Guest: Adrian DiMatteo
MicroBio: Adrian DiMatteo is a musician, sound healer, creator, poet, world traveler, and music therapist. He is passionate about the topic of sound and silence and how they are tools for staying true to yourself.
Talk FAST (summary)
The concept of sound and silence has the ability to expose new ways of staying true to yourself. Discover career lessons from a creative with multiple passions, and learn about meditation and sound meditation (healing) in this recap of our deep and insightful conversation.
Adrian DiMatteo is my incredibly talented younger brother! We grew up in a musical home and he always loved how sound filled our whole house growing up. Guitar became his instrument of choice and has studied music for 20 years and performed in over 40 countries. In his pursuits he’s encountered ancient cultures like Tibetan mantra, recitation, Hindu, mantra, recitation, and many more! Through his musical journey he is continuously transformed by his musical experiences and meditation.
Career Lessons from a Musician:
- We all have depth. For those who may not feel like you have a story or a purpose, I offer these words from Adrian: “I think that we all have a lot of depth in our soul right down to the very source of what it means to be alive.”
- Learn and Grow. For Adrian, the act of listening to music was the first step before making music. This makes me think of something I say, which is the importance of learning the sandbox so you can be aware of the choices you are making to play outside of it.
- Will it benefit your life in some way? When Adrian decided to go to Europe to play upright base, versus the guitar which he spent 4 years studying, he explains that: “It wasn’t the vision that I was holding for my career, but it was an experience that I just trusted was going to bring some benefit to my life.”
- Follow your intuition. Even when others were giving him contrary advice, Adrian followed his intuition.
“I trusted myself and I have nothing to regret because I didn’t fear opportunities that prevented me from following them. So, there’s a certain amount of courage and fearlessness and trust that has to go in that process. But also, in order to love myself for who I am now, that requires an embrace of everything that I’ve experienced up until now; including my childhood, including my adversaries, my obstacles, my so-called failures, my pains, my broken bones… all the things that if we hold onto them as missteps, then who we are now becomes a series of mistakes. A series of missed opportunities. A series of shortcomings. It’s impossible to love yourself if you’re full of your own projected judgments…And this is where the silencing comes in, the silencing – of the voice of self-sabotage.”
What Can We Learn from Music / Sound:
- While it may seem obvious to some – stepping back to really think about the role music plays in our life can remind us what intentionality can bring to the listening. Adrian reminded us of some of the fundamentals about what music can do:
- Music is a way of storytelling; whether you sing, play an instrument, or dance, you are telling your unique story through a creative lens through the power of music.
- Enable us to learn from different cultures and traditions and take on new perspectives.
- Hearing new sounds can create new feelings.
- Music is a language and provides a way to get exposure to other cultures and influences.
- Allow us to tap into other parts of our brain.
- Allows us to feel a point of focus.
- We discussed the question; is all music sacred? Adrian’s thoughtful response was:
“The sacred to me, it’s a state of mind that you have to be in. What is a sacred state of mind? That is the nature of the meditation of a person to discover that?
Later in the conversation he also shared that: “The sacred is what liberates us from our self-imposed, suffering and bring them closer to our understanding of nature.”
- As we decide what to listen to as part of our sonic diet, Adrian offers some of his filters such as:
- What brings me peace?
- What brings me health?
- What brings me the messages that help illuminate my consciousness?
- What will help my mind feel good?
- The medicine of sound as Adrian described is being able to communicate your thoughts with the people around you out loud rather than consciously. The medicine of silence is the ability sit with yourself in silence and do silent reflection. It allows you to be more connected to the mind and your environment.
Thoughts on silence…meditation:
- Meditation is what can enable us to be the person we are because as Adrian says: “We’re a series of belief systems that have been imposed on us since childhood and earlier, imprinted let’s say into our genetics, fear, instincts, all kinds of things that are just creating a predisposition to fear and all kinds of emotions. The opportunity becomes the ability to express the truth of your heart and not the fears that have been put on top of you.”
- Adrian warns us that “If silence is your destination, you’ll become very frustrated, attempting to reach the horizon of the world. You’re going around and around trying to reach the horizon and then, oh wait, but now the horizon is further away. So, silence is receding. Silence is a source of wisdom. We are no longer functioning in the rambling of what’s always in our head. So, silence and meditation gives us access to another voice, deeper voice.”
- For Adrian, he sees meditation like this; “The sky is clear and blue beyond the clouds always, and yet the clouds pass. And so these thoughts pass through the mind, but rather than becoming attached to them, you recognize them as impermanent and by observing them, you become one step removed by identifying with the thoughts themselves.” And so the silence in the meditation “strengthens the observer within and creates a little bit of space between the direct, instinctual, reactionary nature”.
- Adrian believes that “Meditation is not something that you just do in your bedroom when it’s comfortable and convenient for you. That’s a good place to practice. It’s a safe place to practice. And you have to trust yourself eventually that you know what meditation is; it’s a state of consciousness that I can carry with me always”.
Sound Healing vs Sound Meditation:
- Sound healing is a popular term these days, but Adrian prefers to call what he does Sound Meditation, because “healing implies that there’s something that’s already sick”.
- Adrian prefers to reference it as meditation because “we’re gonna center ourselves and concentrate. We’re gonna use the power of the consciousness to just be more present”.
- Sound meditation is helpful for creating an environment that is more conducive to silence.
- When you close your eyes and allow vibrations to take over, it creates the space for you to envision things.
- Adrian said it best when he described how music can be the meditation: “When the audience has that intention, it changes the nature of the situation, because it’s not a performer-audience relationship anymore. It’s a co-created meditative process in which healing can happen or awareness; a general connectivity through the process, synchronizing a group.”
How do you know if you’re finding silence within yourself?
- It’s an internal process and looks different for everyone.
- Here are some ways to ask about your state of consciousness:
- Am I reflecting in silence?
- Do I feel connected to my mind?
- Do I feel connected to my environment?
- Am I more present in my consciousness?
- Am I actively listening and contributing to conversations with other individuals?
- Am I able to contribute my thoughts and feelings with the people around me?
- “Effortlessness is what we bring to the process” – Adrian DiMatteo
What about inclusivity?
- For some, the title of the talk may sound exclusionary for deaf and hard of hearing communities – something we are especially in-tuned to because our mother has been working in the deaf community for her entire career. Adrian shared his thoughts on this:
- “My understanding is that vibration splits into sound and light and other forms, but both are interdependent. So in science, photons measure light beams and phonons measure sound particles, let’s say. And every single thing that vibrates produces both sound and light, including an atom. So at the atomic level sound and light are happening. This means that literally your body and the cells, your body produce sound that are not audible…Just because you can’t hear the sound doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect you – vibrations can penetrate your skin and your organs. Obviously this is not an experience that I can speak to directly, but it’s just to acknowledge that really language itself, communication concepts and the feelings that arise from them are something that are shared by both the hearing and the deaf community. So I don’t believe that the conversation excludes them.”
- We live in a world of duality as Adrian says, and what that means is we put ourselves in the middle of contrast. So what could be possible if we didn’t force ourselves into good vs bad or right vs wrong, but rather holding all of it as perfect and the water to wade through?
- Sound and silence also represent the balance of giving and receiving. Where might you be out of balance right now?
- Music education is in grave danger in this country. What message are we sending to future generations?
- Join Adrian’s Facebook page: Elements of Sound
- Read or listing to the article Adrian authored: Sonic Diet: You Are What You Hear
- Adrian’s Meditation album: While You Are Awake and Blues album: Everybody Knows the Blues
You may also enjoy:
- Meet my husband in this episode of Talk About It Tuesday: From Getting Laid Off to Let’s Go!
- Talk About It Tuesday: Loss, Limbo and Learning to Live Again, with Therapist and Certified Coach, Karen Carlucci