Sound Healing Article for Caduceus Magazine


11 April 1999 – revised version from 1998

“The basic principles of music therapy were recognised throughout the ancient world. The concept may be traced in the writings of the Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Hindus, Chinese and other learned nations of antiquity. It was, and still is, a part of the religious ceremonies of primitive peoples throughout the world.”     Manly P Hall.

Each sound healing session is utterly unique. Clients are often surprised during a return visit to discover that the course of their treatment is different from before. For this reason and because I am continually unfolding and evolving this form of sound healing I can only give a somewhat general account of my work in sound healing.

I first trained in spiritual healing in 1965 and at that time my interest in sound healing first began. As sacred percussion instruments from the Far East continued to come my way from 1968 onwards I began to search for ways of using them in sound healing. However, for me personally, this search seemed to crystallise once the Singing Bowls of Tibet came my way. I found that the ‘sacred’ bowls, especially, possessed the most potent forces, being the most psychically charged of all my sacred instruments. As my collection of these ancient sounds grew so too my understanding of how to use them in sound healing also unfolded in a most organic way. In 1970 I joined The White Eagle Lodge immediately giving myself in service to the form of spiritual healing practised there and so I received further training in this particular path of service.

Tibetan bowls are hand-made using five, seven and sometimes nine metals including meteorite. The different thickness’ of metal produce a variety of tones and harmonics. This collection of 165 bowls has taken 17 years to complete by looking at and listening to around 2,900 bowls. One of the purposes of the Tibetan singing bowls is to help the everyday mind release itself from mental and physical obstacles and to focus the body upon relaxation whilst focussing the mind on its true nature; that of ‘Peaceful Enlightened Mind.’

During a sound healing session the bowls are played with great patience allowing their sound to dissolve. The playing of their sounds begins with malleting which captures the moment or takes the mind away from drifting thoughts and helps to concentrate it upon and within the eternal Now. If, added to this, we cannot predict what will follow any one sound, then we enter a state of acceptance (a ‘non-dualistic’ state of mind. i.e. beyond’ good & bad/right or wrong’), following the course of the sounds to where they lead. Listening to the striking of a bowl can be like being awakened to the moment of awareness from a long sleep in mind chatter.

Between the different tones, harmonics appear, pulsating, sending sound into the entire aura and into the chakra centres. In general lower chakras equal lower tones to higher chakras equalling higher tones. These tones very slowly dissolve whilst the larger bowls possess a slowly pulsating fundamental beat creating an experience of deep relaxation. The actual cyclic speed of these pulses is very close to that of certain brain cycles i.e. Alpha and Theta which brain states correlate to deep relaxation, contemplation and altered states of consciousness; especially visualisation or an active imagination. So, paradoxically, very deep, low pitched Bowls, create a very slow pulse or oscillating beat, which – through the law of resonance – stimulates and awakens alternative states of heightened consciousness! In other words, it doesn’t necessarily follow that only ‘high pitched’ bowls are capable of stimulating ‘higher’ states of consciousness!

In THETA there can be visual images. Such images can seem very real, and in some of the Lower THETA states there is little or no sense of the physical body. A person may experience their body as a field of energy or as if parts of their body are floating in the air, unconnected to other parts.

The internal experience one has during THETA activity seems to be the most prevalent perceived reality. External reality to a greater or lesser extent is simply not experienced.

‘Non-ordinary’ states of Awareness appear in THETA beginning in ALPHA (slow respiration rate & deep relaxation). During these sound-healing sessions with the singing bowls of Tibet it is not uncommon for people to ‘see’ colours beyond those of earth! Also people will often experience moving away from ‘normal’ consciousness (awareness of time, pitches, notes, intervals, and discordant or concordant chords – combinations of bowls) to losing that awareness and leaving their bodies altogether. Upon returning they felt their physical body to be very heavy!

Perhaps it is also helpful to reflect that during our sleeping hours our physical body receives the opportunity to renew itself because the astral and mental bodies have returned to their natural spheres. Similarly, during the entering of Alpha, Theta and sometimes Delta states, through listening to the bowls, the physical body may receive temporary rest from the mental and astral bodies allowing these same regenerating energies to become activated and so leading to renewed health.

There is also a connection with the ‘Four Temperaments’ of the ancient alchemists: Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholic. The several ancient modes, connecting with the planets, would then have had a connection with these temperaments also. For instance, people with the Choleric temperament (according to Rudolph Steiner, the most difficult of the temperaments for spiritual advancement) need to listen to Melancholic music to best make spiritual progress.

To the ancient Chinese the Element Metal (5 Elements) was associated with the ‘Divine.’ The use of Bells in ancient Chinese ritual music was intimately associated with the cult of Ancestors, i.e. with the most spiritual of all musics (sacred music). In those days there were two types of bells:- Orchestral Bells (of short duration) and Temple Bells which were made to have a very long sustain with a warm, rich sound.

At the very start of a healing session I begin by preparing myself and praying that I may be of service to the patient and the Healing Angels. This involves becoming very still and communing with the Cosmic Christ Spirit in the Temple of Healing on the higher spiritual planes as well as making contact with those ‘spirit’ healers of the Great White Brotherhood, and other spirit guides with whom I work, each one of which specialises in a different kind of healing. At this point I also play one of the ‘Space – Cleansing’ Bowls from my collection. This has a dual purpose. One is to cleanse the space; to remove all of the existing energies in the room, whether good or bad, from the previous activities that occupied the room. Being as commencing from that moment the only appropriate energies are those that surround the patient. As these take the centre stage they become easier to focus upon. Two is to hold the patient under the Light of the Christ Star – under the Healing Ray from the Healing Temple in the ‘world of spirit.’ At this initial point I would also consider whether, according to my observations, the client had an affinity with either of the three major paths:- Karma Marga, Bhakti Marga, or Jnana Marga, as this would affect the type of treatment given.

Next I play through a specially selected set of 5 pairs of small Yang bowls placed upon the floor in the shape of an upward pointing triangle around the patient’s head. These start from around the level of their shoulders – one beside each ear – and then move upwards towards a point where the top pair are besides one another. This serves to balance left and right hemispheres of the brain. Certain psychoacoustical properties of the singing bowls are exploited here. Namely, Heterodyning. These pairs produce slow beats that can be imagined as pulsing down the patient’s entire auric body. These slow pulses vibrate at less than 8 cps and therefore synchronise with both Alpha and Theta brainwave states – leading to altered states of consciousness. These slow pulses also help the patient to relax and begin to ‘surrender’ to these powerfully tuned sounds. These Yang pairs are placed in an ascending order of pitch and beginning from the left hand side whilst the right hand side bowl is generally the higher pitched of the two in the pair. There is also something of a link here with ‘alternative audition’ as developed by Dr. Lefebeure.

Whilst this opening ritual section is taking place, I begin to clairvoyantly look at the patient’s chakras and start to diagnose their condition alongside the causes of the inharmony. I am also considering which individual sound requirements are necessary to assist in moving them towards a more harmonious state of health. At this stage I’m also noticing whether the patient responds more favourably to the sounding of any one pair of Yang bowls being played. This can also provide certain diagnostic indications.

Next, I select a bowl to work upon the Throat Chakra. I have four throat chakra bowls. I make my choice by selecting the bowl that produces the desired Colour i.e. Blue, Green, White or Gold. I then play the bowl, or combination of bowls, and direct the Colour Healing Ray to the patient’s throat chakra and from there it will extend throughout their entire aura.

This concludes the opening section of the treatment, which is the same for all clients. From this point onwards I select from the remaining 40 to 50 bowls those which I perceive will assist in the treatment alongside working with my intuition which, transcending deductive reasoning processes, can act in an instant.

Regarding the Colours:- with the Throat Chakra bowls I choose Blue for it’s soothing effect whilst Green would be used if more of a cleansing treatment is required. Blue is also used if the patient’s condition consists of considerable pain. Blue creates a very peaceful vibration and this would also be used, therefore, if a large aspect of the treatment for the condition consisted of this quality of deep peace, tranquillity, or serenity. For instance, in such cases, I would often follow the Blue Throat Chakra Bowl (‘Song of the Crystal’ Bowl) with the ‘Infinite Peace’ Bowl. Such conditions often require some treatment at the Solar Plexus Chakra and I would then choose a Solar Plexus Bowl which also produces Blue on the inner planes – such as ‘Kuntazangmo’ Bowl – or a special matched pair. In cases of obsession, I have a very rare and special Bowl (‘Panic Bowl’) which, traditionally, was created for this very purpose. It is also called ‘Silver Flame’ Bowl because it channels the Silver Ray which is used in such drastic circumstances. This same bowl may also help with certain ‘relationship issues’ (unhealthy psychic attachments etc) as well as certain ear disorders.

The spiritual healer themselves must be in touch with this deep inner peace of the spirit. It is also very important to remember often that the Great Healer in Life is the Cosmic Christ Spirit of Divine Love. Accordingly, whilst we must also use our minds and willpower, yet the role of the Christ spirit within our heart must never be underestimated or overlooked. Using these sounds of such remarkable stillness, linked to meditation and other spiritual exercises, assists in leading the client into contact with their own deepest spiritual Centre – the I AM – the Universal Cosmic Christ Spirit. Sometimes I will silently chant certain simple, archetypal, spiritual affirmations such as ” I AM Divine Peace;” or “I AM Divine Love” etc, with the appropriate bowl, colour ray treatment, and spiritual vibration, according to the need of the patient. On other such similar occasions, I will also use a specific Tibetan singing bowl (e.g. “Audience with the Master Bowl”) in order to facilitate a meeting with the Higher Self of the patient – the God-Self within; with their inner teacher (In-Tuition); with their personal spirit guide or current spirit helper, or even their spiritual Master – whether known to them or not!

Sometimes a treatment might require the energy of a particular Element :- Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. Certain bowls are attuned to (or especially designed for entering communion with) one of these five elements and accordingly will be selected for the patient at an appropriate moment of their treatment. Added to this, there are also a variety of techniques for playing the bowls and these several techniques also possess a connection to the several Elements. These Five Elements can also be connected with both Colours and with Planetary Rays and these associations provide other ways of applying the energies of the different Elements. In remote antiquity these Elements were also related to certain spiritual Initiations. These ‘initiations’ are given by Life itself and are not the ‘property’ of any one Spiritual/religious School or group. Therefore, we may be passing the tests of one or more of these ‘Elements’ at any one point in our life. Correspondingly, the treatment will also take this into account when determining upon the course of the treatment for the individual patient. Needless to say, it is something of a prerequisite that the healer have some sort of affinity with these tests, ideally through having passed them themselves, either during this incarnation or in several past incarnations.

During some sessions a sense of security may sometimes be required and this is achieved through predictability; through striking the bowls very regularly – say every 30 beats or 20 beats or whatever, sometimes, also, gradually increasing the speed of such repetitions. Otherwise, this technique may be used in order to energise the patient or strengthen the effect through the power of rhythmic repetition.

Nothing is ‘THE answer!’ We find a Trinity in Tibetan Buddhism based upon three possible reactions to anything. (1) I love this sound. I want more! (2) I hate this sound. Take it away. Stop it immediately! (3) I don’t know whether I like this sound or not. So, there is never one answer for all people. These three reactions can then be likened to one of three energies within each one of us :- Love (attraction); Will (repulsion), and Wisdom (confusion), or, to put it another way, Thinking, Feeling and Willing. Accordingly, to the ancient wise men of India, there were three main Paths :- Bhakti Marga, Karma Marga and Jnana Marga. A patient might be learning lessons or otherwise evolving along any one or other of these main paths. The treatment will also vary because of this factor. That is to say that Will people, for instance, are generally attracted to deeper sounds and stillness-silence. According to how far they have evolved through initiations along the Will Ray, so the planetary energies needed will vary because of what is emphasised and correspondingly unemphasised. These planetary qualities are found in certain bowls and also linked to certain chakras.

The sound healing session will close by returning to the Yang pairs again only this time playing them in a Descending order and beginning with the Right hand bowl first. However, sometimes it is necessary to play these in an Ascending order. Certain additional variations can occur during this closing ritual depending upon the perceived needs of the patient. Generally speaking, I could say that either a ‘cooling down’ or a ‘re-energising’ approach would predominate. This is related to the degree of sound stimulation taking place plus the addition of extra bowls and other techniques applied during this closing process. In order to bring the energy level of the patient back for functioning in the physical body, it is helpful to use this combination of different Yang pairs, either in a DESCENDING (centring, ‘back to earth’ – grounding) pattern or in an ASCENDING one (uplifting and revitalising). This can also, effectively, consist of approximating either an Ascending or Descending musical interval along with the esoteric significant meaning of the interval(s).

Finally, I end by playing an ancient Tibetan Meditation cymbal (Ting-Shag) three times. Before starting I explain to the patient that this particular sound will signal the end of my treatment and that they may then gradually begin to resume their life.

Basically, I’ve been taught that all dis-ease starts in the soul and only finally manifests as an illness. Sound works upon these ‘inner’ levels. ‘Dis-ease’ can be seen to mean being ‘out-of-tune’ with ourselves; not in touch with the deepest truth of our innermost being. During a sound healing session, therefore, it is my purpose to see what has caused the imbalance and strive to strengthen the patient’s own ‘inner note’ or to provide a means whereby they can be otherwise reconnected to their essential being.  Certain of my singing bowls can assist in exposing the patient to such an intimate contact or reconnection. I also believe that Love is the creative power of the universe and that many diseases arise when we succeed in cutting ourselves off from this Divine Source of Love. Many sound – healing sessions, therefore, will involve working with singing bowls which focus those energies concerned with soul lessons around the Heart and Solar Plexus chakras i.e. working with those chakras found within the body or torso, whilst the Head centres are concerned with other conditions and the throat is a halfway house.

A lot of dis-ease may also be seen to result from being distracted from the Truth of our being; distracted away from feeling okay about ourselves and in-tune with Life and Love. Giving and receiving Love. Maybe we feel unlovable because we’re unattractive (cultural ‘norms’, or ‘bad press’ from a disgruntled partner/ relationship) or because we want to please others so as to be ‘loved’ by them. But we make mistakes and then, being fearful that we’ll be disapproved of again, we ‘hide’ behind loutish behaviour, or appearing tough and unemotional, hopefully to protect our delicate feelings of vulnerability. But it only makes matters worse. For by appearing to be invulnerable, others feel that they can hit us harder before it hurts. So it is that we get more hurt and so feel more unlovable and unattractive! Desire is at the root of this. The desire for Love. For Love is Life and therefore, lack of love is death and so dis-ease. We are ’out of tune’ with our True Self which, being at-One with the Universal Being, has no desires; for it possesses All, being inseparable from the All; the One!

The desire to avoid ever being hurt again may lead us to develop our power of will. To control ourselves, our emotions, and so, too, to control others – to dominate them. Ultimately, we feel miserably isolated because we can no longer ‘receive’ from Life unless we are in control. We are blocked off from our feelings and so from Love.

So it is that ACCEPTANCE is a large part of healing, for most disease is a result of our inability to adapt to, or otherwise accept, changes in our lives. The peaceful, relaxing sounds of the bowls assist us to allow ourselves to briefly ‘let go’ of our controlling mechanism and simply ‘go-with-the-flow’ of life – ‘Accepting’ all that happens in perfect Trust and finding that real everlasting Happiness.

I leave lots of ‘space’ for the bowls to work their magic. I mostly allow the sound of the bowls to disappear into the silence. That was part of their original use – to follow the sound into the silence; to begin to hear the ‘Inaudible’ sound, or Anahata Nada, as it’s called in India. The Karmapa (head of the Kagyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism) when he was alive heard a group of Westerners playing singing bowls and he said that this “sound of the singing bowl is the sound of the Void.” The Divine Truth of the Void (the Buddhist conception of the ultimate nature of reality. Refers specifically to the lack of inherently existent self in all phenomena and beings). In the silence of our own innermost being, we learn and discover about our true selves. So, this is also music of self-discovery or self – development. The answer to all our problems lies within. When we have stilled all our outer activity, we can begin to hear the voice of our own conscience – the voice of Wisdom, which can guide us into more harmonious ways of living. The stillness within the bowl sounds provide us with such an opportunity during the sound-healing session.

The form of trance-work that I did was known as ‘light trance’ or ‘overshadowing’ and, nowadays, as ‘channelling.’ This means that I am always fully conscious whenever a discarnate entity wishes to communicate with other beings living upon this earth plane through my body. It also means that I can function in such a manner whilst performing an individual sound-healing session. In this way I consciously work alongside of the members of the Great White Brotherhood from the spirit world – with whom I’m attached throughout this lifetime – who specialise in various healing methods, plus the other healing guides from the discarnate spiritual group to which I belong. This is the group of brothers whom I first encountered at the age of 16 and not to be confused with the White Eagle Lodge.

Regarding the use of Colours alongside the sounding of any one bowl – sometimes the colour used is the same as that of the bowl; sometimes it is the colour Ray of the planetary Ray to which the bowl is attuned. For example, I have a bowl (“Ecstasy – Song of Nirvana” Bowl) which carries the energies of that most mystical and spiritual of planets:- Neptune, which also has a connection with the Seventh Ray of Higher psychic development and so, by association, with the Amethyst Ray. This colour can be used for the heart chakra for certain treatments, whilst this particular bowl itself also affects the heart chakra – although the colours which it normally channels are those of Gold and Rose.

A rather rare and specially developed bowl (called a FOUNTAIN BOWL) seems most likely to have been used partly to demonstrate the acoustical properties of the bowls. A marking inside the bowl indicates the precise amount of water to be placed inside it and once struck it produces four little ‘fountains’ of water. Just as the water is made to form a very particular pattern and is excited by the vibrations of the sound of the singing bowl, so too, the ‘waters’ within our bodies are likewise affected and change the form of their rhythmic patterns in order to conform to the wave-like sound-patterns of the singing bowls. In music there is a similar phenomenon known as ‘Resonance.’

Similar remarkable demonstrations of the power of sound to affect physical matter was demonstrated by Ernst Chladni in 1802 (‘die Akustik’) with his famous ‘Chladni plate.’ In a sense bowls or bells are nothing more than a flanged circular Chladni plate.

All is potentially present in the Chladni plate only different tones elicit each pattern; placing an emphasis upon certain harmonics which are ever-present within the plate. In the 1960’s the Swiss anthroposophist Hans Jenny developed experiments furthering the work of Chladni and Jenny’s wonderfully fascinating findings can be discovered within his two books called ‘Cymatics.’ For those unfamiliar with this subject; Chladni discovered (whilst he was investigating Lichtenburg figures) that stroking the edge of a metal plate, sprinkled with powder, using a violin bow, produced geometric figures which were altered according to the particular harmonic(s) of the plate stimulated. The vibratory movement caused the powder to move from the antinodes to the nodal lines, and Chladni was thus enabled to lay down the experimental principles of acoustics. This technique allowed one to actually ‘see’ the powerful effects of sound upon substance. We may contemplate, perhaps, that the bowls are made of seven metals with the ability of each metal to resonate or ‘channel’ inner energies (7 planets) whilst these 7 metals also exist inside our bodies. As the bowl resonates to a different tone/pitch so, too, it stimulates different overtone patterns, even as the several metals with which the bowl is comprised may resonate to different frequencies producing individual metal patterns. Certain bowls have a distinguishable predominance of one metal, most commonly gold (Sun) or silver (Moon). So that, in the case of golden bowls, the dynamic created primarily affects the blood circulation. But the heart above all, as the central organ of the circulation, shows this influence of gold.

In a like manner, we can see that the Sound coming through US awakens various aspects of our Consciousness/Life. Chakras are like Bowls/Chladni plates and when specific vibrations are applied to them, then certain aspects of consciousness are awakened. Listening in meditation to the ‘inner sound’ (NADA) rearranges the various energy fields (aspects of consciousness/being) within our total being. During this practise our physical, emotional and mental bodies are quiescent, or still, (nodes) and only the spiritual levels of our being are Active. These are the least physical (4th Chakra – Heart – UPwards) levels of our total being, and so we are active on Invisible and Inaudible planes of Life.

© Copyright 1998 by Frank Perry. All rights reserved. Revised 1999.

© Frank Perry, 1999. All of these articles are copyright. They may individually be copied and shared with others in a spirit of knowledge-sharing and fair play, but they may not be sold, printed or reproduced in quantity or changed in form without the permission of the copyright holder. None of this material may be reproduced in workshops or lectures of any kind unless quotes are credited or properly attributed.

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