by Wendy Hiltz
It was a watershed moment in my life. Someone at a class placed a Tibetan Bowl on the base of my spine and struck it. What occurred in that moment was like an awakening in my whole being. The sound of that bowl vibrated throughout my whole body andechoed back to the beginning of time. There would be no looking back.
I’d never even heard of Tibetan bowls, knew nothing of their culture, but what had transpired there in that room was so incredible, so transformational, I had to know more. I started surfing the internet, and reading everything I could find until I discovered a course I could order online. It was a book and CD set by Diane Mandel from Sound Energy Healing at Encinitas, California. And so my path continued.
I ordered my first bowl over the phone, listening carefully to the sounds of multiple bowls until I found the one which resonated within me at my core. I can’t begin to explain the connection. These bowls sing the sound of forever, a sacred remembering of who we are, at our deepest level. They vibrate through the body and harmonize with the vibration that is the very essence of our existence. From within their culture they are said to emit the voice of God. These are the mysteries of life, the things we all have a sense of, but that science can’t quite contain or define as yet.
“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” God “spoke” the whole universe into existence; divine utterance, divine sound if you will, is the whole of creation.
I’m no physicist but it seems by my very limited understanding, that from the perspective of vibration or frequency and modern science, this is not so very far fetched. All life, all things from the smallest particles we can define, are vibration, by modern science’s definition. In his wonderful book The World is Sound Nada Brahma, Joachim Ernst-Berendt lays a framework of evidence to prove the whole world is not only sound, it is harmony.
Throughout all time, in all things, it begins with a restless stirring, an intention which moves outward into the universe in waves of creation. From the tiniest seeds in the ground, to the most preliminary ideas, all things begin with this stirring of life, of creation; vibration.
California was a world away from me both geographically and financially and yet there I was at my first class with people from around the continent, who, like me, shared the sense of something far greater than ourselves. We were all on a journey. I had no hope or intention of returning for advanced studies. It was too far and required far too much investment… that is until I had the opportunity to work with a woman whose body was overcome with cancer. Being witness to the healing nature of these bowls with someone so engulfed in pain was motivation to enlist God to move heaven and earth, to allow me to learn more, to become more qualified, to make this therapy available, and one day to have insurance cover their costs.
What makes the bowls so unique is that there is no touching required. The sound vibrations from the bowls wave over and through a person’s body and mind, soothing, caressing, and healing on every level. The complex harmonics affect brainwave state, synchronize respiration and heart rate, offering both deep restorative relaxation, and triggering the release of chemicals and endorphins which are natural healing agents and pain relievers. They awaken a deep state of connection with the soul, the diamond self, which inspires a state of calm and acceptance at a very deep level.
In a Thank You from the woman’s husband after her passing, this note, “You helped her find peace,” brought me to tears. What more do any of us seek? It is this gift I extend. It is this gift that the sound of the bowls makes available to us. It is not external, not something they do to us. Rather it is that which is already there within us, that which we have forgotten, that they raise within our consciousness and physical bodies. They reveal the conditional disharmony or “dis” ease and help to restore a deep state of calm and harmony with all things, a state of Wellness*. In his book The Healing Power of Sound, Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, Oncologist and head of Integrative Medicine at New York City’s Strang Cancer Prevention Centre, speaks to this benefit mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Furthermore, he has documented research showing a 50% decrease in recovery time with chemo patients who experienced his sound therapy.
The healing sound of these bowls has also been associated physically with relief from pain, decrease in blood pressure, an increase in mental clarity, an overall sense of well being. They have been noted to ease emotional trauma, depression, and addictive behaviours. Dr. Jeffrey Thomson of Encinitas, California, is a neuro acoustic researcher who has a huge body of work on the effects of sound on the brain, which is fascinating reading but really, sound scientists are too many to mention, the science of sound is many lifetimes of work.
This science drew me like a moth to fire, always seeking more intellectual knowledge, more scientific proof, a way to prove validity to those who thought I’d gone off the deep end. Now having practiced for four years, I’ve come to the place where I know that all the science in the world will never prove or disprove a personal experience of transformation. There are those who’d dispute even cold hard scientific fact, and on the other hand there are those who’ve actually experienced a session.
During group sessions I’ve worried that people were too far away to hear the bowls and yet consistently they’ve have had wondrous experiences (scientifically, sound travels through water five times more effectively than air and since we are mostly water the sound waves travel through the body very efficiently). When working on people, I’ve witnessed reluctant silence from a bowl over an emotionally broken heart, that once it is moved to a different part of the body will sing, the same for physical injuries. The sound from the bowls inform me over and over in multiplicities of ways. It never ceases to astound me, the gifts of deep listening.
In the private therapy I provide, the bowls are placed around and on the body. I play first to ease the client into a state of calm awareness, a deeply relaxed state. As I play, I notice the areas where the sound of the bowls exhibits different characteristics, the volume drops, the length of the wave is inhibited, there is a lack of harmony to the sound, all of these things act as clues and then I begin my work of supporting, strengthening, restoring harmony, finding balance. Over the course of my advanced studies, Diane Mandle and Richard Rudis taught us many skills to assist in this process, but the bowls are truly the greatest teachers. They teach a deep listening, a deep awareness of the sacredness of life. In the Himalayan region, they are considered instruments of compassion and as such deepen the connection between practitioner and client to a soulful level. I believe we are all connected in this way. The bowls, when combined with a practitioner who is in integrity with the tradition from which they are born, can lift the veil between and allow for a process of transformation to occur literally before our very eyes.
It is with great humility that I practice this therapy, humility for the gift it is to witness this transformation. This is deeply sacred work. It is with the same humility I teach the workshop Engaging the Sound of Forever. Not from a place of knowledge or qualification, but rather as a means to deepen the seeking with which these instruments should be approached. There are things of this world which go deeper still than brain wave state, endorphins, and chemicals. When we attend to these things, we recognize awakening and healing on a very deep level.
To understand Wendy Hiltz’s definition
of Wellness* go to her website www.touchofsunrise.com. Wendy works only with ancient authenticated bowls and offers private or group sessions. She will be presenting Engaging the Sound of Forever at the Quintessence Essential Oils weekend retreat March 26-28 at Cedar Lodge (near Saskatoon). Come seeking transformation. For further information and registration contact Sandy at (306) 736-2468 or Phyllis at (306) 244-1478.