Sunday, November 25, 2007

Singing Bowls, a Practical Handbook--Review

Singing Bowls, a Practical Handbook, by Evan Rudy Jansen, begins with a discussion of the mystery of Tibetan singing bowls. Apparently only a few Tibetan lamas have ever admitted to any outsiders that the bowls are used in private meditation.

The author then explains that in Tibet and many other parts of the world, the mythologies state that the world was created by sound. Often the ancient descriptions of the nature of matter are very close to those of modern physics.

The book briefly discusses the way shamans use sound for healing,
and moves on to describe how people today are more and more using sound to heal themselves and others.

The book also talks about the amazing qualities of some of the bowls. When filled with water to a certain level and then gently rubbed or struck, some bowls cause the water to rise up like a fountain.

There is a brief discussion of harmony and harmonics. Then Jansen talks about how the different sounds of the bowls affect the body. She discusses the use of sound by shamans and mystics to change the wave patterns of the brain to achieve trance states. (Medical research shows that simply experiencing trance states is healing.)

Jansen recommends that people choose their own bowls after playing many bowls. The sound of each bowl is individual. You should keep searching until you find the bowl that is right for you. The best bowl for you may not be pretty and may even make a discordant sound.

She recommends choosing a bowl whose sound touches you emotionally (in a good way), whether or not anyone else would describe the sound as pleasing. She describes the recommended selection process in detail.

The important thing is how the vibrations affect you. For that reason, even a deaf person can benefit from playing a Tibetan bowl.

The book includes a short chapter on the many types of strikers/beaters and how to rub the rim of the bowl to get it to sing.

There is quite a bit of information in the book on additional ways to explore healing sounds with a Tibetan bowl, including filling them with water and striking them, harmonic toning across/into the edge of the bowl, and working with several bowls at once. I'm looking forward to experimenting with water and toning.

Jansen herself does not seem to use the bowls for healing. Her advice to experiment and experience what actually happens rather than working from theory is a good one.

There is a chapter on tingshas (tiny cymbals used at the beginning and end of meditation), bells, and similar Tibetan items. Jansen states that tingshas and bells are used for summoning spirits. While she does not explain the purpose of healing with bowls, she does say that tingshas are used to heal holes in the aura.

This is a short book, only 96 pages, that I bought on Amazon for less than $10. Whether you work with Tibetan bowls for healing, or you are simply interested in knowing more about the origin and uses of Tibetan bowls, bells, and tingshas, it is well worth reading.

The book does not, however, give specific techniques for healing. Those, you will have to either discover for yourself or find elsewhere.


Unknown said...

That is indeed an interesting introduction to the Bowls. However, I would like to offer a much more in depth exploration of healing with the Sacred Sound Instruments as can be found in the home study course, Ancient Sounds for a New Age:Introduction to Sacred Sound Instruments by Diane Mandle. It not only gives a historical and energetic background on the instruments, but also is a workbook that takes the reader through activities that will help them use the instruments for healing and personal transformation. It can be purchased on

SandyCarlson said...

Sounds good to me! (Pardon the pun.) I think I'll have a read.