Julie Henderson – The Hum Book (2003)
Over the last twenty-eight years, I have been lucky enough to meet and study with a number of extraordinary teachers, both Western scientists and Tibetan lamas. Most of my Tibetan teachers are from the Nyingma and Drukpa Kargyu lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, which are called the “practice lineages”. They come at learning quite differently than we usually do in the West. They prefer not to explain things to you before you practice them. Instead of telling you in advance what you can expect, what the exercise is for, and what effects you should look for, they will instead give you one initial bit of instruction, often quite cryptic(1). Then they will say, “Go away and do that, come back in a month or so and tell me what you notice.” When you come back-always assuming you do-they give you the next piece of the puzzle. The piece they give you depends on what you have experienced in the intervening time and how you have understood it. This is called learning through practice rather than by conceptualization or analysis. Zapchen is also a practice lineage in its own odd way, and I recommend that you hum without expectation and notice what happens.
If you care to try humming before you go any further in the book, then you can come and go from your own direct experience of humming to this information, in whatever ways help you to easy, confident humming.
To get started, find for yourself a place you feel safe. Get comfortable, then get more comfortable. Make a soft, unpushed hum that goes more inside than outside. Let it flow down through your body easily and without effort. Rest some, then later hum some more and notice what happens to your experience of yourself and of being(2).