Mitch Nur
from: Mitch Nur
Category: Setting Standards

The Quality of the Sound Worker

The Quality of the Sound Worker


©2017 Mitch Nur, PhD


The quality of a good sound worker has 2 aspects. The first aspect contributing to their quality is that they understand that their position is outside the western medical design where things are separated by doctors and patients or healers and customers for example. Sound becomes the cure, and the sound worker takes the credit for having provided the ‘medicine.’ But many working with sound, especially in ambient mode, are using sound tools not conforming to the western model, such as Himalayan Singing Bowls, Didgeridoo, Shruti, Tingshas etc. Even sound tools like Gongs, Crystal Bowls, and Tuning Forks fall outside western recognition. So there is a transcultural aspect to all this. There’s this awareness that much is falling outside western archetypes. 

The 2nd aspect is that they realize that the responsibility is on them and not the instrument or instruments they are using. Whether it’s tuning forks, singing bowls, gongs, drum, etc. it’s not the instrument itself, but the consciousness behind it. The practitioner is the true instrument, and the bell or bowl is their tools. This is very hard for most sound workers to wrap their head around, because of the nearly hysterical level that things like frequencies, tuning references, chakras, binaural beats, or the host of other ‘ideas’ people gravitate to, which substitute for the skillset of the practitioner. But there’s another part to this, where the client is an active participant in this process and is instructed on how to become active in this process. It is the client that needs to focus on the restoration of their well being. So in the end, it’s a shared holistic responsibility. 

Many feel that left to themselves, they can just ‘learn’ on the job, they don’t require guidance or training. It may work the first few times, but sooner rather than later, they will encounter a situation that’s beyond their sphere of knowledge and experience. And this presents another issue with some sound workers, where they try and learn everything all at once, or take program after program, leaving no time to actually practice what they have learned. They have no experience, other than attending program after program. Knowledge can come from books, seminars, retreats, and conferences; but wisdom comes from direct experience. To quote the esteemed Morihei Ueshiba, “Progress comes to those who train and train; reliance on secret techniques will get you nowhere.”

In the East within the walls of the monasteries, there is an aspect that students are encouraged to understand. It is known as ‘Vows and Pledges to be Observed’, it is said, ‘the Root of Attainment is to observe ones Pledges.’ I may be preaching to the choir here, but I will attempt to explain.

The student is seen as either coarse or subtle, and the teacher offers instructions and transmissions with the assumption that the student will observe instructions, and advice; practice what the teacher has taught, put into practice what they have learned, and apply themselves as a reflection of the transmission. So the teacher asks, ‘Got it”, and the student affirms. This affirmation is the recognition by the student that they are going to go about the business of being a refection of the teacher. The student is tasked at this point with the Vows and Pledges, because they have affirmed.

This is quite different in the West. Having personally trained hundreds of students over 4 decades, very few students stand steadfast in their Vows and Pledges. Many are consumed with simply trying to be me, or a photocopy of me, in fact some forget that they received the transmissions from me at all. That is the Nature of things during the Age of Vice (Kali Yuga), so one cannot have an expectation that the student will stay focused. But for those that do, they are a Hero of the transmissions, and a keeper of the flame of knowledge.

Most teachers in the East will say that one ‘quality’ student has more weight in Wisdom than hundreds who don’t. And in the end, everyone working in sound aspires for quality, but shortcuts, and unproven techniques, only soil the path for those who seek quality; and in the end we have only swollen the ranks of the ‘middling’ student. There are many challenges today, almost too many to count, but students need to take extra measures to insure they’re getting facts right, and accepting responsibility for all they do.

© 2017 Mitch Nur, PhD
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Posted: 30 Jun 2017 By: Elaine Whittaker

Thank you for this insightful article. I've been training in Sound for a year and am loving my journey. You are so right that intention (consciousness) is all important - tuning in to that 'divinity within you that provides guidance for all that you share

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