N.O.W. is so simple and easy to use we often say “Just listen”, and leave it at that.
In fact, that is how a number of elementary school educators are using N.O.W. in their classrooms. 2nd graders are told to “just listen”. In a lovely bit of reciprocity, the students simply call N.O.W. their “peace tones”.
But like all things in a world of forms, N.O.W. can be a deeply rewarding object of focus and inquiry, it often surprises me with new revelations, aspects I hadn’t previously observed. Here are a few …
Two objects, One Experience. N.O.W. appears to be two separate speakers, but in fact it is a non-dualistic (non-verbal and non-textual) experience of Oneness. Two separate speakers produce one sound experience.
N.O.W. is cool to the touch and weighty in the hand. When first picked up and held in the hands, N.O.W. is cool to the touch. Its a gentle reminder I can respond “coolly and calmly” to challenges as they arise. Other folks notice the weighty feel of N.O.W. and find this to be a grounding experience. In fact some people like to use N.O.W. while holding it or placing it on their body. All good!
The power ON button requires a slow press-and-release action. By design, N.O.W.’s power on button does not respond instantaneously like a light switch being flicked on. It takes a slower and more deliberate press-and-release to “latch” (engineering term) into the ON state. This design feature provides an opportunity to be aware of your intention to turn on the speakers. You may wish to observe the blue light that confirms N.O.W. has been powered on. Repeat for the second speaker.
Time delay before sounds emerge. After you have deliberately pressed and released the power ON button there is an intentional silent period. By design, N.O.W. gives you a few seconds to center, take a cleansing breath, intentionally let thoughts go, become aware of stillness and bring intentional attention to listening.
Impulse Sounds. You will notice N.O.W. delivers both impulse sounds and sustained sounds. The impulse sounds serve several purposes –– they are a “mini big bang”, they create gaps that can be noticed as empty space, and they can function as reminders to let arising thoughts go and return our focus to just listening.
Sustained Sounds. The sustained tones, by design, interplay with each other to create pulsing volume oscillations in a low frequency range of approximately 1 cycle per second (sometimes less) up to about 8 cycles per second. These are low frequency entrainment signals, or “cues”, that help your brain create its own oscillatory activity in these same frequency ranges –– the frequency ranges that have been documented to be correlated to states of open monitoring and diffuse-focus awareness –– a meditative state of pure consciousness.
Volume Control. When first turned on, N.O.W., by design, delivers an ideal volume level for an intimate “lean in and listen up” experience when heard in a quiet room (like a bedroom first thing in the morning) when placed 2-3 feet away from you.
If you’re using N.O.W. while preparing breakfast in the kitchen (with your children bustling about and the refrigerator humming away) you’ll probably want to raise the volume one step by pressing and releasing (slowly, again. Lol) the VOL button. And if you’re leading a yoga class in a studio you’ll want to use N.O.W. at its maximum volume –– two presses of the VOL button (slowly pressed, natch).
Two objects playing as one. If you place N.O.W. 2-3 feet away from you the sounds emerging from the individual speakers are not likely to be localized as coming from a particular speaker. This helps me feel the experience of Oneness emerging from two apparently separate things. Alternately, you can place N.O.W. on either side of you. The “strike tones” can now be localized as emerging from one speaker or the other, but the sustained tones tend to hang in the air or even slowly sweep around you or move back and forth. By place the speaker next to each “two can become as one”. By placing them further apart there apparent separate is more noticeable.
Limited pitch and timbral ranges. N.O.W.’s pitch range is intentionally restricted to about an octave in the midrange of human audible frequencies. This is to give session-to-session familiarity. N.O.W.’s New Origin Waveforms are pure sine wave tones. These are used in order to allow infinite, random combinations of intervalic (pitch) intervals to arise without the dissonance that would occur if, say, piano notes notes were played at random, instead.
The familiar sounds, the pleasant timbre of these sounds and the moment-to-moment newness of the sounds make it easy for you to experience the IS-ness of the present moment –– hopefully without judgement ; )
Accept that thoughts will enter your mind. Return your attention to the sounds.
Long fade out. Near the end of the three minute N.O.W. Tone Therapy session there is a long fade of the tones. This may be observed as a gentle dissolution of form. Know that another tone-life will arise again in your next session.
Automatic turn off. After sitting in silence (well, more like being aware of the totality of your sense perceptions) with N.O.W. for as long as you wish, simply get up and go about your day –– perhaps just a little more connected to your essence and the essence of those around you.