Here in the world of form we are challenged by our relationships to objects –– whether seeking, preserving or mourning their passing. All three of these states can either be a source of suffering or loving transcendence.
N.O.W. is a guide to right and loving relationship with objects because it uses the nearly formless energy of tonal harmony to dissolve a perceptual error that objects themselves can complete us.
The suffering of object attachment is well known. No matter our age or gender, object obsession arises from a mistaken perception that the object is going to somehow fill a hole in one’s life. Whether the object is another pair of shoes, a new guitar or shiny new car …. longing for the missing object is the first stage of object attachment suffering.
We pore through catalogs, window shop and test drive the objects of our obsession. How great we would feel wearing, using or driving the object just out of reach! We scrimp, save and go into debt to acquire the objects of our attachment.
Once acquired, the ego allows us a temporary period of respite to enjoy possessing the object as “mine”. The ego has demonstrated its power to manifest the object of its desire and show the pleasure that comes from object acquisition. But wait.
Soon we enter the perseveration phase of object attachment. The shiny new car receives its first parking lot ding or scratch. Perfection has been marred. Now begins the mad scramble to protect the car from further insults of being a vehicle subject to wear and tear. Try as we might, we can’t arrest the effects of time on our new car –– the accumulation of road grime, the mounting repair bills the burden of making monthly payments on an object that has started to become a weight around our neck and a drain on our wallet.
We mourn the passing of the temporary state of perfection we perceived in the new car. And, finally, when it no longer makes financial sense to maintain the car we let it go –– good riddance money pit! But we occasionally long for the early days of its top down, convertible pefection, and we start the cycle of object longing and acquisition again. Must. Get. A. New. Car.
This familiar object attachment drama plays out again and again in our lives until we realize there is a way to transcend the cycle. I think of this as having a right and loving relationship with objects, a letting go of an obsessive and possessive relationship with objects.
We can begin by acknowledging the presence of desire. Desire, as I use the term here, is an urge to recognize love in the world and extend it through reciprocal engagement –– to resonate with love and allow love-forms to manifest. Desire is a resonant response to love that is already extant. Desire motivates creativity and form manifestation. But as we’ve seen with the example of object attachment, desire, when coupled to obsessive attachment will bring forth suffering.
Desire must remain pure and free from object attachment if we are to avoid the suffering cycle. N.O.W. can help us experience this.
To the eye, N.O.W. appears to be be two separate loudspeakers, yet to the ear, N.O.W. is one singular aural experience. N.O.W. provides the opportunity to subtly shift perception from that of form (the loudspeakers that are seen) to a more formless reality of non-repeating, non-idiomatic sound imbued with harmonious tonal relationships.
While N.O.W. is exceptionally pleasant to listen to (such much so that often a desire for a longer duration arises), our essential self (consciousness) recognizes these physical objects are only the carriers of sound and it is the moment to moment unfolding of the N.O.W. tone sequence –– our “awareness of harmony” that we experience and want. That is what we desire, we desire the experience of N.O.W’s. ever unfolding moment to moment harmony. In other words, N.O.W. tends to deemphasize form-object attachment by making the form-object itself appear to be less real than than near-formless sound experience perceived by the ears.
N.O.W. is a gentle reminder that one can desire peace and tranquility –– and not become attached to objects with the mistaken belief that somehow these objects bring about peace and tranquility. Peace and tranquility –– love itself, already exist and only need be recognized as aspects of our essential nature.
I should add that N.O.W. is an intentionally quiet experience. It is never louder than your willingness to listen. In this way, N.O.W. helps you perceive that you have the freedom to choose –– to voluntarily bring your attention to listening, to desire to be at peace –– free from object attachment.
With practice, one can move about the world enjoying the bounty of form-objects, allow loving desire to arise as we acquire, use and allow objects to leave us … but not get caught up in the pain of obsessive object attachment. This is right and loving relationship to Objects, when they are seen as Holy teachers and friends.