Meditation, Music and Kabbalah

An extended comment by Byron Zeliotis on diagram 11, Zerrenda Zazpi Aurka Zazpi

The Sareoso diagrams are founded on the energy of oneness moved and moving the three forces and they reveal the many ways in which these interact in a visual way .
One traditional way in which these three forces can be experienced is through the play of meditation, chanting and gesture.

In Kabbalah one often meditates on the ‘name’ (in Hebrew letters) which from a Sarosean point of view is expressed as a particular combination of the three forces: I U _ U

One of the strengths but also weakness of mantric meditation is its hypnotic effect on the mind. The reverberating sephirah Hod can produce many a Yesodic dream!.. but I think we would all agree that this type of sleep is not the aim of meditation.

I have perceived a similar thing in my training as a musician. I have noticed how students are also hypnotised by their own habitual way of playing a piece of music on the guitar. So much so that they literally become deaf to the actual sound that they are actually producing. And so they will keep on repeating the same mistakes or ugly sound year after year and be oblivious to the fact that they are doing this. The mind can be a great liar and always plays tricks on us. (When Hod behaves as thief and liar the energy of Netzah also runs down and so Yesodic dreams rule supreme)
So it is the job of the mentor or guide to encourage slow or fast practice of the music with great attention to detail and to counteract sleepiness rhythm games are often introduced.

I’ll digress here and talk about rhythm now. What is rhythm?
It is not the beat or the pulse – this is the monotonous, foot tapping and steady clock ticking part -. Rhythm is the stress or accent that happens when you group beats in singles, doubles, triples or quadruples. That is why musicians use time signatures such as 2/4, 3/4 or 4/4. More elaborate rhythms such as 7/4 are combinations of 3 and 4 groupings.

So to illustrate 4/4 one would put a strong accent every four beats.
So imagine a steady monotone repeating pulse or beat (each beat is shown here as a ‘o’: oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo…….)

To make a fourfold rhythm (4/4 counted with an accent on the ‘one’ : 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4…) you accent every fourth beats like this: …….0ooo0ooo0ooo0ooo0ooo….(the accented beat ‘o’ is shown as a ‘0’ )

To make a threefold rhythm (3/4 counted as 1,2,3,, 1,2,3,…) you place an accent every third beat like this: …….0oo0oo0oo0oo0oo…

To make a twofold rhythm (2/4 counted as 1,2,,, 1,2,,…) you place an accent every second beat like this: …….0o0o0o0o0o….

A rhythm of ‘one’ (1/4 counted as 1, 1, 1, 1 is in fact the same as the pulse or beat : …. o,o,o,o,o,o,o,o,o,o…….

Using the same technique of accent placing in mantric meditation one could experiment with the following:

Let us assume ‘the name mantra’ of : I U _ U when it is repeated endlessly it is ….. I U _ U I U _ U I U _ U I U _ U I U _ U I U _ U I U _ U I U _ U I U _ U ….

Grouped in a fourfold rhythm it is the ‘longest breath’ (4beats long) : inbreath: I U _ U outbreath I U _ U, inbreath: I U _ U outbreath I U _ U ….

Grouped in a three fold rhythm it is the ‘longer breath’ (3 beats long): inbreath: I U _ outbreath U I U, inbreath: _ U I outbreath U _ U .
If you join all these up you’ll see that it is the same mantra repeated three times (I U _ U I U _ U I U _ U)

Grouped in a two fold rhythm it is the ‘shorter breath’ (2 beats long): inbreath: I U outbreath _ U, inbreath: I U outbreath _ U ….
Again if you join all these up you’ll see that it is the same mantra I U _ U in a twofold rhythm.

Grouped in a rhythm of ‘one’ it is the ‘shortest breath’ (1 beats long): inbreath: I outbreath U, inbreath: _ outbreath U , inbreath: I outbreath U, inbreath: _ outbreath U ….
Again if you join all these up you’ll see that it is the same mantra I U _ U in a ‘single’ rhythm.

Finally when the mantra is established and repeats by itself -or not at all- then one need not impose any rhythm at all. One simply ‘settles’ in to the meditation.

So what I have suggested is a practical way of improvisation without changing one’s own meditation.

Also if one were to also alter the lengths of breath as I have shown above (not necessary), one could observe how the mind operates in different emotional states. (Emotions and states of mind are directly linked to the length of breath). So one meditation session could include all of the above by starting off with the longest breath (4 beat count), move on to the longer breath (3 count), then to the shorter breath of duple or twofold rhythm (2 count), then to the shortest breath to the count of 1 and finally into the settling where the breath and the mantra are not interfered with at all. Then one reverses the steps from the shortest to the longest to come out of meditation.

I’m sure many of you will also recognise the obvious similarities with Samatha or ‘calm abiding’ meditation even though the counts are different.

The aim of all this is to contact within oneself the reality which makes the three forces possible and how the three forces combine in their journey from the one to the many and back.

Enjoy your song!
Byron Zeliotis