SOUND HEALING IN THE 21ST CENTURY: AN INDEPTH EXPLORATION
Sound healing and vibrational medicine are fast becoming the medicines and nutritional tonics of choice for 21st century wellness therapies. From sound baths to gongs, crystal bowls to chanting, didgeridoos to drumming, tuning forks and bells, ancient therapies are being widely used for modern stresses to promote enhanced clarity, wellness, relaxation, calm, and as aids to support mindfulness.
Sound healing works through vibrational waves that pass through our electromagnetic auric fields and into our nervous system, cells and organs. With recent advances in psychoacoustic science, we can now pinpoint the resonant frequencies of acupuncture meridians and organs, vibrating them precisely in order to heal, relax, regenerate and detoxify: all through sound.
The basic premise is simple: the frequencies you are lacking, or need more of, are sounded or inputted into you, and if this is done consistently over time, the body will respond and produce the frequencies it has been lacking, or needing more of, by itself. Vibrational medicine in this sense can trigger the body-mind into activating its own medicine; then the external sound frequencies are no longer needed for that specific issue.
These vibrational waves can come through crystal singing bowls, metal singing bowls (originally from Tibet, where the sound of some of these bowls were likened to OM) cymbals, didgeridoos, vocal toning of sounds and mantras, gongs, rain sticks, conches, electronically generated sine waves, shakers and many more instruments. When combined into an hour-long sound bath, you can become deeply relaxed and cleansed of the debris of your day and the overworked, over stressed mind.
Sound healing brings beneficial frequencies to us. Some parts of our bodies and minds may be missing these frequencies, or maybe we are too stressed to access them. Sound healing therapies focus on bringing a wide spectrum of these frequencies to us, like a form of nutrition. Just as we have dieticians and nutritionists, so too do we now sound healing.
Group sound baths and healings focus on creating a deeply relaxing, de stressing and enjoyable experience where we can let go and allow these frequencies into us. Many people experience deep rest, relaxation and well being, where the mind can switch off and brain wave states alter. Some people go into deep restful sleep, whilst others experience a sense of calm and peace. Other people experience being elevated, almost lifted up into an ethereal type state, washing away their worldly cares and concerns, bringing them into a deep sense of wellbeing and a centring in themselves after the sound therapy.
Personalised sound healing focuses more on your individual issues. With a professional sound healer, they will talk to you beforehand, diagnosing any mind body issues you have, and then administering the correct frequencies to balance the ailment. This diagnosis can range from checking your meridians and organs, to any mental health, physical pain, stress and anxiety issues. The appropriate instruments and frequencies, be it a tuning fork or crystal bowl, sung sounds or a drum, can be placed on or over specific organs or chakras to resonate it into wellness and increase its vibratory rate.
Sound and frequency is intelligent. It goes wherever it needs to go, wherever it is needed, wherever there is an imbalance. Thus, an alternative method is to simply play the instruments and frequencies, and with a shared intention between the practitioner and client, the sound frequency will travel into whichever part of the clients body mind that needs the healing. Often, the client will pass into a restful sleep, allowing the narrating mind to switch off and for the body and subconscious to receive the frequency and sound healing more thoroughly beyond the ‘middle-man’ of the mind.
Sound healing is therapeutic and can be gentling, deeply soothing and calming. Sensations of lightness, feeling ‘out of your body’, astral travelling and dream journeying can happen during the session: after the session, deep relaxation, enhanced mental perception and physical regeneration resulting in more energy are common. Frequencies and instruments can also be used to break down certain blocks in our bodies and minds through ‘harder’ and more repetitive sounds. A skilled sound healer will be able to use both ways adeptly, depending on what the person needs.
Sound healing in nature
Sound healing can also happen in nature. Being with the sound of the birds can be deeply soothing and nurturing. Trees too vibrate and communicate, as recently shown by science, and one can pick up on this inaudible frequency simply by hugging a tree or practicing deep listening whilst in the company of trees. The Celtic traditions have specific practices for people to come into resonance with trees, but in essence it is very simple.
Go to a tree. Breath deeply. Sit with your back to one. Breathe it in. Open yourself up and allow in the inaudible resonance and sound ‘feeling.’ Trees are very open to communicate with and their resonant sound is freely available to anyone. This form of sound healing is rooting, calming and centring, can bring emotional dissolution and healing, and can open one upto deeper insights, intuition and even communication with tree wisdom.
This deep listening for healing is mirrored in a Kundalini Yoga practice. In this shabd or sound healing, you sit with a partner with one person lying down. The person sitting up listens deeply to the heartbeat, the breath, the body, and then extends this listening to the room, outside the room, the wind, nature and so forth, deepening their listening to encompass the surrounding area so every sound is heard and attuned to. As this happens, a transference of healing energy can happen, bringing both people into a deep and clear peaceful space. All through listening!
Listening to the silence in nature can be healing. Many people go to the mountains as the grosser sounds of the town, city and people do not penetrate there. You are lifted above the mundane frequencies, pollution and thought streams of people, all of which have an impact on you. You only realise this when you are high in the mountains, where there are very few people, very few noises, and where the myriad thought streams and emotions of people rarely penetrate.
Yes, thoughts are sounds and make a noise! A literal babble actually! If you observe your own thought processes during the day, and multiply that by 7.5 billion people, that is a lot of chaotic, unstructured and random noise, which is often destructive and of quite a low frequency, being as it were self centred, egotistical, greedy, situated in pain etc. Only when you are in the quiet air of the mountains away from these streams, or situated in your own quieter Self, can you really experience the lack of babble of the thought forms and thought streams of others, which can really make an impact on you too.
This jabber or babel of the monkey mind within you, and the thought stream frequencies outside you from others, is what sound healing can help you with, taking you into a stiller mind and calm body by centring you more into yourself.
Diving with whales can be a sound bath in itself! I remember taking a small group of people to Moorea in the Pacific Ocean, and hovering in the water above a 30 ton 40 foot long male humpback whale who was singing his mating song for female whales. This song could be heard for many miles away once you were in the water. Water is a special medium for sound, as we are 75% water!
Hovering over this majestic being whilst he was booming out his song was an extraordinary experience. Barely 40 feet away beneath me, the sonic waves of his bass tones reverberated throughout my entire body and all my cells, vibrating deep into my solar plexus and torso in particular. I lay there, suspended in the water, receiving these bass frequencies in a state of deep relaxation.
As the waves of bass sound continued, my vibrational rate increased and different blocks in my body started to dissolve. I decided to dive down 5 metres or so to get closer to him, and as I did the vibration became so intense in my body and torso that to I had to return to the surface in a hurry!
However, any audible sound frequency only works in the first two modes of vibration, out of the four modes in which all vibration operates. The most powerful sound frequencies are inaudible and work in the zone where silence, light and sound meet. This is why mantra and chanting practices are internalised in the mind, to eventually become currents of light once the mind is totally focused on the mantra.
For example: if you are chanting a sound aloud it produces a certain effect in the first mode of vibration, which is the mode of the written and spoken word. When you take this sound and repeat it silently, in the mind or into a specific chakra, the frequency becomes deeper and subtler. One enters the second mode of the deeper frequency and meaning or tone behind words. You become more internal, quieter in your consciousness.
As you repeat the sound internally over time, the sound becomes quieter and deeper, as does your mind, until you achieve a one pointed focus on the sound current alone. The mind quietens and stops its chatter, until all there is left is the sound current.
As this happens, the sound repeats itself without any effort on your part, taking over the mind: the mind dissolves and surrenders to the sound current completely. The sound current then becomes a current of light in your brain, metamorphosing from sound into light in a tangible and palpable way, and/or the mind becomes still and silent. This is the third mode of vibration, which usually takes some deep practice, and guidance from a skilled sound yoga guide, to achieve.
As this happens, you may become lifted into a state of ecstatic bliss and/or deep inner silence and stillness. All that is left is a current of light that you totally become: there is no more you left, no mind, no thoughts, no personality, no emotion: just pure light moving at a very high frequency into the void. This is when chakras can completely open up, especially in the brain and its organs of pineal and pituitary.
In the human experience, sound becomes light: both merge. This is the deeper aspect of sound healing, or rather sound transformation: transformation through sound. Audible instruments and external devices can support us into certain states, and heal/resolve certain issues within us: this has been well documented in thousands of studies worldwide. To transform through sound is something that is self-generated and takes one into a different dimension where sound and light meet through the one pointed and still mind.
Copyright Padma Aon Prakasha 2019. From forthcoming book ‘’The Science of Sound’’