Imagine that only a few hundred years ago people believed that if you heard an echo when you sang or spoke, the spirits were communicating with you. I spent some time in an old church in downtown Toronto the other day and the entire place was built for sound. It was made with echoes in every space from the great hall to the entrance hall. It was such a luscious space to be in, I could feel the echoes surround me like a sonic hug, the dimension that is often missing in my daily travels. Gone are the days of natural acoustics and singing in caves and churches. Today we are so busy with all the external noise that surrounds us with daily construction, productivity and distraction that we have removed the echoes from our daily lives. We have so lost our sense of echoes that we don’t actually hear them anymore. We are now compensating for the lack of echoes in our rooms with surround sound systems.
Or perhaps we have changed our white wings for white lab coats. Our echoes are now heard and answered through ultra sounds and echocardiograms, MRIs, a stethoscope and a pulse, telling us we are of ‘sound body’. We are a culture spending a distorted amount of time expressing and have few skills in focused listening. We rely on others to do it for us. We pay doctors, therapists, priests and very seldom listen to ourselves.
So what do echoes offer us? When we listen, deeply in our lives, we will find that they offer us the answers we seek. Often when I am searching for answers, I look to the echoes of the day. I look into what others have to say, search in the quotes offered, the soul medicine and the song lyrics or a line in a book, or the little voice inside myself, my very own echo. These to me, are the echoes of life. I can hear my soul in the softness of the snow, on the breeze as it plays through the sun, a trumpet swan courting me or in my own sighs and giggles. These echoes give us solace, friendship, answers and peace if we reach down and listen to the wings beating in our hearts, our souls.
I am always deeply grateful to those who extend themselves out in conversation, who offer soul medicine in quotes and stories or their favourite tunes. There, is a deep richness that I can jump into and find the echoes when I need them.
Anny Fyreagle is a sonic mystic and sound practitioner who has created a Zen Echoes program, sound as a practice. You can find out more about her at www.anandasound.com.