Private: Naming / Not Naming - Michael Joly
If I was forced to use a label to describe myself I’d say I am a comfortably-lapsed Roman Catholic with a pronounced Taoist streak who has a lot of experience just listening.
But as Lao Tzu said: “The Tao that can be named is not the Tao”. lol.
During their development, the little “peace pucks” now called N.O.W. refused to be named for quite some time. This evasiveness to becoming form-limited by a name is one of the charming aspects of N.O.W. People call N.O.W. their “tone time”, their “tone pods”, their “peace pods” and even (one of my favorites) “God in a can”. All good.
I’ve written a lot about N.O.W. because, in part, I enjoy the process of attempting to use symbolic language to describe something that cannot be described –– to use words as “pointers” to that which cannot be named. But sooner or later it comes back to this: “just listen”.
As an audio product designer with a lot of professional experience listening and describing what I’m hearing I could describe ways in which you could listen to N.O.W.
I could talk about bringing your focus to the various acoustic aspects of N.O.W. as a substitute for the incessant, unwanted, problematic thinking you may wish to transcend.
Listening to N.O.W. we could focus on timbre (the pure sine wave tone quality) or the amplitude pulsation variations that are always changing. We could focus on the moment-to-moment pitch sequences that almost, but not quite, make melodic lines (see –– N.O.W. even evades being “melodic”) or we could focus on the ambiguous vertical pitch intervals (chordal information) that arise when multiple tones are played at the same time.
But none of that is necessary. We can just listen.
Without analyzing why N.O.W. is endlessly intriguing and effective at creating gaps between thoughts in which you are simply aware –– conscious, we can simply just BE with N.O.W.
“Just listen” is pretty close to “just be”. Because listening is not quite a “doing”, listening is a type of sensory awareness, and when we get to intentional sensory awareness we are just baby steps away from noticing we are aware. And who, or what, is noticing? We could say consciousness is noticing, we could say our essential self is noticing.
N.O.W. is like a personal short cut or secret passage around the traffic jam of your thinking mind –– a direct route that gets you back to your essential self much more quickly than years of meditative practice. Because so often meditative practice is treated as a “doing” and not as simply “being”. Repeating a mantra is mental doing, it is not being. Why not skip the doing and just be?
Well, I suppose the popularity of mantra meditation could be ascribed to the fact that many people don’t know how to just “be” without doing something. The egoic mind certainly does not like this. In fact, the egoic mind doesn’t exist during periods of “just being” –– the egoic mind only exits through thought. But even the egoic mind gets tired and lets its guard down. It stops thinking occasionally.
Transcending the noise and mental suffering of a busy mind begins with simply noticing when thought is not present. This is not doing, it is just noticing.
N.O.W. gives us something to notice –– pleasant, ever-changing tones that are not fixed in form. One doesn’t have to repeat a mantra, practice a tricky breathing technique, focus on a candle or even watch the stream of thoughts as they arise and evolve.
N.O.W.’s New Origin Waveform tones exist outside of thoughts. If one just listens with intent –– attentively, one cannot be thinking at the same time. And when we begin to be “aware of being aware”, when we experience our essential self as consciousness, we are participating in the ongoing evolution and blossoming of consciousness itself –– the eternal, infinite formlessness which cannot be named by symbolic language.
Now that is a great place begin life again and again each day.