Photo by  Anna Sodziak

Photo by Anna Sodziak

Do I want to be “Catherine Aldana Sager” or “Catherine Balina Sager” or “Catherine Balina Aldana Sager??” “Well, what sounds better?” I ask, then immediately judge myself for being so shallow. I have to choose what I want to change my name to once I get married. What’s in a name anyway? Why do I even care? I once learned that the universe is made of sound, up until recently, I never really related to this idea, but I’m starting to understand.

Dr. Hans Jenny, a Swiss medical doctor and natural scientist in the 1950s introduced the study of wave phenomena or Cymatics. He made it possible to physically see the subtle, powerful way through which sound structures matter. There’s a beautiful video Nigel Stanford made in 2014 that captures this phenomenon perfectly. In yoga today, it is not uncommon to see yoga classes accompanied by live music or DJs, or studios hosting special gong washes and sound healing therapies. And of course there’s the popular “Om” or “AUM,” a special sound often chanted in classes as well. People may attend sound healing events or practice chanting because they find it healing, or fun, or they love music. The study of yoga and sound is so vast. “AUM” is actually the sound of the universe (creepy video). AUM translates to all possibilities and all probabilities. Any word or sound you can make is encompassed in the sound “AUM.” The “A” is pronounced “Ah” like in “America.” The sound “Ah” comes from the very back of your throat. Feel it, say it. The “U” in AUM is pronounced “Oh” like in “home.” When you say this part of the word AUM, it takes place in the very center of your mouth. The “M” is pronounced “Mmm” as in “Mmm that tastes good!!” “Mmm” takes place at your lips, at the grossest level you can produce a sound (“gross” as in the most absolute/apparent, not gross as in disgusting or sick, ok come on). Linguistically, every sound you could possibly create is produced when you chant AUM - starting at the back of your throat, through the center of your mouth, ending at your lips. Clearly, there’s a scientific & powerful significance to the way my name sounds and the vibration it creates, aka I’m just as important as I thought I was.

In Sanskrit, one of the oldest languages, “Nada Brahma” roughly translates to “The world is sound.” I understand this as sound is everything and all I have. I’m inspired to reflect upon the deeper meaning of choosing my name. I believe that as humans we create our own universe, and if the universe is made of sound then whatever I call myself better be the most incredible and beautiful sound there ever was. I give meaning to what is real and important in my life, in this case, my name and the vibration it sends. How epic is “Beyonce” or “Madonna” or “Chanel” these sounds were meant to be heard!! And so is mine.