Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How Does This Music Make You Feel?

Snippets from the following video are going around the 'net as a hoax, (No, the machine is not real. It is a clever animation.) But that's not the point.

This is the full video, and when it takes you to YouTube, you will see a link to a site where you can buy a DVD that includes it. I think you may want to do that.

This video simply makes me happy! It improved my mood tremendously and made me physically feel better. So let's do an experiment. Would you mind watching it (with full attention, please) and commenting to let me know how it affected you?

Ideally watch it when you are alone and can give it your full attention. Please be open to the possibilities. Then please share your impressions, and tell us whether you found viewing it to be a healing experience.

Hint: It is so amazing that you probably need to watch it once all the way through to satisfy your left-brain curiosity, then watch it again just for pleasure.

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.

Sharing Traditional Wisdom | Blog Your Blessings

In the last few decades, many of the Earth's most profound wisdom and healing traditions have come to be openly shared. Often they were closely guarded secrets until recent years. The Internet now makes such information, and the teachers to learn it from, easy to find.

Techniques for healing with sound are among the oldest in the world. Yet even a generation ago, such knowledge was either disregarded by the mainstream, hidden by traditional healers, or both.

I consider the wide availability of such knowledge---and the traditional tools and methods for applying it---to be a very great blessing indeed.

How about you?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Humming Your Way to Happiness--Review

The book, Humming Your Way to Happiness, is actually supposed to be about harmonic toning/chanting. I guess the publisher thought this title would have more appeal, which sort of shows you how much confidence they had in the book. The subtitle is "An introduction to Tuva and Overtone singing from around the world."

There is some interesting information in the book, and I'm not sorry I bought it (I guess), but to me it reads like a school term paper. It appears that someone who does not actually know how to do harmonic singing did some research and mashed it all into a very short book.

A clue to me was that the author referred to Tuvans, the residents of the country Tuva, as "Tuvinians." Uh-oh. I've been a Tuvaphile ever since the book, Tuva or Bust, was published (late 1980s, I think). I've got several CDs of Tuvan music and have read various books on various cultural topics that mention Tuvans. I've never heard them called "Tuvinians."

There are a few pages that describe how to do throat-singing, but...throat-singing is not an activity you can do without hearing it. And there's no CD with this book.

So, if you have bought and worked with the Harmonic Overtones book and CDs, have watched the Ghengis Blues DVD, have worn out your Hun Huur Tu and David Hykes CDs, and you are still craving more info on the history of throat-singing, you may well want to buy Humming Your Way to Happiness. Otherwise, I don't recommend it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Friends Who Experiment with Sound. What a Blessing!

Talk about blessings! (as I am, for Blog Your Blessings Sunday) I'm pretty excited right now about my friends, new and old, who are willing to experiment (and let me experiment on them) with sound for healing. What great people to know!

We've been working with all kinds of sounds for shamanic journeying (which is usually done for the purpose of healing people, animals, or the environment). Recently we experimented with harmonic toning for self-healing and for healing others. In the past we have worked with Tibetan bowls.

In December we'll work with the sound of the didgeridu. At least with recordings, maybe with some real didgidus. What a blessing it is to know people who are willing to try new things and new experiences!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Blog Your Blessings---Harmonic Toning

Today I feel blessed by a wonderful experience last night. I used the Harmonic Overtones book and CD (reviewed in my last post) in my Shamanism Meetup group with wonderful and unexpected results.

Although harmonic toning has been used by shamans for thousands of years, I was not sure how receptive my group would be to learning it. I've tried a couple of times to teach them, but they didn't seem very interested---probably because they were not sure what to listen for, and I'm not very good at it.

So last night I played the Harmonic Overtones CD for them, and they were excited about it. After hearing the heavenly sounds the best harmonic toners can make, and feeling the effects, they were interested in learning.

What is even more impressive is that after journeying to the first four tracks on the main CD, and practicing along with the practice CD, they all felt healed, energized and lifted to a new spiritual level. That was truly a blessing for each person and for the group as a whole.

That brings me to the point of this post. A group of bloggers from many different religions and belief systems has formed an alliance, called Blog Your Blessings, to promote a good future for Earth and all her peoples.

Members of the group are pledged to blog about their blessings each Sunday as a way of expressing more positive energy in the world. If you are interested in the group and the Blog Your Blessings posts, you will see a list of links to the members’ blogs on the lower right corner of this page.

Blogging your blessings seems particularly appropriate at this time of year, but it is really a form of feedback to strengthen your practice of actively choosing a better future. That’s why I joined the group.

To join Blog Your Blessings, sign up at Blue Panther’s blog.

I am very grateful to have found the Blog Your Blessings group and for the work that they are doing. That’s the blessing I’m blogging about this week.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Harmonic Overtones CDs & Book (Review)

Harmonic Overtones, Magical Vibrations in Voice and Musicby Dick de Ruiter, is a great introduction to harmonic sounds and how to make overtones.

The package consists of a hardback book, packaged with two CD-ROM disks. The book is small, about the size of a CD jewel case, with 56 pages. It is beautifully designed and includes a good discography and resources such as Web addresses.

The photos are lovely (and relevant), and the concise, well-written text covers all the basics you need to know to begin overtoning. It starts with metaphysical and scientific effects of sound and moves on quickly to what overtones are, why we would want to make them, and how to get started.

As explained in my last post, you have almost certainly heard overtones, but you may not have recognized them. No amount of words can prepare you for the actual sounds, so the book includes a CD of music with overtones, including both voice and instrumental overtones.

This is probably the best recording of overtones I have, and I have at least a couple dozen recordings of Tibetan lamas, Tuvan musicians, Mongolian herdsmen, Americans who have learned overtone chanting, Bulgarian singers, and others. Some are museum-quality recordings. This is even better.

The only criticism I have of the example CD is that it mixes instruments with voice sometimes, making it just a bit less obvious that those magical sounds can be made by just one human voice. However the superb sound quality and clarity of overtones on the recordings make up for that.

The practice CD is unique as far as I know. The book tells you how to make the sounds, and then you can sing along for practice.

As Dick de Ruiter tells us in the book, making overtones is simple---but not easy. That is, the instructions are not complicated, but you do have to practice a lot, especially if you ever hope to sound as good as Dick and his fellow musicians on the CDs. They are really terrific!

The recommended price of this priceless book-and-CDs package is $23.50, but I ordered it from Amazon for much less. It is well worth the full retail price!

Dick de Ruiter has published other books and CDs on sacred sound, such as on Tibetan bowls, and he and his colleagues do a wonderful job on this and the other recording I have from them on Tibetan bowls. They also have a package on didgeridu. Theirs is truly soulful music.

The Harmonic Overtones book-and-CDs set is published by Binkey Kok Publications, Hofstede De Weide Hoek, Havelte, Holland. Watch for their other publications as well. They publish wonderful books and recordings on sounds for healing.