First of all, thanks go to all those who supported our Ahimsa Promotion. Your actions and emails were a big boost to morale! Besides, I know you are getting superb products so it's a win-win.
A while back, I announced that we were going to expand a little bit outside of the normal arena so as to support indigenous arts and crafts. The first imports came from Ecuador, and, yes, there still about five scarves if someone is still shivering this winter:
The Tibetan singing bowls arrived this week also. The history of these bowls is a little hazy but they are made both in India and Nepal. Ours are from Nepal. These are fascinating to me for a number of reasons; but I am not an expert so I want to say upfront that while very interested in the bowls, I have barely finished the first crash course on comparisons. I had a huge singing bowl many years ago but I gave it to someone. I also have a tiny one. The shipment from Nepal has small to medium sized bowls, basically five different types. Three are handmade. As one expects with anything handmade, there is a significant variation in thickness and therefore also in sound. To keep this as simple as possible, there are small and medium sized plain bowls and some that are "carved". These have Tibetan designs, various auspicious symbols and mantras. Two of the styles are machine made. One is beaten to make them resemble the handmade ones and the other has designs. These bowls are darker in color and very easy to use because the bowls are less irregular so when moving the mallet along the side, the sound comes up quickly with very little pressure or interruption. The more irregular bowls take more practice. Each bowl comes with a cushion that is for the purpose of protecting the bottom of the bowl when it is on the shelf. When ordering, you can choose the color of the cushion you prefer. It is not used when playing the bowl. A mallet is also provided with each bowl. Most people use the padded end of the mallet but there are techniques involving the use of the wooden end.
|To introduce the bowls properly, I embedded some videos on the order page. This shows how the bowls are made, how the carving or etching is done, how to make the sounds, how to choose a bowl if you were in a huge store with a gigantic selection, and one video by someone who presents a mixture of traditional and New Age ideas for using the bowls. Okay, that is a huge start.
Doing this fact finding triggered a lot of memories for me. First of all, one of the unique features of Tibetan chanting is that the monks can chant chords. Not surprisingly, the bowls also have a primary sound that is fairly easily read on a tuner but there are overtones and, so far as I can tell, five sounds coming from each bowl. The exact pitch is a function of the metallurgy, size, thickness, and probably several other factors including exactly where the sound is elicited, i.e., on the rim or further down the side of the bowl.
Many people have ideas about certain notes corresponding to specific chakras. I am probably a bit cautious about repeating any of this at face value because sound is complex. As we know, in the beginning, there was the word . . . or, if you are more into Eastern philosophy, the Creator used sound to shape the manifest world so sound works very powerfully on the etheric body; and I have used singing bowls in the past to release congestion and untangle blockages in the etheric body. I have also used both sound and music to straighten the lines of the etheric body so that they are perpendicular to the body. You can do this with your bare hands (without touching the physical body) but sound works very swiftly. My experience is that overdoing the sound will cause fatigue so it is probably better to trust in too little rather than too much. Repeat efforts take less and less time and work well over the long-term, especially when combined with sensitive dialogue and emotional processing.
As those who are familiar with Tibetan Buddhism know, the concept of dissemination of true teachings is very well anchored in the psyches of all serious practitioners. To achieve this, there are meditations, chants, prayer flags, statues made of butter that are ignited, sand paintings that are swept up and launched into waterways that carry the vibrations to all corners of the earth. I would not equate this with proselytizing but rather suggest that the precepts of truth and clarity are foundational to enlightenment so sharing of supercharged energies is a way of blessing those who are not practicing as assiduously as those who have taken vows to rescue humanity. The sound from the singing bowls quivers and is ostensibly immortal. Granted, the influence at the ever-widening periphery may not be as potent as when the bowl is held closer to the body, but there is an effect . . . so many of those involved with the bowls are eager to see them move from the Himalayas to other parts of the world so that the entire Universe will become entrained with the Truth.
I can speak to this idea somewhat because of my study of cymatics years ago. The idea here is that a sound, any sound, will entrain. The sound has the ability to reorganize substance and we can prove this very easily by using something light such as soap bubbles or whipping cream. We can also use sand or a stringed instrument. If you make a sound, the strings of the idle instrument will begin quivering. This suggests that all sound is either healing or detrimental depending on what kind of reorganization is triggered. In the past, I have found that syncopation is physiologically stressful whereas some sounds are relaxing or therapeutic in other ways. In the end, these concepts give me great hope. They are the basis for profound optimism about the future of all Life because the most powerful sound in the Universe has to be that of the Creator so everything will ultimately entrain with the Creator. However, until we entrain, we are, inadvertently or deliberately creating more karma.
So, from an esoteric perspective, the proper use of a singing bowl can bring us a step closer to entrainment with spiritual influences. However, there are no doubt bowls that are more effective and perhaps some that are harmful or perhaps harmful when misused. This simply means that like everything else, it behooves us to study and prepare before foisting our good intentions on others.
However, in my own crash course, a few points hit home for me. Some of the scientific experiments demonstrated not only that water has memory but that it can be supercharged by the sounds of the singing bowls. The way this was demonstrated was by putting water into the bowls and waiting to see how long it took for the water to respond. If the bowl is then left dormant, the water will relax and become calm, but if the bowl is played again, the response time is much faster. Eventually, the response time is so quick that that one does not even have to make a complete circle of the rim of the bowl. This suggests that we do need to take responsibility for our thoughts because we are shedding something into the universal consciousness every moment, whether aware or not. It also says that we can perhaps use the bowls for ritualistic reprogramming of the water and air.
Other experiments suggested that water is a better carrier of vibration than air. I have no doubt that water has a longer memory than air, but to determine which is a better carrier suggests the need for a method of measuring impact and such tools are probably quite lacking.
There are lots of modern ideas for the bowls, including placing them on irritated parts of the body and letting the vibration make actual physical contact with the body. Some put them on chakras. Well, you know how youtube works: if you start with one video, you will see many related videos. My suggestion is to take the bowls seriously enough that you use them responsibly.
Now, on a rather personal and anecdotal level, I will tell you more or less what happened when the bowls were delivered. I was suddenly in the presence of 80 bowls, all of which looked just slightly different one from another. I tried to let my consciousness attach itself to one or another and I played a few of them to see how they sounded. One stood out as particularly appealing so I asked Gail to put her tuner by the phone. Sure enough: Eb, my favorite key.
For those with no background at all in either sound or music healing, I might make a couple of really simple statements. In general, higher pitches work best on higher chakras because the wave length is shorter and quicker. This does not mean that they are ineffective on lower chakras, merely that the elements differ from one another because of their vibratory rate. Air is faster than fire which in turn is faster than water which is faster that earth. The chakras also correlate with the elements. The base chakra is earth-ruled, the sacral center is water-ruled, the solar plexus is fiery, and the heart chakra is the air chakra. These are the four manifest elements. The fifth element is ether and works predominantly through the throat chakra and the head chakras are ruled by higher senses, inspiration and intuition or spiritual influence.
In general, the smaller bowls have higher pitches but the pitches vary from one bowl to another. I cannot state at this time if the tuning, which is an ancient art, is chromatic or based on a scale that might be exotic to some ears. Maybe when I finish the crash course, I will get to the next level!
Meanwhile, I invite you to visit the page I put together on the bowls:
At this time, I cannot promise to answer any complex questions because the answer would probably be that I do not know; however, I will do the best I can. Also, for the record, I did not import the bowls and do not own them. We are making them available in order to support the efforts in Nepal and, yes, there is some exchange of energy involved so that goes to support the Institute.
Many thanks for your time and attention and much gratitude to those who support these ventures.
Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2014
See Part II on Sound Therapy