March 2019 Newsletter
Why Sound Is Sacred
Tibetan Buddhists believe every time a Tibetan singing bowl is sounded, it transmits the dharma, which is all of the teachings of Buddha. The chanting of the word Om represents the sound of the universe. In his books Destiny of Souls and Journey of Souls, Dr. Michael Newton describes the experiences of people under hypnosis who describe their life as souls between incarnations. Many of his subjects tell of hearing the sound of vibrational energy resonating all around them. Sound plays a role in multiple religious and spiritual traditions, from bells ringing, to choirs singing, to sacred drumming and rattling, to chants and prayers.
Sound is vibrational energy striking against our ear drums, but it's so much more. Its vibration works our way through every part of our energetic being, from the physical all the way up to the ethereal and eternal. It evokes memories, calms and uplifts spirits, and sets moods. It contains energetic information that can help balance our energy patterns and remind us of who we are when we aren't embodied. It is universal across cultures, spiritual traditions, and even species as a form of communication and communion. When you surround yourself with the energy of sound intended to bring about healing, it helps shift your own vibrational rate to a higher level. It can uplift you or ground you. It can pull you to higher spiritual realms, enhance meditations, cleanse negative energy, and so much more.
I have been drawn to sound, particularly musical sound, all of my life. I've been a musician for more than 40 years. I studied music in college and after college, and I continue to study sacred sound and sound healing. Musical sound has always been an extremely important part of my life, so it's no surprise I was drawn to sacred sound instruments as part of my healing practices. I use my sacred sound for my own meditation and healing, I teach with it in my classes, and I share it with my healing partners. I use it for cleansing, meditation, and grounding, to unstick stuck energy, to amplify weak energy, to dampen overactive energy, to connect to my higher self, to signal intention to the universe, and because I love it. For me, sound resonates more strongly than any other energy or vibration.
Sound is a vital component of vibrational energy. Finding ways to incorporate it into spiritual, meditation, and healing practices can enhance how we experience the universe.
Want to experience the healing power of sacred sound? I have two live sacred sound healing sound baths coming up, one at Vision Collective in Portland, Oregon on February 23, and one at the Oregon Ghost Conference in Seaside, Oregon at the end of March (specific day and time TBA). During a sound bath, you relax in a comfortable position with your eyes closed as I play sacred sound instruments including antique Himalayan singing bowls, modern Tibetan singing bowls, crystal singing bowls, Tibetan bells, tingshas, and chimes. Let the waves of sound sweep over you, bringing you to a relaxed, meditative, and healing state.
Image by pakktm from Pixabay
Using Your Voice for Sound Healing
Daily Singing Bowl Meditation
This daily singing bowl meditation is adapted from recommendations and a poem by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh as relayed by author Frank Perry in his book Himalayan Sound Revelations. Thich Nhat Hanh recommends performing this short meditation twice each day in the morning and in the evening, and that you view the bowl as a sacred friend who is there to help you be mindful.
You can use any type of a singing bowl, although the Himalayan bronze singing bowls are believed by Buddhist monks to transmit the frequency of OM, which is the fundamental sound of the universe and are what were originally intended for use with this meditation. Ringing or singing the bowls transmits the dharma, or the principle of cosmic order.
Here's the audio so you can hear what it sounds like:
Body, Speech, and Mind in Perfect Oneness
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Body, speech and mind in perfect oneness,
I send my heart along with the sound of the bell.
May the hearers awaken from forgetfulness
And transcend the path of anxiety and sorrow.
Those who are listening to the sound of the bell
silently recite the following gatha:
This wonderful sound brings me back
to my true home."
As we listen to the sound of the bell,
the voice of the Buddha inside,
calling each of us back to our true home,
the place of peace, tolerance and love.
Learn About Singing Bowls
Here's a demonstration of several singing bowls where I share a few different types of bowls, let you hear the tonal differences, and show you how to tell hand hammered, machine made, or antique or contemporary bowls. My dogs join in (dogs, whaddayagonnado, amiright?). Sorry about that.
Still, this is a good primer to get started. At one point I mention a singing bowl and can't remember the name of the dealer. It's Shanti Bowl. Because there are so few antique Himalayan bowls available, there are a lot of fakes. I have found a few dealers I believe to be reputable. Please contact me if you're looking for antique bowls and want the name of the few dealers I believe to be reputable. I'm sure I don't know every reputable dealer, but I do know of a few.
I also mention crystal singing bowls are silicon sand. More specifically, they are a silicon sand that is ground up quartz, heated and then molded. Most are 99.9+ percent quartz sand.
I almost always buy singing bowls by sound - so always try to get a good idea of the sound of a singing bowl and whether it is pleasing to you. If they are online, many dealers offer sound files. Make sure the sound files are for the exact bowl you are ordering, since sound frequency preference is such a personal thing. I did buy one bowl specifically because its energy attracted me (and I loved the sound), and that's the 18th century bowl I show with heavy patina.
Image by Pexels from Pixabay
These are Tibetan singing bowls made by the Shakya Clan of the Kathmadu Valley in Nepal nearly 400 years apart. One is from the 17th century and one is modern. The Shakya Clan has been making singing bowls for over 2000 years - longer than any other family in Nepal.
The bowls are made of bell metal bronze. The older bowl - on the right - plays in the note of A for the third eye chakra while the modern bowl - on the left - plays the note of D for the sacral chakra.
It takes four members of the clan up to 40 hours to make smaller bowls and up to 1,200 hours to make larger bowls. As they hammer the bowl, they chant sacred mantras to infuse the bowls with energy. They never know what note the bowl will sound until it reveals itself when it is complete.
I found the bowls in a little shop in Old Town San Diego called Gum Saan Land of the Golden Mountain. The owner, Casey, is a sound healer who is passionate about his work. He travels to Nepal to hand select items for his shop, including each of the bowls. I saw video of modern bowls being made by the clan - and it is amazing.
If you happen to be in Old Town San Diego, I highly recommend stopping to see Casey at Land of the Golden Mountain and seeing all the treasures he brings back. He is knowledgable and passionate about what he does.
Balance Chakra Energy
There are a number of ways to work sound healing into your life, from using mantras to working with singing bowls.
One method I like because it is so affordable is the solfeggio. There are six main solfeggio frequencies that roughly correspond with chakras. They are as follows:
396 Hz - can help you work with guilt and fear
417 Hz - can help you to make changes in your life
528 Hz - is said to be the solfeggio of DNA repair, and can help you work with transformation
639 Hz - this is the relationship solfeggio
741 Hz - is the solfeggio of intuition and can help you awaken psychic energy and connection to your higher self
852 Hz - this is the solfeggio of spirituality and connection with the Divine.
I really like Glenn Harold's solfeggio apps for smartphones, which have guided meditation and really beautiful solfeggio based music, and they are pretty affordable.
Another affordable sound/vibrational healing tools is the tuning fork. There are two types of tuning forks - weighted (like the two on the far left in the image) and unweighted. In general, weighted tuning forks have a better resonance for physical ailments, while unweighted tend to work better with mental and spiritual. Tuning forks resonate with various chakras. To use them, strike the tuning fork on the tines with a mallet and hold it by the handle near the chakra/area you are trying to affect, allowing the vibration to die out on its own.
C/C# - First chakra
D/D# - Second chakra
E - Third chakra
F/F# - Fourth chakra
G/G# - Fifth chakra
A/A# - Sixth chakra
B - Seventh chakra
Singing bowls are another excellent method for creating vibrational healing through sound. You can purchase either brass or crystal singing bowls. The brass bowls are more affordable (and less fragile) than the crystal singing bowls, but the crystal singing bowls are louder with a more powerful vibration and a clearer tone. To play the bowls, you can ring them by striking with a mallet or by running a mallet around the outer edge of the bowl, causing it to ring. Allow the ringing to dissipate naturally. Like tuning forks (see yesterday's post), different tones can tune different chakras.
Mantras and Chanting
Another way to use sound for healing is through chanting of mantras, such as om mani padme hum (written in the image), which is a traditional Buddhist mantra. You can also chant Om, which is the sacred sound of the universe, or use single syllables for each of the chakras. The chakra mantras are:
First chakra - Lam
Second chakra - Vam
Third chakra - Ram
Fourth chakra - Yam
Fifth chakra - Ham
Sixth chakra -Om
Seventh chakra - silence
Here's a guide to pronunciation: http://www.gnspy.org/accurate_pronuncia…/_chakras__n343.html
The Power of Music
In any discussion of sound for healing, it's important not to underestimate the power of music. If you're feeling down, listen to music that uplifts you and makes you feel happy. You've probably heard about the experiments Masaru Emoto did with water crystals where he exposed them to words, thoughts, and music. If not, you can check out some of the images in the link and see how sounds and thoughts can manifest physically, and how the way we think about and talk to ourselves is incredibly important for our physical, spiritual, and emotional health. It's fascinating research complete with images worth checking out. If thoughts and sounds can do that to water, what can it do to the human body (which is, after all, at least 50 percent water)?