Yeah, I don't have that many- but I do have one. An observation that came as I was working with someone on the Soundweaver recently. Holding a sort of witness consciousness, watching as my hands slowly came into their energy field, gently resting on either side of their head and after some minutes very slowly, almost imperceptibly releasing, hands moving away in slow motion. Moving to the next place on the body I was called to. Could have been the heart, the solar plexus, the knees, the feet, one shoulder or the other- or both. Listening, observing, waiting, letting go, moving on. What is happening in these subtle delicate moments- these listening moments which are full of power, intention and awareness?
At some point during the session I wrote this note: "The trick is to match the client's energy and hang out with it til a total synergy is apparent- then LEAN INTO IT- gently- enough to allow their energy/physiology to shift."
In other words, you hang out until you become ONE with their energy. No pushing, no forcing, being fully present- WITH INTENTION. Using a sound analogy, it is the difference between crashing a mallet against a gong so that the volume is almost unbearable and a shock to the system, or playing the gong so that the sound slowly builds, as if you are coaxing the sound forth and allowing the waves to wash over the listeners and then to recede like waves on the shore.
I used Estas Tonne today for my inspiration and therapy while I was doing some stuff in the kitchen. I wanted to escape but there were things I needed to complete on. Once I put this music on I was captivated and happy to be right where I was.
Today I was inspired to create a workshop to usher in the new year- Sacred Sound & Visions for New Year. It is completely last minute. Today is Tuesday. The workshop is Saturday. The 11th hour, as they say... but it was one of those ideas that grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let me go. In my experience those are the ones that generally manifest the most magnificently! (You will find a description of the workshop and the link to sign up if you click here.)
The vision that came to me around the workshop is to begin by offering a healing sound meditation- a circle of sacred sound if you will. That will be the vehicle for people to journey and see what arises in their consciousness- a vision quest of sorts. Sound is the carrier wave for intention. That is why it has been used in healing ceremonies and rituals for so many thousands of years.
Once the intentions have been set the participants will create vision boards to affirm and reinforce their intentions, putting into concrete form images that represent, ultimately, not just what they want or where they would like to travel or the new car of their dreams, but how they want to feel.
One of my favorite passages in A Course in Miracles comes under the heading "Setting the Goal" in Chapter 17. One of the things I love most about it is the point that in all things the ultimate goal should be truth.
"The value of
deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will
perceive the situation as a means to make it happen. You
will therefore make every effort to overlook what interferes with the
accomplishment of your objective, and concentrate on everything that
helps you meet it. It is quite noticeable that this approach has
brought you closer to the Holy Spirit's sorting out of truth and
falsity. The true becomes what can be used to meet the goal. The
false becomes the useless from this point of view. The situation now
has meaning, but only because the goal has made it meaningful.
5 "The goal of
truth has further practical advantages. If the situation is used for
truth and sanity, its outcome must be peace. And this is quite apart
from what the outcome is. If peace is the condition of truth
and sanity, and cannot be without them, where peace is they must be.
Truth comes of itself. If you experience peace, it is because the
truth has come to you and you will see the outcome truly, for
deception cannot prevail against you. You will recognize the outcome
because you are at peace. Here again you see the opposite of
the ego's way of looking, for the ego believes the situation
brings the experience. The Holy Spirit knows that the situation is as
the goal determines it, and is experienced according to the goal."
I just spent an hour on a sound table listening to the album Pagan Saints by Flesh & Bone, a beautiful collaboration between Peter Kater & David Darling. I say listening- which I was, but you must understand that "listening", on a sound table, means not only hearing the music with your ears but experiencing it as a vibrotactile sensation as the music resonates through the whole body. In this moment I am enjoying the resulting quietness of my being. My mind has slowed down. I feel calm and present to my Self.
The experience of vibroacoustic therapy is, in and of itself, both profound and incredibly enjoyable. The vibrations of the music pulsing through the body drop you into a deep state of relaxation very quickly. Different music obviously has very different effects- some music will take you far away and you lose all bodily awareness and sense of time and place very quickly. Other music will be a more kinesthetic experience and you may be very present to the physical sensation of the musical rhythms and vibrations.
Vibroacoustic sound therapy affects the bioenergetic system on all levels. Intention can be a huge factor as well. The sound is delivered to the body not just through the ears but also (and primarily) through skin and bone conduction (tissue conduction). Given that the body is composed of 60-70% water, which is one of the best conductors of sound, there is a powerful somatic response. I have facilitated and observed hundreds of vibroacoustic sound healing sessions and the first response typically happens within 45- 90 seconds. The body of the person on the table seems to suddenly sink in as they let go and relax effortlessly. Remember, the music is literally massaging every cell in the body so this goes much deeper than physical touch.
Physical touch is a powerful complement to this therapy however. When the first wave of sound hits it can potentially be disconcerting or disorienting especially for someone who has never experienced it before. When the therapist and client together are joined in an intention, the work is that much more powerful and a light touch may be all that is needed to reassure the person on the table that they are in a safe space. There is also a synergistic blend of sound and energy that occurs with hands-on work that enhances and deepens the whole experience.
I have been feeling distracted by technology lately- too much time on the computer and the phone. I find it compelling and somewhat addictive but not always pleasant. Meanwhile I have so many tools at my fingertips that I can use to create more peace in my life and have been asking myself lately why I do not use them more. Today I decided when I got home, before I did anything else, to just lie down on the sound table for a while. What a shift! My mind feels more clear, more focused and on some level less frantic, although I don't think of myself as frantic.
I feel like now I can sit and just enjoy being, instead of doing, doing, doing and chasing after the instant gratification of the technology I have at my fingertips.
Today as I was looking through photos for my new flyer I began studying pictures of sound healing sessions I have done with Himalayan metal singing bowls. It is quite an experience working in this way with the bowls. All the bowls I use and sell are antique bowls, 200 to 400 years old. What I discovered very early on is that bowls seem to have an "intelligence". When I go to set them up around the body they seem to "tell me" first of all which ones want to be played and also where to place them. I have come to think of this as different "layouts" in much the same way as a tarot card reader does different layouts with the cards, depending on the situation. I have never done two sessions with the bowls laid out in the same way. And as you can see from the above video and from the pictures below, sometimes in the course of a session as things begin to clear the bowls then need to be moved around to move on to the next step in harmonizing the energies.
One woman I worked with wanted help in dealing with jet lag as she flew across the coutnry every week for her job. In the beginning of the session the bowls were placed very close around the physical body. As the energies began to clear the bowls moved further and further out (with my assistance!) until they took the shape of the giant angel wings around her body.
Sometimes many bowls are placed around the body- sometimes only a few. Because I sell the bowls, I have access to quite a few but one bowl can be very powerful. The truth is you can do a very effective session with only one bowl if you know how to play it properly. There is technique and subtlety to the approach, and if you listen to the bowl it will guide you.
Good bowls, particularly the older ones, produce at least two to three audible tones at one time and many more subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) harmonics. Depending on the striker- or as Sister Dang Nhiem calls them "inviters", for we are inviting the sound of the bowl- you can coax many different sounds out of the bowl. The intervals between the tones of one bowl (the number of spaces between the notes) are the interval of a fifth, which has the effect of balancing the right and left hemispheres of the brain. When this occurs the most natural response is to effortlessly enter into a state of meditation. Thus by the nature of their sound the bowls set up a perfect environment for healing because the entire nervous system almost instantly shifts into a state of deep relaxation.
Perhaps you are listening to the opening video while you are reading
this. When you are done reading I suggest you go back and start the
video over and just listen. Don't bother about watching it- it's really
not that interesting other than watching as the bowls begin to be moved
around! But the audio is surprisingly good given the camera I recorded
it with and you can hear the pulsing of the tones at times which entrain
the brainwaves to an alpha or theta state, slowing everything down.
Just sit and close your eyes, or keep them open- whatever feels right
for you, and observe what happens for you as you listen to the tones.
Don't bother trying to relax- you won't have to try! There is a
physiological response that is occurring automatically and activating
the parasympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of the relaxation
Once you drop into this deep state change can happen on a very deep level. The key is always intention. Get clear about what you want- what you want to let go of, what you would like to integrate more fully. You simply clear the path so you can see where you want to go and then let go and allow. The transformation happens very naturally. Sound is beautiful in the way that it flows much like water. It will go just where it's needed, feeding and nourishing all those spaces that are in need of healing.
Missed a day of blogging yesterday due to internet being down. Today, prepared for blizzard! Picked up a little extra wood yesterday just in case power goes out. Sitting with a cup of sake, wood stove going, jigsaw puzzle on the kitchen table and musical instruments- guitar, banjo, harmonium, tamboura, crystal and Tibetan singing bowls- all around.
Have had some lovely sonic experiences over the last two days. Last night I went to a fundraiser for Sandywoods Center for the Arts in Tiverton. Six different bands- unfortunately I missed the first one, Bluebird Orchestra, but all who followed were great. The last one was Willard Grant Conspiracy- absolutely knocked me out.
Singer/guitarist Robert Fisher and viola player Dave Curry- I was left speechless... Haunting, atmospheric, breathtaking, and deeply moving... A quiet backdrop of slides with desert landscape and poetry. At one point Robert stopped after a few bars of a song and tuned his guitar. I observed him- I could almost say I studied him- in that process as he very quietly, with absolute focus and precision, tuned each string and I saw how deeply he listened. (Yes, I'm back to that again- deep listening- such a beautiful healing practice.) Description of Dave Curry's playing that I found on their website "Live and on record,
Curry makes every note sound as if it is the first time it has been
played; he embodies the concept of always being present and reacting to
the moment. It is a roller coaster of twists and turns that keeps the
listener on the edge of their seat." Pretty accurate. I don't have anything I could add to that. I was sitting in the back of the room because I had met a friend who had her 3 month old baby with her. As the set progressed I kept moving up, closer and closer, and at the end of each song I would be sitting there stunned, literally with my jaw hanging open- one after the other. Suffice to say, they blew my mind in the best way possible. Today was (and still is until midnight!) World Sound Healing Day. I got up early and went into Newport to lead a chanting group. We started off listening to a short explanation of the global intention and focus directing the sound of "AH" from the heart to the planet and then we all toned together along with the sound of a Tibetan bowl. After we intoned the "AH" to Mother Gaia I asked if anyone would like to share anything about their experience. One woman said that she had an awareness that "Her heart is beating and it's so full of love." She was deeply moved. What she said really struck a chord in me and I realized in that moment that that is the most powerful awareness. When we think about healing the earth, if we can focus on the heart oflove, rather than the pain, the suffering, the damage we have inflicted on her, that the effect will be so much more powerful. When we are in need of healing we often have to do whatever it takes to sidestep or get out of the pain and focus on the deeper awareness that is beyond the body. Often that is enough to affect a physical healing the body and in fact can sometimes produce what seems to be a miracle of healing in what looks like a hopeless situation. Our mind, aligned with our intention, is by far the most powerful tool that we have.
One last Valentine's gift- a few years ago when I had my sound healing center I made this video for Valentine's Day. Enjoy!
A whirlwind of "soundy thoughts" going through my head. Spent so long working on my new flyer today that I actually thought I had blogged already! I see some things that still need tweaking. More refinement when I am done with this short update...
Saturday, February 14, as well as being Valentine's Day, is also World Sound Healing Day, an event initiated by world renowned sound healer Jonathan Goldman in 2002. I am still feeling slightly disheveled in my new pad, even though it looks and feels great so I hadn't set up an event here to join in. I gratefully accepted an invitation to lead a chanting group in Newport, Rhode Island on Saturday morning where we will start off by toning the heart sound "AH" along with hundreds of thousands of other people across the globe who will be sending a Sonic Valentine to Mother Gaia. The global intention is to heal Mother Gaia, her waters and raise the consciousness of all beings on the planet. We will follow this with an hour or more of toning, chanting and kirtan.
I am so happy to be able to do this as we did it every year when I had
the center and I have taken a couple of years off due to major life
changes. I feel like I'm getting back in the saddle- and it's a saddle
that feels like Home!
Several organizations are involved in measuring the effect of prayer, meditation and other spiritual activities on the electromagnetic field of the earth as well as the consciousness of her people by gathering statistics on the numbers of violent crime at specific times across the globe. To see some interesting information on this, click on this link: http://www.healingsounds.com/world-sound-healing-day-4
Earlier this year I received a sound healing session from a friend. She didn't want any money for it. She said she had been guided by Spirit to offer these sessions free of charge. It was quite a lovely session, very powerful and beautiful. The word "transcendent" comes to mind because it really lifted me out of my body and carried me to another dimension. It didn't change my life. It did add to my experience and wonder of the ability of sound to transport us to other realms and realities and remind me again of why I so love this work. The curious element was the discussion that followed and her very strong stance that it is wrong to charge money for the sacred work of sound healing.
The day before yesterday I took my last $100, which I had been saving to buy stocking stuffers for my family and paid the electric bill at my sound healing center, which was due to get shut off. While I was out doing that the internet service was disabled for nonpayment. So, I have sound and money on my mind.
Part of what was put forth in the aforementioned discussion by the woman who gave the session was the idea of trust. Specifically she said, "What ever happened to the idea of trust? That if we do the work Spirit will take care of our needs?" Apparently for her it does. I have no idea whether she has other employment- a "day job". My day job is putting all my effort, energy and time into running a sound healing center, trusting that I am doing the right thing, and that even on what sometimes looks like the thinnest of shoe strings (like this week!) that my needs and the needs of the center will be taken care of!
I confess that I am feeling defensive right now and irritated at the implication that charging money for my sound healing sessions suggests a lack of trust. Or that money is inherently "dirty" and soils whatever (and whoever) it touches. Interestingly I spent years undoing my own belief that "money is bad". So maybe for me this whole conversation was actually reflecting that back to me, inviting me to look at that old belief again to see if I have really healed it. (Judging by my bank account, maybe I have a little more work to do!)
I have had a sound healing center in Florida for almost 6 years- the Sound Body Wholistic Health Center in St. Petersburg. I had no money when I decided to open the center. (You say "Well, you must have had some." No, I had none!) It was initiated by clear direction from Spirit and is continually supported by love, prayers of gratitude and an abundance of TRUST. Financial support and and sufficient income have been sorely lacking and every month that I am able to come up with the rent seems to be a miracle and I see the hand of Grace in all of it.
Most people love sound and music, they seek solace, comfort and healing and they want to learn simple of ways of healing themselves. Most people have music to listen to, many have instruments and we all have a voice. With a little more clarity of purpose and consciousness of how to use the tools already available to us we can greatly enhance our sense of well-being.
I provide a service. I am very clear about this. If I drove a bus- providing a service... say, to a special needs population?... no one would question that I should be paid for it. "Well of course, there's gas, there's your time, there's maintenance to keep the bus running, etc." Is driving a bus for those who need the service, for whatever reason, any less sacred than offering a sound healing session for someone in need? If we put the word "sacred" in front of the word "sound" does it preclude an energy exchange from the person receiving the treatment? Both persons in any relationship should have the opportunity to give and to receive in equal measure in whatever form is befitting, comfortable and appropriate for the situation and the people involved.
Is it less sacred to give than to receive? Is there any difference between the two? I think not. A Course in Miracles puts it like this, "To give and to receive are one in truth."
I used to hear with my ears. Now I often seem to experience "hearing" with my whole body. I spend so much of my time working with so many forms of sound- tuning forks, acoustic instruments, crystal and Himalayan singing bowls and listening to and experiencing the vibrotactile effect of music as part of my treatments. I have always had an extreme sensitivity to sound and for many years as I have immersed myself in the field of sound healing, I have developed a tremendous curiosity about the evolution of hearing from an essential tool for survival to a sense which can transport us to realms of ecstasy.
In the last several years however I have also become aware of a new level of experiencing sound within my own body, especially peripherally. It seems to be a reactivation of this ancient instinctual awareness of sound. A door opens into the room, I hear a voice breaking through the every day ambient sounds, at night lying in bed I hear the rustle of a possum or raccoon outside and my whole body reacts. It feels as though the entire surface of my body- my skin, my pores, the fine hairs on the surface of my skin- instantly respond to these unexpected sounds.
I watch body signals and am extremely attentive to my clients response to sound and music during sound healing sessions- is it too loud? Too quiet? Is it time for a different instrument? Is the air conditioning too loud? Is the singing bowl harmonious with the music? The bass too strong? I am in a constant state of meditation and on another level on constant alert while giving a session- a very interesting balance. Often it is just an inner knowing that tells me it's time to make a change in the music or place my hand on their solar plexus.
In this moment as I am examining this process I am thinking that it is the attention to my intuition that has led me to a greater sensitivity within myself to the sounds around me. It is interesting and also sometimes disturbing to be so acutely sensitive. The gift is that it allows for a tremendous sensitivity to facilitating the healing process, allowing the body to gently finds its way back to balance through all the subtle changes that can occur during a sound healing session.
Sound is a catalyzer- it has the ability "to produce fundamental change in; transform", specifically the bioenergetic system, and in fact all matter when used with intention and understanding. Wholistic Sound... therapeutic sound, healing sound, sacred sound... all varying shades in the spectrum of wholistic sound, all have the power to heal and transform us from the inside out and from the outside in.