Meditation and Vibrational Energy Healing
Meditation and Vibrational Energy Healing using Tibetan Singing Bowls
With Tabby Dougall, Holistic Counsellor (ACA)
All through the ages, nearly all cultures have been using sound to induce altered states of consciousness for healing, meditation and enhanced mental capacity.
Eighteen months ago, I was invited by my good friend Brigitte to assist with a Vibrational Healing Workshop with Tibetan singing bowls at the Rainbow Serpent Festival in country Victoria. I knew of the bowls through her business, Madam Kali; she had fallen in love with them in Nepal and decided to bring them back to Australia to share their benefits and offer them for sale here. During this workshop, held in a teepee, I acted as doorkeeper (or a teepee flap-keeper) and became intrigued when I realised how popular this modality was, as the workshop was full within minutes and I had to turn many away. Brigitte shared the history and making of the hand-beaten bowls, and techniques for meditation and healing. I was fortunate to have the bowls played on my body for demonstration. When she had finished, I couldn’t speak. The vibrations and sounds had taken me so far out of my mind that for a while I found it hard to understand what she was saying and how to collect my thoughts. I was in a state of euphoric bliss and peace! At this moment, I knew that I wanted to learn more and include this amazing modality as part of my holistic counselling practice. My world has never been quite the same since.
Making singing bowls is one of the world’s oldest metal crafts and the materials and techniques of hand hammering are the same today as those used for centuries in the Himalayas. When struck, the singing bowl produces a chord and several frequencies. These are determined by the bowl’s shape, metal density, and diameter.
The metal bowls are referred to as “polyphonic”, which means they have two or more independent harmonising melodies. They sound different depending on the playing technique (whether they are rubbed around the rim of the bowl or struck) and depending on the playing tool. Most metal singing bowls produce what is called a Binaural beat frequency, which is known to alter our brain waves from a Beta state to Alpha and/or Theta. (A Binaural beat frequency is a pair of tones under a main sound that can sound a bit like a motorboat). Apparently, in the 17<sup>th</sup> century, this was called “the Devil’s chord” and was frowned upon by the Catholic Church, as it induced spiritual experiences. Indeed, many people who have attended my singing bowl sessions feel they have had spiritual experiences.
I researched the bowls, read books, and trained with Brigitte, who had studied with Nepalese craftspeople. I began running Tibetan singing bowl meditation groups and workshops, and started to play the bowls on my clients as an adjunct to my holistic counselling practice. The experiences that people share with me never cease to inspire me. I am continually learning. Many see colours and all sorts of visions such as climbing Himalayan mountains, flying like an eagle, being part of a ceremonial tribal circle, seeing faces, connecting with loved ones who have passed over, and so on. Clients have felt a release of trauma from their body and emotional catharsis, and the bowls have aided in calming overwhelming anxiety and centering. Some hear messages and a lady who was deaf in my meditation group, claimed to hear every note played. One man who suffered from a body that won’t sit still, found peace for the first time. Many feel a sense of body dissolution or “oneness” and “going somewhere deep or way out there”, and most just experience a deep state of calm, relaxation, happiness and peace. For those with a very busy mind, it can take a few sessions to calm the chatter and the beautiful notes of the bowls provide an enjoyable sound stream to ride out of the thought-jungle.
I generally use a set of seven Tibetan hand-beaten bowls, with different notes and tones that resonate with the seven different chakra (energy centre) notes. Some of the bowls I work with are antique (over 50 years old) and so hold their own special energy; many antiques were made by hammering the molten metal while chanting a healing mantra into them. I play intuitively and to melodic patterns, and will work with clients’ particular intentions and spiritual beliefs. I work with the bowls on and off the body and with different parts of the body (back, stomach, chest, hands, arms, legs, feet, head, etc). For meditation, I would use singing bowls to end a holistic counselling session as a support for the other processes utilised, to prepare my client for re-entering their “normal world”, or exclusively on their own as a session. I find them particularly useful for working with trauma. They can offer a lovely nurturing experience and many clients find them very powerful in a positive and gentle way.
There is a philosophy that states we all have a vibration that is a signature of our health and well-being, and like instruments, our bodies (mental/emotional/subtle) can fall out of vibrational harmony, showing up first as energy disturbances, and if not heeded, developing into physical illness. This is where vibrational healing tools like those used by kineseologists and Tibetan singing bowls can be useful. Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, founder of the Center of Neuroacoustic Research has written many articles about sound healing, including a paper specifically on the effects of Binaural beats on brainwaves. He found effective biological responses to various sounds and frequencies and that certain uses of sound have a direct effect on heart and pulse rate, respiration, galvanic skin response (SGR), electromyography (EMG), brainwaves (EEG) and general stress reduction.
Following inspiration (and client requests), I’m now in the process of creating a singing bowl meditation CD. The bowls and their unique magic and intrigue have influenced my life in such a beautiful way and I enjoy sharing them with others. If you haven’t yet experienced them, I encourage you to try with an open mind and no expectation, and see what they may bring to you.
Tabby is a qualified Holistic Counsellor & experienced group facilitator. Lightly Centered, her private practice, utilises creative & expressive modalities, incorporating both the thinking & feeling and conscious & unconscious realms. She has a passion for the process of transformation, particularly in empowering her clients along their own self actualisation & healing journeys. She invites you to come & vibrate to the wonderful frequencies of the Tibetan Singing Bowl. Sit in silence, absorb the healing frequencies & expect nothing of yourself.
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