Resonating to Nirvana
Ramón Sender Barayón

Dear Planetary Friends and Sojourners:
This is the latest, as of July, 2014, of a series of articles that grew out of my
experiences with body resonances of various types. It originally was written to be
spoken onto the video "Resonating to Nirvana" that I posted on YouTube as well as
linked here to this article. It does not replace earlier articles on purring (see
below) but merely elaborates further on a wider group of exercises.

Resonating to Nirvana
Once upon a time, in an era long ago, a friend and I had the opportunity to hum --
or OM -- for a half-hour for a public TV interview. By the end of the session, our
OMs had transformed into an in-and-out snore with our lips motorboating lips. In
the following years, I developed a tracheal resonance exercise that sounded like
my cat purring in and out. It felt so good that I wrote an essay about it and posted
a three-minute demo on YouTube titled “Purring to Nirvana.” That demo has now been
up for some years and since then, I’ve learned that a number of other species beyond
just our feline friends purr: guinea pigs do it, ring-tailed lemurs do it, foxes,
raccoons, rabbits and squirrels do it. Even elephants, gorillas and bats do it. So as
the song says, “Let’s fall in love!” Or better, “let’s join our friends!”

Why purring is so popular perhaps has to do with certain healing frequencies, although
personally I feel it’s related more to the fact that it just feels very, very good.
And actually we do join our friends every night when we fall asleep and the soft
palate in the back of our throat relaxes and we begin a type of sighing breath that
frequently become loud enough to be called a snore and irritate our bed partners. But
aside from our partners, this resonant breath is produced by our blissfully floating
in that ocean of nirvana, the goal of all meditators and yogis who learn who to enjoy
it while awake. Now let’s see if we can relax into it ourselves. .

The three basic approaches to achieving a permanent blissful State, AKA Nirvana,
are thru the mind, the emotions and the body. The mind approach includes hours of
meditation or something similar, the emotions require years of psychotherapy or
analysis, and even then dubious. The body disciplines include hatha yoga postures and
t’ai chi, but since I imagine we’re all in a hurry (let’s get it done in one
lifetime!), I will focus on the body with some simple exercises. Although my first
remembered experience with body resonance dates back to 1968, (actually I’m now
gradually recalling incidents that date back to my toddler years) I’m going to start
with teacher Candice O’Denver’s suggestion - whom I discovered in 2010 or so: “Short
moments of awareness, repeated many times, become continuous.” What’s a short moment?
“Anyone can do it,” she says. “Just stop thinking.” Well, it does sound easy, because I
imagine a short moment could be the length of an in-out breath. For folks who find
even this difficult, I point them to the voluntary blink that I learned from watching
the His Happiness The Dalai Lama interviewed on TV. He was blinking 4 times more than
I, so I decided to copy him. Lo and behold, every time I blinked I realized my
thoughts stopped for a micro-instant. Checking ‘voluntary blinks’ on line, I found a
researcher who wrote me back that saying ‘yes, our thoughts do stop for a micro-
instant when we blink, but our mind stitches it all together so we’re not aware of
it.’ I also received feedback from a friend who told me that some Tibetan lamas use
blinks to swat pesky thoughts.

So Candice’s short moments, with blinks when necessary, can introduce anyone to a silent
mind, and gradually we learn that this level of awareness is there all the time
and is who we really are – the ocean and not just the waves on the surface,
although they can be fun too. But as we rest deeper ever deeper, our soft palate
relaxes and drops down, and the resonant sleep breath arises on its own. This
resonant breath is not a snore, but just that breathy sound we all make while asleep.
From the sleep-breath we can easily migrate to the snore, but I’ll refer to it
as next-door to the purr, after first of all discussing the hum.

Humming is beautifully described in Julie Henderson’s “The Hum book,” available by
mail from her at Hums come in various flavors, which she describes
in marvelous detail. You can hum into various levels of your body all the way down to
your cell membranes. I hum into an occasional twinge in my thumb, putting my lips
against the skin. As a San Franciscan, I’m especially fond of what I call the Fog-
horn hum (do it) Composer Bonnie Barnett developed the Tunnel Hum, where she gathers
people together into a resonant space like a tunnel and encourages them to hum away.
However I discovered that when you rest deeper into a full hum, you fall into an in-
out purring sound. Although most of us are familiar with feline purrs, other animals
also purr including ring-tailed lemurs, guinea pigs, foxes, gorillas, elephants,
raccoons, rabbits, squirrels and bats – probably a bunch of others also. Purring can
use various add-ons such as purring on the same pitch in and out, or with the tongue
going t-t-t-t behind the teeth, or with a vibration of the lips that Julie Henderson
calls Horse Lips, but technically known amongst horsey people as a ‘Bluster’ Here’s a
horsey sample:

Fooling around with horse lips lead me to The Raspberry. Here’s Julie’s ladylike
version, but it’s not the full obscene Razz (Bronx Cheer) that my clown guru Wavy
Gravy promotes on children’s cancer wards as ‘Mouth Farts’ First he hands out paper
bags to be worn over the kids’ heads to prevent saliva from spraying across the room.
And finally – tah-tah! The latest and the best exercise from my own demented POV: The
Nose Buzz. The only place I’ve found it on line is where The Nose Buzz Appears is one
website that suggests it as a way to trigger a sneeze, but I find, when correctly
applied, it triggers amazing shivers up the nose and over the head and down the spine
while I collapse in happy paroxysms of bliss! Afterwards, for the rest of the day,
you can coast on pursed-lips puffed exhales which I learned from senior citizens –
oops! I’m one too! Inhale short-short Exhale (Through pursed lips) puhhhhh

Now why don’t you follow along with me and copy the full series of increasingly
blissful exercises. Since I cannot demonstrate and talk at the same time, my recorded
instructions will play behind the demo:

By the way, the article about purring can be read here:
I’ve also produced various useful bliss-inducing toys such: The Shwisher, rattles
made of two plastic champagne glasses tuned to my nervous system sound, cured my
tinnitus.” Thwish and make a wish!” The Thwizzler – stumates the sensitive nerves
surrounding facial orifices. The Donkey Gruntler - for people who are too shy to
purr. The Eyelash stimulator that attaches to glasses’ frames and uses your blinks as
a thrill-inducer.
The following site links to a page of these and other exercises.

The main thing is to have fun! And please never do anything to excess, or while
driving a car or operating dangerous gadgets. The usual disclaimers about
consulting your physician also apply.

Links to my earlier YouTube purring videos:
"Purring to Nirvana"
and the sequel,
"purring to nirvana II," which develops the basic purring exercise further.