Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear...?

I know what you're thinking -- and no, this isn't going to be about a Christmas song...!

Once upon a time, when I was in the thick of puberty, about 13 to be precise, I started having episodes of dizziness and imbalance ... coupled with an odd, persistent, attention-getting ringing in my ear. It would reach a crescendo, and then decrease ... at times I had to lie down 'til the vertigo passed. I got checked out for all the possible causes, and it was chalked up to a mystery. "Stress," they said. But of course. I am human, therefore I am stressed.

Over time, it passed, and I forgot about it, unless and until it came up during family get-togethers, "remember that time Dena got so dizzy in the store that she had to lie down in the aisle...?"

Fast-forward to the spring of 2008 ... April, to be precise. Mark and I had been invited to participate in a live TV show, the "Mike and Juliet" show in New York City ... it was about "Christians who enjoy sex" -- apparently, this is national news. We were flown out there, with the folks who own The Marriage Bed (a web-site about marital sex), as they then lived in our guest house. So, we had a whirlwind trip ... 31 hours from our front door and back again, with many plane take-offs and landings in-between, much ear-popping, and *very* little sleep (the garbage is picked up ALL night long in NYC -- our hotel was in Times Square - continuous cacophany!) ... and, of course, stress (even good stress, such as being a "TV-star" for the day, is stressful-stress) (BTW, I had my make-up air-brushed on sitting next to Willem Dafoe - he's not much taller than I am, and I'm a wee-woman).

That evening, immediately after landing back in Oregon, we had arranged for a meeting with some other friends ... for the purpose of them determining whether our "new theology" (i.e., no longer believing in endless torment in hell) would exempt us from participating in their ministry, and would revoke their invitation for us to serve on their board.

It did.

It was a highly-intense, investigative, emotionally-charged conversation, to vastly understate the situation. Devastating is another apt description (& not the first, nor the last, time that we were expelled from "fellowship/relationship" due to our morphing beliefs...).

The point of all this, is to describe what I experienced that evening ... in the midst of that intensity, with all the suddenness of a free-fall, I was overwhelmingly struck with that old, familiar sound in my ears ... that persistent, insistent ringing, that only I could hear. It was loud, intense, and disturbing. I even asked if anyone else could hear it (they could not). I could hardly fall to sleep that night, due to the overwhelmingness of it.

I chalked it up to stress (well, duh). I figured it would go away with that "perpetual-motion" feeling that I often get after a plane or boat ride.

It didn't.

It stayed with me.

I noticed it more when things were quiet, but it was always there, like background music in my ears.

After a few months, I began visiting specialists, to determine what was amiss. First, my general practitioner, who determined that perhaps I had been too-vigilant with Q-tips, and had likely caused a wax-blockage. I endured an ear-irrigation (water down the neck, ugh), and I'll spare you the results, but while some "matter" came out, it was not enough to account for the ringing. Plus, even with the "all clear" the ringing was still evident.

I then went to an audiologist, concerned that perhaps this was a sign of hearing loss ... I had done my share of rock concerts in the past ... perhaps it was catching up with me?

Nope -- everything checked out fine ... excellent hearing, and no medical reason for the ringing. The audiologist looked me in the eye, after the extensive exam, after ruling out all manner of alarming possibilities, and asked, "have you been under stress?"

Well, duh.

So, I then went to a Theophostic facilitator, thinking that we could get to the root of this ... perhaps this was getting my attention for something deeper, something emotionally unresolved? Perhaps it was a sign that I wasn't "listening" well? That I was ignoring something inside?

During the TPM session, the facilitator had me focus on the current stress in my life (the fact that most, nearly all, of my former friends had decided that I was spiritually dangerous, even heretical, and had to be distanced and avoided). However, the ringing was so invasive, that I couldn't get beyond it. I was quite frustrated that I couldn't focus -- I remember commenting, "Wouldn't it be funny if I'm hearing the frequency of God, that I'm tapped in to Him, and here I am trying to make it go away?!?"

We both had a good laugh at that...!

We had a great session, and I felt much-appreciated (despite my heretical tendencies), and I resolved some other issues, but the ringing went home with me.

At some point, I decided that I had to make peace with this thing ... much like I've had to make peace with dust-bunnies and spider-webs (the price one pays for living in a Victorian, I've discovered). Despite my attempts to conquer it, it wasn't going away, and I no longer wanted to live in a state of resistance and anxiety over it.

So, it's become part of the fabric of my life ... the landscape of my experience. So be it. I figured that if, one day, I EVER learned to live in a stress-free way, it would diminish or leave.

Regardless, I was going to live life.

I've noticed that it has nuances ... louder at times ... changes pitch at times ... sometimes seems to "shift" inside my head ... sometimes seems to switch from one ear to the other ... and is sometimes even accompanied by little "clicks" -- I can only compare them to the sound of Morse code going on inside of my head, near my right ear. I am aware that I sound a bit loopy here ... and I've hesitated in the past to share all of this, lest someone want to put me into a too-tight white jacket and haul me away, and inject me with who-knows-what...!

But I'm pretty much getting over that now...! ;)

Imagine then my surprise, when I was recently reading through a recommended-reading-list of a friend, and came across something called, "The Ringing Sound - An Introduction to the Sound Current", by Eric Gustafson. It arrested me, I purchased the book, and I was off to investigate...!

The next thing I noticed, is that the image on the front of the book is of the Buddha statue that's in Japan ... a statue I visited often as a young child, when we lived in Japan for 2 years. I went up into the statue (it's HUGE!), up the stairs, and looked through the "third eye" in the head of the statue. It was one of my favorite destinations in Japan. It felt uncanny to see it on the book ...

But what was even *more* uncanny is what the author says in the book ...! His premise is that the ringing sound, the very sound that had been plaguing me for 18+ months, is indeed the very frequency of God ... the sound of the vibration of the universe ... the divine tone of all creation.

Somehow, part of me knew this, even though the information came to me in the form of a ridiculing joke, out of my own mouth.

According to those who practice and teach meditation, the ringing sound is the highest form of meditation ... that which they aspire to experience -- the left-side tone is that which ascends from us, and the right side is that which descends into us (I have heard/felt the difference).

I've been sitting there for *months*, trying to meditate, and being "distracted" by this incessant ringing sound in my ears/head..! When all the while it was what I most desired ... evidence of a connection to God! Talk about uncanny!

Apparently, more and more people are experiencing this ringing ... and most write it off as a sign of hearing loss and/or stress ... doctors call it "tinnitus". But they are in the dark as to what causes it, or how to alleviate it.

But, why alleviate a gift...? Why try to stop a blessing...? What if we just need a new perspective?

What if it's merely a natural occurrence due to the supernatural awakening that's happening ...? What if we could learn to tune IN to it, hear the message, and discover it's purpose?

What if ...?

Shalom, Dena


Jeannette said...

OMG! OMG! I have had that same ringing in my ears for as long as I can remember. I always knew it was the tone of the earth/universe but never really felt comfortable discribing it that way to someone else. It does have cycles like you said. Times when it's intense and pulsing and times when it's barely there BUT it's ALWAYS there. I've gotten used to it. I barely notice it when it's on it's low frequency. It does hinder my hearing when the tone gets higher. I do enjoy tuning into it when I'm alone. I swear sometimes it's talking and so I try to take time to be still when it's like that and just feel it.

Dena said...

Isn't it uncannily refreshing to realize that it's a GOOD thing, when we thought it was an irking thing...?

Perspective changes everything, no?

I had the same reaction as yours when I first saw this book ... I had to be ready for it, as with all things.

(glad to have you and your exuberance aboard!)