"A highly intelligent woman with a marvelous gift for working with people with sensitivity, humour and great personal warmth. In my opinion it is time that her work is available to a much wider public. I very much hope that this will become possible as she has a very serious contribution to make to the worlds of music, healing and personal development."
Marina Jenkyns M.A. (Cantab). PGCE. SRAT (D) Author of The Play's the Thing: Exploring Text in Drama and Therapy.
Home pageCoursesResonance ChoirWorkshopsTestimonialsThe CDContact

Article for Swiss Magazine Litchwelle

Entering communication through listening - The Tierney Resonance Method for Spiritual and Vocal Alignment by Kathlyn Alice Tierney LRAM Hons

I believe that at a profound level, communication is about living in vibrational harmony with our higher self or sense of spirit. If we can listen from within and align our physical bodies to the inspiration of our higher consciousness - whatever the rhythms or patterns we encounter - we can begin to transform our sense of self as we communicate.

To truely know ourselves as we live in our body moment by moment  - whatever we are engaged in in daily life - is to begin a quest to become vibrationaly as one with our spirit. Our daily breathing and speech are meant to be connected to our source, to bring us closer, depending on our belief system, to our sense of God or to the bigger music. We need to become conscious of what we are releasing on our breath and in our words, what is the effect of the ripples of our sound, how do we effect the people and atmosphere around us? What is our intent as we live, have we accepted the integrity of our spirit guiding us from within?  We may have to change our perceptions of self and of our potential to be in love - in love with the greatest love affair of all time  - with the radiance of our higher self living within us, heart beat by heart beat - word by word, breath by breath! 

Vocal sound is our divine resource, our instrument of self expression. We can use sound as a way of understanding others and to communicate with the world around us. Sound is also a powerful healer and through practice we can develop it to realise the essence of our true spirit and bring real change to our lives.

This article is about using our voices and breathing to aid us on this journey of sound discovery; and to help us to listen and focus on a conscious awareness of living spirit within - inspiring us in our daily lives. We have all experienced inspirational workshops or talks that we have relished participating in but as soon as the daily pattern of our life takes over, we relegate to our memories. It takes a sensory build up of experience for us to remember to override often unconscious habits and to expand beyond our socialized self. Listening to our bodies as we breathe and tone helps us to bridge the gap between our higher consciousness and our socialised instruments of self. Our bodies can begin to communicate directly with our consciousness with often surprising and joyous results. We become friends with the amazing instrument that has experienced and supported us throughout our lives, the result is a sense of a profound inner peace that is palpable and nurture for our whole being.

‘Communication and attraction are natural things and life would be barren without them. We must accept the worst and the best in ourselves, as stages of becoming, and subject them to the influences of our higher self, gradually  directing these spiritual experiences into spiritual maturity.’ 

From ‘ Yoga of the Inward Path ’ by Ronald Beesley

If we can experiment with the opportunity to be in the world as a harmonious vibration of our higher self and can learn to listen for the sustaining nurture of our spirit’s music, we can become free of some of the fear that we subconsciously absorbed when we become socialised as young children. Opening the doorway to this enriching process causes us to become increasingly aware of our body as a literal instrument. An instrument that has been socialised through the rhythms and tones of speech to have a sense of self that is not necessarily in tune with our expanded sense of consciousness. 

Every instrument requires frequent tuning and so it is with us. We need to witness our selves within and to listen to how we really are, in order to be of service in the world in which we live on earth. By witnessing or claiming ourselves through sound, just as we are in the present moment, we can then tune from within to the vibration of our higher selves. If we progress along this path of attunement, we are literarily listening for the integrity and presence of the light of our spirit within us at all times; whatever the actions, thoughts or words we are engaged in.

The delight of a musical understanding of this liaison between body and spirit is in the need to be technically aware, it can be very tempting to bliss out when connecting to a sense of spirit! If you are engaged in using sound to tune and align yourself, you can hear by the feeling and freedom of the sound whether you are present or not. With training we can increase our ability to stay aware on several levels and bliss in instead! Daily practice to increase our technical awareness can become a blessing, opening the gateway to inspired communion. The rhythms of daily life can become a stabilising base for our spirit, One, without the other, would become a strain and impossible to continue with for long. Living in the flow of an attuned life is a healing and beautiful journey, full of the great gifts of hope and peace.

‘ Focus your light within us  - make it useful; 
as the rays of a beacon show the way.
Help us breath one holy breath feeling only you - 
this creates a shrine inside of busy forgetfulness: 
so that the name comes to live. 
Your name, your sound can move us 
if we tune our hearts as instruments of its tone.’ 
Extract from ‘ Prayers of the Cosmos ‘ by Neil Douglas-Klotz 

Because being accepted in the world is essential to our survival as a baby, our senses of self can grow in many directions that in later life we may wish to examine. We have all experienced being on holiday in a foreign country, and discovering that aspects of our personality can flower or diminish, depending on our comfort levels with our sense of self and the new culture we are encountering. 

We learn by imprinting to a huge extent, parents and children often develop basic family characteristics such as breathing, walking and talking in similar habitual ways. Much of this conditioning happens when we are very young, before we have a rational capability to chose. To change early habits can bring an enormous sense of expansion of self and relief, but can also seem threatening if we have a highly developed survival self which has done a good job of protecting us. One of the most common areas that this shows in is when a child has had to listen to a parent at the cost of their own development and timing. The gift of multi-sensory listening can bring great gifts, but also a sense that other people’s needs and rhythms overwhelm the integrity of their own self. 

In musical terms it can take practice for people who have grown up listening to others at the cost of their own development and in order to work out how to survive, to be able to hold a different tune or rhythm from others. Becoming aware of subliminal patterns and beliefs takes time and practice, working with personal breathe and vocal sound is a gentle process that warms and claims us by a subtle infusion of possibilities.

Though it can seem an attractive proposition that through daily practice of personal sound and breathe, we can become more conscious of our spirit’s guidance, in reality it can seem one of the most dangerous things in the world to our sense of self. In order to have a sense of worthiness, of existence, how we listen and talk within ourselves and to each other is a huge part of our negotiated place in the world. To say that we are going to steer our sense of self, in real time, from an inner core of connection with sprit can seem very threatening. It is one thing to pray, meditate, practice exercises such as yoga, tai chi etc. ask for guidance when faced with challenges, and quite another to surrender the mundane to a physical/spiritual inner guidance. 

Relinquishing control of how we handle the constant undertow of daily life to the light of spirit is an intense spiritual commitment, the trade off is also huge - expect the unexpected!. Some of the greatest challenges to inspired living come in the routine rhythms of conversations that are so familiar and that have many assumed meanings, that we are no longer present. We can also become very attached to some of our damaged aspects of self that have accessed  recognition and attention, that have become part of our story and identity that we define our self by in conversation, it can be a very vulnerable but poignant relief to be in the moment in conversation.

‘ Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired’  Martha Graham

Music has another gift to us in the realisation of the power of difference, of the un-harmonious - the dissonant. From a musical perspective dissonance is what brings change, moves a harmony or melody onwards, without it we would not recognise consonance or harmony and could easily become stagnant and predictable leading to spiritual unconsciousness. Allowing the dissonant within the music of our life’s experiences as they are recorded within the body, can free us to release and access aspects of our behavior which otherwise can become an undertow of unacknowledged or claimed aspects of self - we make room for love and acceptance, just as we are in the moment.

To be in the now means relinquishing our sense of knowing, of being out of control in conversation because we are listening first and foremost to sense/hear/feel our spirit within. Paradoxically if we listen to others whilst maintaining an inner link to our spirit we create a sense of space and peace for others to be heard in, we become less judgmental of ourselves and others and much more spontaneous. 

I have described some of the background to my teaching methods, as ever it is an ongoing process of observation and practice. Very luckily I have been inspired to run a sound meditation Choir for several years. In the Resonance Choir we practice a method of vocal development, and over the years we have come to hone some of the most beneficial and generally accessible exercises from what we call the Tierney Method of Vocal Development. I will try to briefly outline below some of these exercises so that if you are curious about what the benefits might feel like, you can try out some at home. 

I think that one of the most important realisations for spiritual sound work is to acknowledge the importance of the natural alignment of the body as an energetic support and structure. So for these exercises please select somewhere to sit where you are able to be upright and able to rest the weight of your head on your spine and the weight of your spine on your pelvis and with your feet able to rest on the ground, ready to listen and connect - without the pressure of gravity! 

Please begin by gently and slowly rocking forwards and backwards being led by the muscles of your stomach and lower back. Please let your arms and hands rest gently in your lap. Begin to sense with your feet, try to become receptive to what they feel and sense. Check your head is relaxed by gently moving it up and down where it balances on your spine, on the little bones just under your ears. the idea is to reassure your body and nervous system by supporting yourself as you sit upright - with the bones, ligaments and muscles that were designed to keep you in a relaxed alignment maintaining your posture.

Once you are comfortable and balanced begin to think about your breathing. Try to continue with your gentle rocking from your base. Breath in and out through an open and relaxed mouth, jaw and tongue. As you inhale check that your breast bone or sternum is still and that it is your lower ribs that are opening to let the air into your lower lungs. Pause for a moment and listen inside for how you are within yourself, as you exhale your lower ribs move in and your breast bone stays still, the released air is already vibrating with  the integrity of how you are, you are conscious and connected to what you are releasing.

The second stage of the breathing is to connect with a sense of the greater music, your expanded sense of consciousness as you listen inside, and then to release the air deeply, you will notice a great stillness and depth to your breathing.

Gradually you will be able to support yourself and to stay present with the breathing, then you can start to tone or hum. Toning is a way of tuning yourself internally. Your mouth is closed and the hum or tune is made with a relaxed flat tongue. By putting your hand on your chest, feel as though you have the sun inside and as you move your hand forward feel the warmth and light warm your hand. In this way you will become accustomed to connecting within as you speak or sing. 

So to briefly encapsulate the initial exercises from the Tierney Method: 

* Walk or sit with listening feet in an intimate relationship with the earth, being present as a physical bridge between heaven and earth, 
* Breathe to witness how you are and to then connect to your expanded consciousness, so that you are responsible for your vibrational intent as you speak and breath and can become more united within yourself.
* Tone and hum internally to free blocks and stagnation and to feel joy!

Enjoy the sounds and rhythms of the music of life by sounding your part from a place of peace and acceptance of what a miraculous and inspirational instrument you are! 

‘ O listen - 
Listen more carefully 
To what is inside you right now.

In my world
All that remains is the wondrous call to
Dance and prayer

Rising up like a thousand suns
Out of the mouth of a 
Single bird ‘

From’ The Subject Tonight is Love ’, poems of Hafiz translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Website designers Arcray Webmedia Ltd