As this phenomenon is unfurling, become conscious of an explicit third collection of sounds; a tribal melody being thumped out on a drum by a sailor on the seashore. Don’t allow your conscious field to introduce any visual images; stay with the auditory ones–the eternal cycle of the ocean waves, the mermaid playing on her flute, and the sailor beating on his drum.
Afterwards, subtract the natural sounds of the ocean from your mind’s eye and allow yourself to hear only the synthetic sounds. Allow the melody coming from the flute and the tribal drumming to become louder, seeping into your I-consciousness like a dramatic osmosis. Then subtract the sounds emanating from the flute and allow yourself to detect only the drumming. Hear these primal oscillations in the depths of your being; are there any changes occurring on a psychic level? Try to keep in mind the various emotions or feelings (or lack thereof) evoked with the introduction of each new sound, and discern whether or not these associative sentiments dissipate when the sound is consciously aborted.
When you have finished experimenting with the discrimination of particular sounds, repeat the entire exercise with accompanying visual images. Is one more facile or ineffective that the other? Is the visual sense stronger, or does the auditory function blight out the visual? See if you can discern which are the dominant and which the recessive sense functions in your imagination.