I am lying on the floor in a bookshop, oblivious to everything around me. Vibrations through sounds in the air feel at once cacophonous and far away. A cloth laced with eucalyptus and lavender shields my eyes. A sensation of joy radiates through my upper body. It is felt strongest right inside my pelvis, but it isn’t sexual. It’s like something urging me toward joy. I begin to laugh, silently ‘til my shoulders shake and I have to close my mouth to stop sound escaping. The laughter is contained, bubbling through me. Softening at the edges as it becomes a relaxed ripple. I begin to cry, tears that are neither happy nor sad. A relief. When it is over, I lie there as if it never happened. But it did.
I am taking part in a crystal bowl sound bath, with guided meditation. I am not alone. 11 other participants stretch out around me, bathing in sound medicine. Prescribers Alexandra and Cassidy deftly lead us through this hour. Cassidy’s verbal guidance and hands-on healing (she offers Reiki as well as meditation) create space for our minds to float peacefully. Alex’s crystal bowls reverberate in woven choruses.
It comes from The Root Chakra these feelings of mine—AKA The Muladhara. This is where, it is said, we store emotions. Feelings often emanate from this centre. Too much caffeine or sugar can make us feel nervous. Too much food can make us feel sleepy. The nerves and digestive organs respond to what feeds us, combining emotion with corporeal reaction.
As the music swirls, my mind tunes out and in. I am reminded of the soul-purpose of meditation: To allow the thoughts, the noises and the sensations to slip by. To let them go. No blocking or denying, just allowing. You become a slippery seal in the water of worldly stimulation.
Notice the feeling and the sensations, attaching no story to them. I felt a profound sadness as Cassidy laid her hand on my head. For some time, I felt the words “I am not ok” run through me. I almost cried at the thought. But I knew it was just that. A thought. And it was leaving me. I notice myself wondering; “Can she feel what I am thinking?” And yet I just allow these moments to ebb and flow, with the singing notes emanating from the bowls.
I start to communicate like this. Put simply: Thank you, now go. No challenge or prostration. Just, “thanks I feel you. You have communicated what you wanted. You can leave.”
Sound meditation may not be for everyone, but I am now hooked. My personal work is to use this method to engage more with meditation. To slip seal-like through mind soup, escaping to the clearer water of the subconscious.
To baulk at the idea of sound healing seems natural, ironically. Yet we have all been moved by music, in some way. There are songs that make you cry without a moments notice. For me, it is always Ben E King’s Stand By Me. More recently it was an Arctic Monkeys song. I can’t even remember which.
Frequencies vibrate through us. There can be no denying if it can have an effect on our mind and emotions. They can have an effect on our insides too. There is even the supposed frequency (which everyone has heard of, don’t lie) that can make you shit yourself! (Though there was none of that here!) Brown noise.
I don’t profess to know much about the science behind it, but I am interested in learning more. I began using binaural beats a couple of weeks ago, to help me sleep at night. I have looked into using binaural beats to increase concentration and creativity. I am confident that I am only focusing on one part of this magic, too. There is a whole other side to this, where sounds reverb around your body, creating more magic in cells and systems. I am fascinated, eager to devour more! Knowledge in sound.
Alex puts it beautifully on her website:
The healing sounds of the crystal singing bowls work with frequency and vibration. They are made from pure crystal quartz. The bowls T.O.A. most often uses are tuned to 432hrz. This frequency works directly with the physical body, the chakra system and with your cells to assist the body to relax, restore and replenish. You can expect to feel a deep sense of relaxation. You may experience emotional release, fall asleep or astral project – depending on where you are at and what you need – your experience is unique to you and will change every time!
To entertain this practice, even as a way to take time for you, is to use that gorgeous gift we have in life. The absolutely beautiful and compelling medium of storytelling: Music. I would urge anyone to just give it a chance. It can be soothing, soulful, electrifying, compelling, confusing. But it is an adventure you can share with your soul. Bathing in sound may even allow some new peace to open up inside you.
Thank You, Now Go
Cassidy Thedorf – Meditation & Mindfulness Coach
Alexandria – Singer, Sound Healer & Yoga Teacher