How Meditation Helps Me Listen for the Sound of the Genuine

How Meditation Helps Me Listen for the Sound of the Genuine January 3, 2022

Centering Prayer: Sound of the Genuine

I remember the first moment it all clicked for me. 

I was sitting in a small chapel, the lights down low, and the soft candlelight flickering against the walls. Along with about twenty friends and community members, we were engaged in meditation – whatever that word meant for each of us.

For me, with no formal training at the time in Centering Prayer or any specific form of meditation, it simply meant witnessing my thoughts. I would bring my posture to a resting position, my awareness to my breath, and simply pay attention to whatever thoughts came wandering through my head.

On this particular night, my thoughts were few and far between (a rarity for me). I settled into the quiet and twenty minutes disappeared in what felt like only one minute.

But what happened in those twenty minutes was everything.


The Sound of the Genuine

Howard Thurman, a Christian minister, theologian, and mystic, once taught that we each have the “sound of the genuine” emanating up from within us. It’s the music our soul sings, beckoning us toward the part of ourselves that holds true importance. It’s the song of the Divine within us.

We can hear it, sometimes breaking through the noise of life in the a-ha moments and sometimes only within our quiet spaces, but it is always strumming within us, trying to lead us deeper into the depths of who we truly are. If we’re able to pause and listen, we might hear this intimate sound coming up from within us through our intuition, our creativity, and our passion. 

For those of you who are artists, I bet you know this feeling! The sound of the genuine often leads us into “being in the flow,” as our bodies, minds, and souls come together to create something beautiful.


Why I Meditate

It was on this evening, in the small chapel filled with friends, that I first became aware of the sound of the genuine emanating up from within me. It felt like a homecoming, a reconnection with the Divine – God – inside and all around me.

And when I left the chapel and got on the bus to head home, I remember writing a simple phrase in my journal: “it’s all beauty.”

It might sound hokey – I admit, out of context and all these years later, this experience sounds to me like a blip on the radar. But the experience of it – the feeling of it – had lasting impacts.

The act of listening for the sound of the genuine within me taught me to listen to the sound of the genuine all around me. And it helped to remind me, even in the midst of the chaos of the world, that there is beauty in everything around us.

This is why I meditate.

It reconnects me with Reality/God/The Divine – whatever you want to call it. The quietness allows me space to breathe, to go to my depths, so that I may walk into the world from a wiser, more centered, more wonder-filled way.

What has your experience with meditation been like?

When have you felt the sound of the genuine emanating up from within you?


Centering Prayer Summit - Keith Kristich

Centering Prayer Summit

In just under two weeks, Keith Kristich will be hosting a virtual Centering Prayer Summit. For those of you who are dabbling with meditation or have been meditating for years, this will be a great opportunity to hear from some of our wisest teachers, including my teacher from the Living School, Cynthia Bourgeault. She is amazing! I hope you’ll check it out!

About Andrew Lang
Andrew Lang is a high school teacher in Tacoma, Washington and an alumnus of Richard Rohr’s Living School for Action and Contemplation. For the past eight years, he has led workshops on contemplative spirituality and community development throughout the Pacific Northwest. You can read more about the author here.
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