The ear retreats from perception deep into its own interior space. The vortex of the ear canal leads to the sensitive tympanic membrane of the eardrum. It then follows a labyrinth of curved, liquid-filled canals until it reaches the nautilus shell-shaped bone of the cochlea. Here, the vibrations from the eardrum become nerve impulses that travel to our brain where they can potentially be transformed into meaning.
All sounds from the external world enter through these intricately curved fluid filled canals. Flowing liquids provide a hidden and mysterious medium through which we can listen to the reflected song of the cosmos.
Sound comes to us through Water and so, in Chinese medicine, the sense of hearing and the orifices of the ears are governed by Water, the Element of the Winter Season.
As we now move with increasing conviction towards Winter, the season of Water, the time of depth, hibernation, gestation and renewal, I find myself wondering …
… in the midst of the cacophony of roars, bites, barks and tweets of the modern world, what is truly worth listening to?
When I open my soul to the sounds around me, I am often aware of static, a whirr of justifications, assertions and implications. Words pour into me like fractal fruit rushing from an electronic cornucopia.
But if I sit quietly and listen to the sound below the static, I hear something deeper.
I hear the sound of Water.
Beyond the words and the thoughts, beyond question and meaning, beyond the multi-colored lights and dying Gods of this holiday season, beyond the fear and the greed and the hope and the loss, there is a pulse, the strong steady rhythm of the ocean, the sound at the center of me, the sound where the world begins.
In Winter, nature calls us back to this sound, the sound of silence. Nature asks us to rest, to listen carefully to our own breathing and wait for answers to come from emptiness. Begin listening to Water by softening your ears and letting sound come towards you. Open the ears of the Heart and discover what Winter has to teach you.