There was a lovely, warm and kindly old guy who used to work the cash desk at the petrol (gas) station up the road from where I lived in London back in the late 70s, so we're talking pre-history, who had a vocal tick. He used to hum continuously between syllables and words. It was as if his words emerged from the primordial ocean of hum. And though at first it was a bit disorientating and required paying extra attention to distinguish between syllable and hum, the tone of the hum was so relaxing – similar to a cat purring, which I'm sure is why he'd fallen into the habit in the first place, I used to find excuses to walk up the street and buy bits and pieces I didn't really need, making sure to engage him in as far-ranging conversation as possible just to stand there and feel the relaxation.
I'm reminded of it because being in the thick of the final stages of the relatively heroic mission of producing all the vocals for Volume Three of AMPED – THE MIRACLE (and to my humble eye and ear it definitely seems like one), for which I've been doubling down on my daily vocal exercises and remembering the advice of one of my voice coaches back in the days of singing in my band at the time, before a big gig, to walk around humming while you're setting up and so on both to relax the vocal chords and the person in general.
So I've been humming a lot – a low monotone like an OM without the O, and thinking of the humming guy and then thinking of you and telling you all about it.
Not that I'd wish to encourage you necessarily to acquire a vocal tick, even though you'd inadvertently be doing a lot of good to a lot of people as you went about on your daily rounds, in helping them to relax, but if you were to adopt the hum as a daily practice even just for a couple of minutes or so, while engaged in any sort of menial tasks, for instance, even walking round the supermarket, which I find the perfect venue for it, bearing in mind it's not a loud or noisy hum, I think you'd find the calming, centring effect most helpful.
Especially if while in the hum-flow, you also pay attention to gathering your person in the back of you, mind resting against the rear wall of the skull, whence to bear witness with equanimity to life going on within and without, and thus maintain a clear focus, while simultaneously letting the sound encourage a downward flow of energy from your head into your lower belly and kidney region.
What's actually interesting is to note your initial resistance to doing it. As if humming will be a great exertion, or possibly remove you from the important adult business of negotiating reality. Whereas in fact, as you'll see as soon as you let go and hum - now for instance – it requires no exertion and in fact, even enhances your focus and capacity for paying attention to the task at hand.
The hum – you heard it hear first.
So thanks to the humming guy.
May this humble hum bring you beautiful sensations of ease and connection with the ocean of hum and all there is that informs your activity and experience with unexpected delight.