Not long after I started studying spiritual healing, there was a workshop at our church. A professional musician spent a few hours trying to teach us to drum from written notation. Then he turned us loose to play with all the instruments he had brought, including several large Tibetan bowls.
As healers we all gravitated to the bowls. We took turns lying on the floor surrounded by people playing bowls at our head and feet and on our chest and abdomen. We were hooked.
That evening some of us went to a program where a touring group of Tibetan lamas and monks chanted, including some of the wonderful low, rumbling Tibetan harmonic chants. And they played cymbals and huge horns over six feet long.
It was heaven. I took teachings from the lamas all that week.
Before conducting the White Tara Initiation, the senior lama prepared himself by praying alone before the beautiful, elaborate altar. First, he chimed a tiny set of cymbals. I later learned that they were called tingsha or tengsha and were used to clear the aura and the space nearby before meditation.
Later I spent many hours in a shop, trying out every Tibetan bowl over and over, until I found one that seemed right for me (and that I could afford). I ended up going back to also buy the cheapest bowl, which no one at the shop had been able to play, but which had played for me. I guess it chose me.
The effect on people when you play Tibetan bowls for them is amazing. I began studying as much about the bowls as I could.
I learned that chiming the bowls (gently tapping with a padded wooden striker) breaks up blockages in the human energy system, and rimming the bowls (running a smooth, unpadded wooden dowel around the rim) creates a sound that aligns the subtle bodies (or auric layers) of all who hear them.
I also learned to treat them with respect.