Are singing bowls used in Hinduism?
If you think that Himalayan singing bowls (also known as Tibetan singing bowls) are taking over the niche of yoga and meditation practice – you are mistaken. It's amazing to observe how much attention the sound bowls get these days. A few years ago a dentist asked me to help finding him a good quality singing bowl for his office. One of my students is a practicing nurse and doula. She uses a few of these sound therapy instruments to help her patients relax and overcome pain. Another student of mine is Theta healing practitioner, using singing bowls in every session with her clients. I also have students that lead sacred plant ceremonies with singing bowls. The list is long…
Some time ago I heard that in one school in Germany, teachers play a certain game with kids. Before starting a class, the teacher strikes a singing bowl and asks kids to raise a hand when the sound is over. For kids, it feels like an interactive game. The teacher, though, gets the students’ attention after this sort of tuning and can proceed to teach a class getting greater involvement from kids.
One of my friends shared that his vipassana teacher always starts his meditations by playing a singing bowl. He says that if one can listen to the tone from beginning to end without getting distracted, they have entered the meditative state!
Singing bowls can fit great in hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
Another field that really needs sound workers' attention is the corporate world! I've been warmly welcomed to come and share sound meditation at several companies, and so will you.
It's up to you now where else to go spreading the magic. Play everywhere, just make sure you bring no discomfort.
It feels like this page has some extra space for me to share another story…
Can singing bowls heal?
Back in 2012, I was strongly considering quitting playing my instruments, selling all my singing bowls and doing something else. I really didn't know what, but definitely no more singing bowls. Almost after every session of mine, people were asking me which chakras my set was attuned to, which chakra I was targeting when striking a particular bowl, or some similar questions. I saw that my audience was receiving great benefits from what I was doing, however, I myself was lost. It is so much more than “targeting the chakras with notes” but how could I explain that without challenging someone's experience? Also, I began struggling with what to play or how to structure my sound journey sessions. I knew at the time that somehow I was becoming skeptical about the practice of "sound healing".
In December 2012, I went to Guatemala with a large group of pilgrims to meet with Mayan elders and learn about the new calendar. On December 21, 2012, when lots of people were anticipating the end of the world as we know it, I was peacefully dancing around the fire with a few hundred beautiful souls. It was such a meaningful day in my life. I’m not going to tell you all the details about that day, except for one conversation related to singing bowls.
A lady all dressed in white came to me and said that she knew about me.
You are Guy Beider, right? – she said. You do sound healing!
No, – I replied to her, – I don’t do sound healing. I used to create a safe environment playing singing bowls, to provide people with safe space for them to do the self healing work, but I quit!
She didn't listen to me and said that she needed my help.
She shared with me a story that I knew from the internet, radio stations, and other mass media sources.
Her sister had been working as a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. On December 14, 2012, a 20-year-old named Adam Lanza killed 26 people in that school. 20 of them were 6 to 7 year old children!!!
My new friend's sister was in the classroom next to the one where this terrible massacre had happened. At the time of the event, she was pregnant!
I'll always remember this conversation after the fire ceremony in Guatemala. This lady apparently was one of the founders of the healing center that was put together for grieving parents a short time after the shooting.
I was asked to come to this center, meet her sister, and do a sound healing session for the parents. Knowing what grief is, I agreed to come, but it was a hard decision for me to make.
About a month after our talk by the fire, I found myself circling around the dead zone – Sandy Hook Elementary School. The school was not operating. Pieces of yellow tape left by the police department were hanging in the wind like Buddhist prayer flags. I was not alone in the car – a friend of mine, a parent of two girls, 6 and 2 years old, came to support me. He wanted to have this experience, to see the suffering of people who have lost their children. I needed him to be there as well. I admitted that I really needed some support.
While getting closer to the healing center my friend asked me how I was going to talk to these people before the session. I really didn't know what to say, and to be honest, I had been thinking about it since I promised to come over. I kept pushing this question off for later, but here I was, standing in front of 17 people who had lost their children!
“My name is Guy. I don't have words to describe my condolences. I have brought you sound that may help you to heal your pain and trauma. Thank you for giving me a chance to be here” – that's what I said.
The audience was open to receive the vibes. I knew there was no need for me to explain what singing bowls are and what are the benefits they bring. There was no need to talk at all, so I started to play.
Back in those days, I had a few sequences that I played – not a melodic composition but just a few short consonant combinations that I was experimenting with. I planned to play those sequences but as soon as I got a mallet in my hand to strike the bowl, I realized that I simply didn't remember which singing bowls were playing in consonance. There was a moment of panic, but there was nothing left to do, and I just decided to go with the flow.
It was such an unfamiliar feeling to be sitting there as a vessel and mediate the will of a higher force! I was simply observing my hands striking and stroking certain singing bowls without putting any thoughts into the process. It was such a beautiful journey. I wish I could remember the sequence I was playing to repeat it again!
After about 50 minutes, I felt it was time to wrap up my "sound healing" session. I waited for the last sound to dissipate and was planning to give a minute of silence to start talking to the audience (my usual scenario to end up a sound meditation). None of my usual scenarios would have worked at that event. People were suspended as in a still picture. It felt like time did not exist. I watched the expression of bliss on the faces in front of me and decided to give them another minute or two before starting to talk.
I finally allowed myself to close my eyes and softened myself into the space. As soon as I shut my eyes, I felt the presence of something divine in the space.
There were at least five or six white entities that were passing through my body! Every time one of them would touch me, I felt like something very warm and kind, something loving and healing was spreading its energy to every cell of my body. The next thing I felt, was me loosing my body and becoming an open vessel for these angelic beings. The memory of having a body came back to me when I felt that my cheeks were wet. Yes, I was crying, and I needed that so much!
Without knowing what I should do with the audience, I opened my eyes. Everybody was sitting in the same position; some people were shedding tears. A friend of mine who came with me was staring into the space in front of him. His eyes were wet too. I checked the clock on the wall and discovered that my blackout had lasted for more than twenty minutes!
“Please take a deep breath”, I said and began to bring my audience back from the sound meditation.
Apparently my friend and I were not alone in feeling the presence of the entities, but we were the only ones who were surprised.
We spent some time in complete silence on our way back to New York City, and I used it to process what had happened.
Since that occasion, I haven’t had any doubt about the path that had chosen me.
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