Photo by Giovanni Savino ,
copyright Magnetic art, New York.
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Learn first to calm the spirit
and to relax the body,
then descend into yourself,
as a diver.
"I wish you were the place to swim naked as a fetus that mimics the sudden and immense desire of peace"
My work is dedicated to composers and musicians of all time who taught me to hear the music of the words.
“For the extraction of secret things, there is no other method than through the tinderbox of listening and there is no entry into the heart except through the antechamber of the ears.
What I want to do is travel deep and deeper into the dreamlands,
to find that place that I know is waiting for me here.
Charles De Lint
For many years one of my scientific interests has been the study of altered states of consciousness and , specifically, the effects of music on the mind.
I would like to present a new element of my research that is CENTRAL TO altered states of consciousness:
HUMAN BEINGS FIRST EXPERIENCE IN THE WOMB.
It occurs as result of IT IS OUR FIRST IMMERSION IN AMNIOTIC FLUID AND IT IS OUR FIRST AUDITORY EXPERIENCE IN WATER.
All “trance-like” or “like ecstatic” human experiences are linked to our primary mental and somatic experience: the Amniotic Experience.
Our early human experience is aquatic and our early sensory perception is primarily tactile, proprioceptive and auditory.
What you experienced before birth ?
The beatitude of the indistinguished primary world at the time of immersion into the amniotic water .
The importance of prosody which is the intonation, timbre, and rhythm of the voice. Prosody goes beyond the meaning of words allowing to understand and connect with the emotional world .
There are Another immersion experiences like Diving ACTIVITY , not only a sport activity but a discovery activity into the unconscious mind as result by "Flotation tank " experience too.
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato, on which the essence of western spirituality is based, wrote much about music and the mind.
He believed that the experience of human suffering could be equated to the experience of internal motion: kinesis. Music and Dance would be perceived as an external shock, seismos, which would bring the emotional state back to the general calm of the cosmos . Plato had stumbled upon what neuroscientists in the xx century would call “the auditory driving phenomenon.”
In “title of work”, Plato states “Mothers who try to get their children to sleep, rock them (konesin) swinging (seiousai) their arms while singing songs.
By the 18th week of life, the fetus is already “listening” to the noises and sounds in her liquid environment. Immersed in amniotic fluid, this small being is led by the desire to communicate with the voice of the mother, to keep this connection uninterrupted and to establish an auditory relationship with the mother.
The child swims in this aquatic universe of internal sounds and noises, occasional punctuated by the music of his mother's voice. He must learn to stretch his ear in order to re-establish a dialogue with that voice .
The fetus’ ear directly receives the internal gurgling sounds of his amniotic environment while external noise and sound are heard indirectly through the mother’s abdominal wall.
The fetus literally lives what he hears – all he knows is this liquid world.
In the past Scientists emphasized the sound of the heartbeat much more than we do today. On the contrary, we believe that the heartbeat is a form of white noise – a constant equal power within a fixed bandwidth – which is probably only felt by the fetus when it sometimes disappears.
The fetus has more of an auditory connection with the rhythmic, and more varied sound of maternal breathing, which is similar to a wave’s backlash when it hits the shore.
It is a similar sound to the one heard and felt underwater by the scubadiver, a sound emitted from his aqualung or breath regulator.
Where, in the brain, is this experience stored ?
Through neuroscience, we have discovered that in addition to the form of autobiographic memory we have long termed “Explicit Memory”: we also have “Implicit Memory” – an underground (subconscious) storage system that we neither recall or verbalize
We can thus speculate that the early childhood experiences of our first two years of life are stored as “implicit memory” by the amygdala, almond-shaped groups of nuclei located deep within the meidal temporal lobes of the brain. Research has shown that it is the amygdalae which perform the primary role in the processing of memory and emotional reactions. In fact the hippocampus, the major component of the brain which plays a role in long-term memory, does not become fully mature until after the second year of life.
During pregnancy, sounds are filtered through the amniotic fluid and change vibrations. High-pitched sounds are transformed through this filter-effect while sounds over 500 hertz remain unchanged. The fetus seems to react more strongly to low-frequencies In fact, those sounds they feel the most are cello and double-bass, while violins and flutes come through less powerfully.
The mother’s body is the critical element in the transmission of sound between the outside world and her unborn child. External sounds, like the voices of the father and siblings, are perceived in attenuated form. The amniotic fluid deforms the minor singing voice, but maintains the intonations and rythmns of the mother’s voice giving the fetus, what has been proven to be a predilection to women’s voices, especially in song.
These amniotic sounds related to water and its flow ,are mimicked by countless indigenous instruments from around the world– from rainsticks to bells to wood and bone.
The mental activity of the fetus is centered on listening ,recognizing the feelings of the mother, empathizing with her through her sounds and learning to understand her. For the fetus, this a deep and global experience which helps to train his active mind.
The fetus hears this “motherese” in a sing-song mode which is characterized by non-conscious elongated vowels, by rhythmn, by the treble, by the slow and long pauses, repetitions, underscoring and exaggerated accents.
In “motherese” the message is represented by the melody itself. In this mode of communication, the feelings and intentions of the speaker are easily interpreted.
HOW THE FIRST NINE MONTHS SEAPE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE ?
Last year Current Biology, (November 5, 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.09.064, by Birgit Mampe, University of Wurzburg, Germany; Angela D. Friederici, Max-Planck-Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; Anne Christophe, Ecole Normale Superieure/CNRS, Paris, France; and Kathleen Wermke, University of Wurzburg, Wurzburg, Germany) has published an important discovery : newborns' Cry Melody Is Shaped by Their Native Language.
The researchers analyzed the crying of infants in France and Germany, noting that in their first cry, children already speak the language of their parents.
The tone is increased in French infants and waning in German, in agreement with the melody of the two languages. Babies in France, for example, tend to cry with a growing melodic contour, with a low tone at the beginning and the end high note.Younger Germans, however, follow the pattern reversed. So, even if the volume of tears was the same, the French began so quietly with a final crescendo, as the Germans did the opposite.
According to experts this line "melody" refers to the characteristics of the mother tongue. "For example, when you say 'papa' in German, set the accent on the first syllable, while the French do the opposite,"
And since the plant was analyzed at three days of life, the conclusion is that children have absorbed the accent during pregnancy.
Voices and musical tunes can indeed be heard by the third quarter onwards.
Babies' Language Learning Starts From The Womb !
"In the beginning was the sound” say the opening words of the Gospel according to Saint John. One could also say – as did the well-known Italian Psychoanalyst Franco Fornari: “And the sound was at (in?) the mother and the sound was the mother “
In Chinese Culture, mothers-to-be are customarily walked to “centers of tranquility” . Often near riverbanks, these locations are chosen in order for the mother to help foster feelings of peacefulness and pleasantry in her unborn child .
In the Japanese culture, parents and close family of the unborn child practice "tai-kyo", speaking to the child in the womb as a way of conveying knowledge.
In all eastern cultures, unpleasant sounds during pregnancy are strictly forbidden.
How does the early dialogue between a mother and child play out in adult life?
Mauro Mancia, the Italian Psychoanalyst, maintained that it the prosody – the rythmn, timbre and melody of the voice – of this early dialogue outweighs the actual meaning of the words.
Like a middle-aged man, the fetus lives in a world of wonder. Like someone who hasn’t lived the experience but has read about in a great book. This metaphor helps us implicit memory.
Nature doesn’t give us a mind for the purpose of learning, instead the actual process of learning creates the mind. Thus, the mind is not a consequence of the brain’s evolution but the opposite. “We don’t learn experience,we learn by the experience.” (Bion 1962)
Mancia says :
“Listening to music has matured in me a new sensitivite. I reduced my attention to the semantics of words, and accentuated my interest in their musicality. This allowed me to gain a particular sensitivity to the underword world , not only to things said by the patient, but their, tone, timbre, volume of voice and structuring of language. This is important because these psychoanalytic affective transference elements of repeat-mode communication characterized the early relationship between mother / child and operated as a vehicle for feelings and emotions .
Diving experience .
The only way we will ever experience a “second” birth is through deepwater diving.
The sounds of small stones or sand, the movements of fish, the vibration of water activates the “ear water” memory.
This is why when we dive, the experience creates a state of relaxation and drowsiness caused by endorphins “awakening” our primordial unconscious memory.
We use our ears for the purpose of distal perception; perceiving elements that we cannot see.
Water dulls the full potential of our distal perception while on land, we do not feel the air’s resistance.
In immersion, however, we feel the presence of water through its pressure on our skin.
We have a greater sense of our body’s position in space as well as a more intense perception of the sound of our own breathing and hearbeat.
This condition allows us a greater concentration on our inner world without the distractions of the one outside.
That’s why diving is an introspective experience.
Life in the water was important in developing mind .
What else can water do yet for our mind ?
FLOTATION TANK EXPERIENCE .
In particular “medical” conditions, immersion in water can shift states of mind? How is this possible ?
In the nineteen-forties (40) , the scientist John Lilly discovered that humans float far more easily when are immersed in water with a high-concentration of magnesium.
If humans float in silence and in the dark, the brain enters another mental state, developing theta-waves which result in a meditative state that can spark for visions and a deep relaxation of the mind which allows the brain a greater power of free association and creativity.
The director Ken Russell Based his film “Altered States” on Lilly’s discoveries .
In the Steven Spielberg science fiction film “Minority Report” three mutants immerse themselves in a flotation tank in order to enhance their abilities to predict crimes which are about to happen, otherwise known as , precognition.