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True Tone

At a subatomic level, electrons are spinning within your body right now. Every cell within you is undulating; in fact, all of existence is vibrating!

Within this movement of life, we each have our own specific vibration. This true tone exists in perfect harmony with all the vibrations of eternity. We do not need to do anything special to live as our true tone. Rather, we need to stop trying to match the vibrations of others.

As social humans, we have learned to group together to survive. Working together has allowed us to become technologically advanced, but as our material accomplishments have spread, we’ve separated more and more from our innate wisdom. We’re conditioned from a young age to fit in, even if that means suppressing our unique expressions. This has allowed us as a species to build remarkable structures; however there has been a cost – both to the natural environment in which we live, and to the health of our species.

Even within spiritual communities, we find it difficult to resist the tendency to match the vibration of others. In a way, this ability to mimic has a definite benefit in the spiritual aspects of life. We can idealize a high teacher and emulate them, which allows us to experience life from a higher, clearer vibration by borrowing from the teacher. However to make our continued development sustainable, we still need to dig past the conditioning to discover our own true tone.

In my own maha-sangha of people who studied with Rama, I’ve witnessed this grouping effect. While there is a quality of tone we all share, those who met Rama in the 1980’s tend to have one overall vibration, those who met him in the 1990’s have a different one, and people who found his teachings after his death have yet another vibration. When the various groups get together, this entrainment effect is even more profound. Because part of our practice is to be sensitive to subtle feelings of vibration, it can be both uncomfortable and confusing for some students to participate in a gathering of mixed generations.

In the work of building a community, both in our microcosm of the Rama Mandala Lineage, and in the larger world, it’s helpful to keep in mind this tendency to group together by general vibration level. It’s easy for the overall group vibration to drown out the subtle differences of the individuals. If we give into our basic survival instinct of meshing with others most like us, we build factions instead of harmony.

This is not to say we should not celebrate when we find others who resonate at a similar vibration. When we find a group where we feel at home, it can strengthen us and together we can do amazing things. If used as a support instead of as a bubble of protection, all the members of the group can develop confidence in being true to their deepest self.

The danger of factions is when we are bombarded with the message we are the same, and we become complicit in continuing the bombardment by trying to match what we think is the right vibration, we lose touch with our innermost essence. We become fixated in what we think is proper and beneficial for the group out of fear or pride while losing sight of our place within the whole of existence. We become a cog in a mind-made machine bent on survival for its own sake and isolated from the divine purpose of expressing and exploring the wonder of life.

We can remember and embrace our true tone by practicing the teachings. In meditation, the layers of conditioning melt and dissolve in the Dharmakaya. In this stillness, we feel our true tone without judgement, without relation to other. Off the meditation cushion, we practice mindfulness – watching the mind to see where it takes us, centered in the present moment. When we become lost in thought, we direct it towards beauty and gratitude and we notice the silence that brings us back to presence. We can spend time in nature or even with a house plant, and witness how the plant is simply a plant, with no ulterior motive or push to be something it is not.

During our interactions, we remain conscious of our tendency to want to match, to fit in. We accept and recognize what we are not. Instead of blindly adapting to what we think others want from us, we challenge ourselves to remain true to our own vibration and actively see what benefit our unique view can bring to the situation.

As more people remember and embrace their distinctive vibration, we will find a deeper harmony within our species and with our beautiful earth. From harmony, creative solutions to problems created by the isolated mindset can blossom.

Because the layers of conditioning are thick, we need pay close attention to our motivation whenever we act. Anything more or less than wanting to shine our pure light for the sake of light itself is a distortion of our true tone. When we strive for this ideal with compassion and loving-kindness for our own deluded mind and for others, it opens a door into purity. This door remains open not only for us, but for all who wish to express their own true tone.



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Published inBuddha Lessons / MindfulnessRama

One Comment

  1. Tara Tara

    This is so beautiful and true!

    I love the piece about directing the mind towards beauty and gratitude when lost in thought.

    I also love the motivation of “wanting to shine our pure light for the sake of light itself” very inspiring and helpful.

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