The power of voice (especially one’s own) – Hazrat Inayat Khan

Here’s a passage about voice, how it affects us, what it communicates.

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Hazrat Inayat Khan playing vina

“The voice is not only indicative of man’s character, but it is the expression of his spirit.  The voice is not only audible but also visible to those who can see it; the voice makes impressions on the ethereal spheres, impressions that can be called audible but are visible at the same time. On all planes the voice makes an impression….

“Other sounds can be louder than the voice, but no sound can be more living.  Knowing this, the Hindus of ancient times said that singing was the first art, playing the second art, and dancing the third art which make music….

“No word spoken is ever lost.  It remains and it vibrates; and it vibrates according to the spirit put into it.  If a person makes his voice artificial in order to convince people, it only means that he is not true to his spirit.  It cannot be.  It is better that one is natural in one’s speech with individuals and with the multitude than that one becomes artificial.  Very often people think that when they have to recite they must affect a different voice, become a different being, and they do not want to remain what they are.  But there is nothing more beautiful, nothing more convincing and appealing and impressive, than reciting in one’s own natural voice.”

[Excerpted from The Music of Life:  The Inner Nature and Effects of Sound, by Hazrat Inayat Khan.  (Omega Publications, 1998.)  As listed on The Basket of Tolerance by Bhagavan Adi Da Samraj.]

Questions for consideration:

  • While speaking, or reading aloud, do you ever feel a desire to hide from people, impress them, dominate them, or appear to be someone other than yourself?
  • In India, voice lessons were traditionally taught as a precondition for learning instrumental music, drumming, dance — perhaps all art forms.  Do you think finding one’s voice could benefit the way a person participates in other art forms?
  • When you communicate, or create art, what kind of effect do you think it has on the listener or viewer?

A public speaking coach once remarked that when a person speaks, only like 10% of our attention is on the words.  The rest goes to voice and body language.

Best regards,
BoT Student

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