SOUNDING A NOTE INTO THE UNIVERSE
Jump to a topic:
What is Sound?
What is Music?
What is Color?
What Are Energy Centers (chakras)?
What is Healing?
What is Sound Healing?
What is Crystal?
What Are Crystal Singing Bowls?
What is Intention?
How To Use Crystal Singing Bowls
Hearing the haunting sound of the
crystal bowls seems to awaken an ancient remembering, touching the
essence of the soul. How can we explain what it is? Is it the crystal
from which the bowls are made? Is it a refrain from the ethers? Is it
our connection with the source of our creation?
Let’s explore a few questions.
Undoubtedly, more questions will arise for you, inspiring you into
your own study of sound and vibrational healing.
What is sound?
Everything that moves vibrates, from
the smallest molecule to the universe itself. As long as it is
vibrating, it is making some kind of sound. We may not perceive the
sound, as it may be below or above the threshold of our hearing. The
human ear can hear sound vibrations between 20 and 20,000 cycles per
second, although we also perceive sound by skin and bone conduction,
ingesting and consuming it with the whole body.
Many cultures and religions revere
sound so deeply as to believe it called the universe into being. For
the Hindus, all was dark and quiet in the universe, until the first
movement in the universe created the sound "AUM". It is the mother
tone, containing the frequencies of all other sounds.
Scientific studies show that sound
can produce changes in the autonomic, immune, endocrine and
neuropeptide systems. Every atom, molecule, cell, gland, and organ of
the human body absorbs and emits sound. The entire body, as well as
our brain waves in a relaxed state, vibrates at a fundamental
frequency of about 8 cycles per second, literally entraining and
attuning us to the basic electromagnetic field of the earth itself!
The late Dr. Hans Jenny, a Swiss
scientist, rendered vibrations into physical forms, using sand, iron
filings, and other materials, creating a multitude of kaleidoscopic
images. This study of patterns and shapes is called cymatics.
Many modern scientists and doctors
are translating this work into medical practice. Mitchell Gaynor,
M.D., director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine at the
Strang-Cornell Cancer Prevention Center, and author of the new book,
Sounds of Healing, uses crystal bowls and Tibetan bowls in his
practice with cancer patients. He chronicles a thorough study of
sound healing and a holistic approach to mind-body healing.
Dr. Gaynor refers to others who are
using sound to complement their medical practice. Among them are Sir
Peter Guy Manners, M.D., an English osteopath, who uses cymatic
therapy to achieve a near-ideal metabolic state in a cell or organ
and Jeffrey Thompson, D.C., who practices a technique called "Sonic
Induction Therapy", using primordial sounds and sounds of nature to
promote healing at the cellular level.
What is music?
Music is organized sound. Virtually
all cultures have used the powers of music therapeutically. For
several hundred years, the role of music became one of entertainment.
Only recently has the use of sound and music reappeared as a valuable
healing mode in our western culture. Some of the most powerful music
does not have a particularly pleasing melody. The goal of music
therapy is to reduce stress and pain, promote deep relaxation,
develop self-awareness and creativity, improve learning, and clarify
What is color?
"There is more energy released in
Sunrise and Sunset and times of rainbows than perhaps in any other
way." Ronald P. Beesley, Creative Ethers
Sound and color are both forms of
energy, which vibrate. As the vibration of sound becomes higher and
lighter, the sound is transmuted into color. Steven Halpern gave a
graphic example of the sound/color relationship:
"…vibrations at 1000 cycles per
second are easily audible. If you double the vibrations to 2000
cycles per second, that is one octave higher. If you double it again
to 4000 cycles per second, that is another octave. A normal piano
spans a bit more than seven octaves. If, hypothetically, we could
extend the piano keyboard another 35 to 50 octaves higher, the keys
at the higher end would produce colors, rather than audible sounds,
when played." (Sound Health-The Music and Sound That Makes
Us Whole, p. 182-183).
An interesting side note is that if
we were playing this keyboard 35 or so octaves below audible sound,
we would be playing Chi, life force energy!
What are chakras?
As the universe is composed of
spinning wheels of energy, we too, at the inner core, spin seven
wheel-like energy centers called chakras. They are measurable
patterns of electromagnetic activity, centers for the reception,
assimilation and transmission of life energies. Each chakra reflects
essential aspects of consciousness, forming the master programs that
govern our lives, loves, learning and illumination. Anodea Judith, in
her book Wheels of Life, delivers a comprehensive treatise
that is scientific, cultural, psychological, and esoteric. She
"Chakras can be open, closed or any
of the various stages in between. These states may be basic aspects
of someone’s personality throughout most of their life, or something
that changes from moment to moment, in response to a situation. An
ailing chakra may be unable to change its state easily, being "stuck"
in either an open or a closed state. Then the chakra needs healing,
by uncovering and removing whatever is blocking it." p. 23
"…the seven major chakras are all
inseparably interrelated. A block in the functioning of one chakra
may affect the activity of the one above or below it. For example,
one may have trouble with personal power (third chakra) because of a
block in communication (fifth chakra) or vice versa. Or perhaps the
real problem may lie in their heart (fourth chakra) and only
manifests in these other areas because it is buried so deeply. In
examining the theoretical System as a whole…and applying it to your
system (lower case) as it uniquely occurs within you, one learns to
sort out these subtleties and patterns and make self-improvements
according to their goals." p.25
There are times when we desire our
chakras to be open, when we are receiving information or healing.
There are also times, as when we are in traffic, that we want some of
them to be closed!
Color is visible sound, and sound is
auditory color. Both light and sound affect the chakras, especially
when used in conjunction. Each of the energy centers is associated
with a specific tone of the musical scale and with a specific color.
Red, the color that vibrates the slowest, corresponds to the root
chakra. The colors follow a rainbow progression, with violet as the
highest vibration, corresponding with the crown chakra.
Following is a simple
of chakras, colors and notes.
1 st Root
Base of spine
3rd Solar Plexus
6th Third Eye
Top of Head
What is healing?
Healing is the state of coming
into balance and harmony with our highest purpose. Steven Halpern,
composer of healing music states:
"Our bodies are
genetically pre-programmed to be self-healing instruments-if we give
them a chance…In my opinion, certain music heals by assisting the
body to come into its natural state of balance and harmony. At this
stage of research and development, it is both politically incorrect
and legally irresponsible to state that a specific selection of music
will heal a specific physical disease. …The common denominator in the
vast majority of approaches acknowledges that the body heals itself
most effectively in a state of deep relaxation. Using music to evoke
"the relaxation response" is one of the simplest and most effective
ways of all-but you must choose the right music… our responses to
music are far more complex, subtle and far-reaching than we
imagined." (Notes on Sound,
Dr. Larry Dossey, well known for
his studies on healing with prayer, points out the primary
characteristics of "healers" by stating that they make use of a
prayerful, meditative state of awareness, adopting a dispassionate,
loving, and compassionate attitude toward the person in need. They go
beyond the individual self-feeling united with each other and with
the All. They have an immense caring and empathy for the person
"During this state the healer most
often does not consider himself or herself to be the source of the
healing, but only a conduit through which the healing flows from a
higher power". (Healing Words, p.198)
What is sound healing?
When an organ or body part is
healthy, it creates a natural resonant frequency in harmony with the
rest of the body. When the vibration of a part of the body is out of
harmony, we have dis-ease. With dis-ease, a different sound pattern
is established in the affected part of the body. When sound is
projected into the dis-eased area, correct harmonic patterns are
There are many methods of healing
with sound. Mantras and chants have been used for thousands of years.
Many acoustic instruments are used in a variety of ways to effect
change. The human voice is perhaps the most powerful musical
Fabien Maman, in his book The
Role of Music in the Twenty-First Century, gives dramatic
accounts of the effects of sound on cancer cells, using various
acoustic instruments and notes, as well as the human voice. He has
incorporated the use of sound, color and movement in his work,
addressing the subtle bodies, where dis-ease is created.
What is crystal?
Crystals are fossilized water,
formed when water combines with an element under certain conditions
of pressure, temperature and energy. As a crystal, the element is
able to express itself as a more unified and ordered being.
Silica sand, combined with water
becomes quartz crystal. Quartz crystals have many physical
properties. They amplify, transform, store, focus, and transfer
energy. We see the results in microphones, radio and television
equipment, timepieces, laser tools, and computers to name a few.
Our bodies, too, are crystalline in
structure. When working with crystals, there may be profound effects
on the organs, tissues, and cells, as well as the circulatory,
endocrine, and metabolic systems.
Thoughts are energy forms. When
thought energy interacts with a crystal, those thoughts are changed
to more harmonic forms, which change brainwave frequencies, showing
possible alterations in consciousness. Thus, the power of positive
intention or affirmation combined with the use of crystals provides
remarkable healing results.
What are crystal
Crystal bowls are made from 99.992%
pure crushed quartz and heated to about 4000 degrees in a centrifugal
They are available in clear or
frosted bowls in a variety of sizes, ranging from 6 to 24 inches in
diameter. The bowls emit a powerful, pure resonance. The larger bowls
are much more reverberant, with the tone lingering longer, simply
because of the size and amount of crystal. The clear bowls, somewhat
more expensive, are more readily available in smaller sizes.
The size of the bowl does not
necessarily determine its note, although the larger bowls sound lower
octaves and notes. Each bowl is tested with digital technology to
identify its sound. One will have a sense of which tone "feels" most
congruent with individual needs or desires. The notes, C, D, E, F, G,
A, B correspond with one’s energy centers or chakras.
Some bowls harmonize with other
bowls, and when both are played simultaneously, the effect is
exquisite and synergistic.
What is intention?
As thoughtforms are energy, the
intention with which one approaches healing work is of utmost
importance. Intention is a clearly formed thought, a prayer of sorts,
and is the real healer. Of course, group intention is even more
Jonathan Goldman, in a letter to
Renee Brodie, writes:
"…Perhaps because we are all unique
vibratory beings, our chakras may all resonate to different
frequencies depending upon our level of development (physical,
emotional, mental and spiritual) and our intention. Indeed, it seems
that if our intention is clear enough, we can balance or activate
chakras with intent alone.
Thus, any sound might be useful for
chakra resonance when coupled with clear intention. This may account
for a number of existing systems which utilize different notes for
the chakras and work."
It is said that Tibetan singing
bowls are forged with a prayer in every hammer blow, infusing them
with a million prayers of pure intention for the highest good.
Crystal bowls, too, containing the
qualities of amplification, storage, transfer, and transformation,
are powerful tools in effecting change in one’s life. It is important
to approach the use of the bowls with a reverence for the potential
contained in combining intention with the properties of crystal.
How to use crystal
One should "clear" the bowl, using
whatever methods are used for clearing other crystals.
An invocation at the beginning of a
session helps create sacred space and affirms intention.
Using the bowls in combination with
voice or other instruments is dynamic and very effective
Fabien Maman, in Healing With
Sound, Color and Movement, p. 69 suggests setting up the bowls in
harmonic fifths for healing in the subtle bodies as illustrated
Renee Brodie, who uses crystal bowls
and color therapy in her healing practice, is the author of the book
The Healing Tones of Crystal Bowls, 1996. She has studied
exhaustively and makes reference to the history as well as the
leading research in sound and color therapy. She offers several
suggestions on using crystal bowls. She has also created a CD and
audiotape entitled The Healing Tones of Crystal Bowls: A Journey
Through The Chakras To Heal Yourself With Sound and Colour. She
offers many suggestions for uses of the bowls.
Rubber-ball mallets or suede-covered
wands are used to sound the bowls. The effect of each is different,
and personal preference will determine the choice.
One should strike the outside of the
bowl, in an upright position, giving about half the length of the
wand to the bowl surface near the top rim, then "follow the sound
around the bowl, " with the wand or mallet, enhancing the duration
and loudness of the tone.
Each practitioner has a unique style
of sounding the bowls. Some will move the wand or mallet clockwise
for specific intentions, while others prefer a counter-clockwise
motion, or a combination.
No medical claims are made about the
use of crystal bowls to replace the need for medical advice.
If you experience any health
problems you should always consult your regular physican.
Do not place a person’s head inside
a crystal bowl while playing it.
Do not strike or play bowl too
loudly, especially near a person’s head.
Place bowls at least 12 inches
apart, or the vibration may shatter a bowl.
Bowls may also shatter if several
are playing in a small room.
Some have noted discomfort or pain
if they have metal pins or stainless steel balljoints. Ask before
sounding the bowl.
"Let us …remember that although to
all outward appearances, music seems to be over as soon as the last
chord has sounded and the celebrants have dispersed, this is not the
case. It has also been created on a subtle plane and remains like an
exquisite flower hovering over the sanctuary. No musical vibrations
are ever lost, even though they are dispersed, they will go on
vibrating through the cosmos for eternity, because the subtle effects
of sound linger after the audible sound has died out, so that any
results are long-lasting." The Healing Tones of Crystal Bowls,
Renee Brodie, p. 48
Prepared by Sarah Rose, c1999