Audio Divina: For Tony Held-Bell, Earbuds Become An Aid to Meditation

SANTA CRUZ, CA—“My life sometimes seems like a tangled mess,” writes Tony Held-Bell, popular spiritual author, blogger, and self-coach, in a viral post Tuesday. “I long to hear a soothing song of peace, but when I reach into my pocket of faith, I find a jumble of cords bound up in a knot.”

Held-Bell explains stumbling on the idea of using his earbuds as something of a prayer labyrinth while sipping on a soy chai latte one morning last February. “As I found myself getting more and more frustrated trying to untangle them, I realized that the problem was me.”

“At one end, I’m a duality. The part of me that is separated tends to get twisted up and disordered. I find that the solution is like unwinding a journey that leads me to a singularity, a shining golden stem that plugs me into the source of a truly healing song I call empythry.”

“Hogwash. Twaddle. Horsefeathers. Hokum, hooey, poppycock!” reacted John Philson, executive director of Grace R Us Ministries, via Facebook, further noting that he nearly choked on his balut as he set down a needle on the vinyl of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (as recorded by the Society of Excruciatingly Authentic Period Instruments) upon reading Held-Bell’s “wacked-out drivel.” Philson subsequently placed himself on leave in order to keep himself from providing further commentary.

Held-Bell was reflective and unphased in a subsequent tweet. “I’m only interested in new ways of opening up further conversation, even as I plug my ears to keep from hearing what’s going on outside.”