“Whether or not we hear it, everything has a sound, a vibration all its own”
~Joshua Leeds, ‘The Power of Sound’
I know a woman who is intensely connected with nature. An avid hiker, she can actually see and feel the vibration of trees and rocks and all the elements of nature. I would love to see the world through her eyes – even for just a few moments. We all have that capacity, but for most of us, our belief that trees and rocks are a solid mass outweighs the law of physics that states that everything is energy and therefore has a specific vibration that generates its own sound.
The frequency at which everything vibrates is referred to as resonance. So it is that the natural state of resonance of the human body hums along in perfect pitch unless it is short circuited by illness, environmental factors or S T R E S S. If it remains out of sync for long enough, the result is a state of dis-ease.
The good news is that as vibrational beings, we are also connected to the vibration of universal energy or God, or whatever your choice of beliefs is. Therefore, by intentionally aligning with higher vibrations we can realign ourselves with our natural state of resonance, thus returning to our perfect, natural state of being. And, it’s important to note that since resonance is established through vibration, it isn’t our hearing that creates the alignment. It is the vibration.
For thousands of years before modern times, sound was used to create resonance within the body. Mantras, chanting, humming, drumming and Tibetan singing bowls are all sound therapy methods that have been an integral part of Eastern spiritual practices used to regain and maintain physical and emotional well-being. These are practices that have now moved into mainstream Western society as well. The use of singing bowls, gongs, music and chanting are commonplace in many yoga and meditation classes and there is a growing body of work supporting sound therapy for preventative health care as well as complementary healing practices.
Personally, I believe that if sound can create both resonance and dissonance physiologically, then perhaps it would serve me well to use it for physical healing as well. And as I became more curious about this tool, a chance to experience it personally presented itself almost immediately. I recently jumped at the opportunity for an acupuncture and sound therapy session with Ellen Newhouse (see Feature Article and Blog in this issue.)
As is what always happens during an acupuncture session, when Ellen began placing the needles in different locations on my body, I began to relax and feel the relief of an elevated state of physical and emotional well-being. I began to lose my connection to the limitations imposed by my body and conscious mind and respond instead to the sensation of limitlessness.
Moments later as I remained in that heightened state of awareness where all is well, Ellen began to chant powerful sound mantras directly over body. I felt myself lifted to an even higher vibration; a place of joy and completeness that was unfamiliar, yet felt incredibly safe. I surrendered, hook, line and sinker to a place I wanted to remain forever.
Although the session was a finite experience, it fertilized a seed of knowingness within my body and soul that’s been there for eternity. I’ve always been acutely aware of my senses – sometimes acknowledging it more frequently than others. Sound has the capacity to change my state of being the same way that nature does – they are vibrations that are very similar – perhaps one and the same.
Music has always signaled a response within me – some of it creating resonance and some creating dissonance. And I know which feeling it creates almost instantaneously. The music that nature provides, however, always generates resonance; the song of the birds outside my window, waves washing ashore, the babbling brook on a wooded walk, all of these lower my stress and raise my vibration.
I’ve also become highly attuned to the vibrational sound of chanting during yoga, the Tibetan singing bowl played above my heart during an energy healing session, and the gong meditation at the close of Kundalini yoga class. These are all practices I was highly skeptical of earlier in my life. But, once you’ve heard the sound, felt the vibration and surrendered to the experience, you know yourself and life on a different level.
We don’t need to be actively “listening” to benefit from sound, there’s nothing to work at, focus on or practice. And you really don’t even need to hear it so the volume doesn’t matter. Sound therapy can be used while sleeping, while driving and while working. From classical music like Bach for Babies to beautiful chanting from artists such as Snatam Kaur, gong recordings and sounds of nature – there’s something for everyone and all will benefit.
We come to Earth as a complete and perfect package with the capacity to heal ourselves on so many levels. Our life experiences over-shadow and separate us from our perfection as we move through the different stages of life. But the gifts remain, hidden away for the time being maybe, but never out of our reach.
The gift of sound therapy is one that can be so easily accessed and have such significant impact. We live among it, day and night, day after day. We can always use sound to access our natural state of being and in this noisy world we live in, sometimes it’s the most important tool we can use in any given moment. And whenever possible, reach for and experience the sound of silence…for it may be the most healing sound of all.