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Friday, May 18, 2012

What is sound?

What is sound?
Everything that moves vibrates, from the smallest molecule to the universe itself. As long as it is vibrating, it is making some kind of sound. We may not perceive the sound, as it may be below or above the threshold of our hearing. The human ear can hear sound vibrations between 20 and 20,000 cycles per second, although we also perceive sound by skin and bone conduction, ingesting and consuming it with the whole body.
Many cultures and religions revere sound so deeply as to believe it called the universe into being. For the Hindus, all was dark and quiet in the universe, until the first movement in the universe created the sound "AUM". It is the mother tone, containing the frequencies of all other sounds.
Scientific studies show that sound can produce changes in the autonomic, immune, endocrine and neuropeptide systems. Every atom, molecule, cell, gland, and organ of the human body absorbs and emits sound. The entire body, as well as our brain waves in a relaxed state, vibrates at a fundamental frequency of about 8 cycles per second, literally entraining and attuning us to the basic electromagnetic field of the earth itself!
The late Dr. Hans Jenny, a Swiss scientist, rendered vibrations into physical forms, using sand, iron filings, and other materials, creating a multitude of kaleidoscopic images. This study of patterns and shapes is called cymatics.
Many modern scientists and doctors are translating this work into medical practice. Mitchell Gaynor, M.D., director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine at the Strang-Cornell Cancer Prevention Center, and author of the new book, Sounds of Healing, uses crystal bowls and Tibetan bowls in his practice with cancer patients. He chronicles a thorough study of sound healing and a holistic approach to mind-body healing.
Dr. Gaynor refers to others who are using sound to complement their medical practice. Among them are Sir Peter Guy Manners, M.D., an English osteopath, who uses cymatic therapy to achieve a near-ideal metabolic state in a cell or organ and Jeffrey Thompson, D.C., who practices a technique called "Sonic Induction Therapy", using primordial sounds and sounds of nature to promote healing at the cellular level.

Music is organized sound. Virtually all cultures have used the powers of music therapeutically. For several hundred years, the role of music became one of entertainment. Only recently has the use of sound and music reappeared as a valuable healing mode in our western culture. Some of the most powerful music does not have a particularly pleasing melody. The goal of music therapy is to reduce stress and pain, promote deep relaxation, develop self-awareness and creativity, improve learning, and clarify personal values.

"There is more energy released in Sunrise and Sunset and times of rainbows than perhaps in any other way." Ronald P. Beesley, Creative Ethers
Sound and color are both forms of energy, which vibrate. As the vibration of sound becomes higher and lighter, the sound is transmuted into color. Steven Halpern gave a graphic example of the sound/color relationship:
"…vibrations at 1000 cycles per second are easily audible. If you double the vibrations to 2000 cycles per second, that is one octave higher. If you double it again to 4000 cycles per second, that is another octave. A normal piano spans a bit more than seven octaves. If, hypothetically, we could extend the piano keyboard another 35 to 50 octaves higher, the keys at the higher end would produce colors, rather than audible sounds, when played." (Sound Health-The Music and Sound That Makes Us Whole, p. 182-183).
An interesting side note is that if we were playing this keyboard 35 or so octaves below audible sound, we would be playing Chi, life force energy!

As the universe is composed of spinning wheels of energy, we too, at the inner core, spin seven wheel-like energy centers called chakras. They are measurable patterns of electromagnetic activity, centers for the reception, assimilation and transmission of life energies. Each chakra reflects essential aspects of consciousness, forming the master programs that govern our lives, loves, learning and illumination. Anodea Judith, in her book Wheels of Life, delivers a comprehensive treatise that is scientific, cultural, psychological, and esoteric. She writes:
"Chakras can be open, closed or any of the various stages in between. These states may be basic aspects of someone’s personality throughout most of their life, or something that changes from moment to moment, in response to a situation. An ailing chakra may be unable to change its state easily, being "stuck" in either an open or a closed state. Then the chakra needs healing, by uncovering and removing whatever is blocking it." p. 23
"…the seven major chakras are all inseparably interrelated. A block in the functioning of one chakra may affect the activity of the one above or below it. For example, one may have trouble with personal power (third chakra) because of a block in communication (fifth chakra) or vice versa. Or perhaps the real problem may lie in their heart (fourth chakra) and only manifests in these other areas because it is buried so deeply. In examining the theoretical System as a whole…and applying it to your system (lower case) as it uniquely occurs within you, one learns to sort out these subtleties and patterns and make self-improvements according to their goals." p.25
There are times when we desire our chakras to be open, when we are receiving information or healing. There are also times, as when we are in traffic, that we want some of them to be closed!
Color is visible sound, and sound is auditory color. Both light and sound affect the chakras, especially when used in conjunction. Each of the energy centers is associated with a specific tone of the musical scale and with a specific color. Red, the color that vibrates the slowest, corresponds to the root chakra. The colors follow a rainbow progression, with violet as the highest vibration, corresponding with the crown chakra.
Following is a simple correspondence chart of chakras, colors and notes.
Energy Center
1 st Root
Base of spine
Physical needs
To have
2nd Sacral
Lower abdomen
Sexuality, emotions
To feel
3rd Solar Plexus
Solar plexus
Power, vitality
To act
4th Heart
To love
5th Throat
To speak
6th Third Eye
To see
7th Crown
Top of Head
To know
Healing is the state of coming into balance and harmony with our highest purpose. Steven Halpern, composer of healing music states:
"Our bodies are genetically pre-programmed to be self-healing instruments-if we give them a chance…In my opinion, certain music heals by assisting the body to come into its natural state of balance and harmony. At this stage of research and development, it is both politically incorrect and legally irresponsible to state that a specific selection of music will heal a specific physical disease. …The common denominator in the vast majority of approaches acknowledges that the body heals itself most effectively in a state of deep relaxation. Using music to evoke "the relaxation response" is one of the simplest and most effective ways of all-but you must choose the right music… our responses to music are far more complex, subtle and far-reaching than we imagined."
Dr. Larry Dossey, well known for his studies on healing with prayer, points out the primary characteristics of "healers" by stating that they make use of a prayerful, meditative state of awareness, adopting a dispassionate, loving, and compassionate attitude toward the person in need. They go beyond the individual self-feeling united with each other and with the All. They have an immense caring and empathy for the person needing healing.
"During this state the healer most often does not consider himself or herself to be the source of the healing, but only a conduit through which the healing flows from a higher power".

When an organ or body part is healthy, it creates a natural resonant frequency in harmony with the rest of the body. When the vibration of a part of the body is out of harmony, we have dis-ease. With dis-ease, a different sound pattern is established in the affected part of the body. When sound is projected into the dis-eased area, correct harmonic patterns are restored.
There are many methods of healing with sound. Mantras and chants have been used for thousands of years. Many acoustic instruments are used in a variety of ways to effect change. The human voice is perhaps the most powerful musical instrument.
Fabien Maman, in his book The Role of Music in the Twenty-First Century, gives dramatic accounts of the effects of sound on cancer cells, using various acoustic instruments and notes, as well as the human voice. He has incorporated the use of sound, color and movement in his work, addressing the subtle bodies, where dis-ease is created.

Crystals are fossilized water, formed when water combines with an element under certain conditions of pressure, temperature and energy. As a crystal, the element is able to express itself as a more unified and ordered being.
Silica sand, combined with water becomes quartz crystal. Quartz crystals have many physical properties. They amplify, transform, store, focus, and transfer energy. We see the results in microphones, radio and television equipment, timepieces, laser tools, and computers to name a few.
Our bodies, too, are crystalline in structure. When working with crystals, there may be profound effects on the organs, tissues, and cells, as well as the circulatory, endocrine, and metabolic systems.
Thoughts are energy forms. When thought energy interacts with a crystal, those thoughts are changed to more harmonic forms, which change brainwave frequencies, showing possible alterations in consciousness. Thus, the power of positive intention or affirmation combined with the use of crystals provides remarkable healing results.

Crystal bowls are made from 99.992% pure crushed quartz and heated to about 4000 degrees in a centrifugal mold.
They are available in clear or frosted bowls in a variety of sizes, ranging from 6 to 24 inches in diameter. The bowls emit a powerful, pure resonance. The larger bowls are much more reverberant, with the tone lingering longer, simply because of the size and amount of crystal. The clear bowls, somewhat more expensive, are more readily available in smaller sizes.
The size of the bowl does not necessarily determine its note, although the larger bowls sound lower octaves and notes. Each bowl is tested with digital technology to identify its sound. One will have a sense of which tone "feels" most congruent with individual needs or desires. The notes, C, D, E, F, G, A, B correspond with one’s energy centers or chakras.
Some bowls harmonize with other bowls, and when both are played simultaneously, the effect is exquisite and synergistic.

As thoughtforms are energy, the intention with which one approaches healing work is of utmost importance. Intention is a clearly formed thought, a prayer of sorts, and is the real healer. Of course, group intention is even more powerful.
 The Five Levels of Sound Healing
1. Audible Sound
2. Emotional Sound
3. Mental Sound
4. Spiritual Sound
5. Cosmic Sound
Audible Sound
Sound has two aspects, its physical aspect and its subtle aspect. The physical aspect of sound is the sound that we hear. It is created by sound waves vibrating in our ears and our body.
Low-pitched sound effects the denser parts of our body, the bones and muscles. Low-pitched sound effects the lower parts of the body. High pitched sound effects the finer parts of the body, the skin and the nerves. High pitched sound also effects the head and upper body.
Different rhythms effect our heartbeat and our breathing pattern. Slow tempo music will slow down the heartbeat, while fast tempo music will speed it up.
Emotional Sound
We all have an underlying emotional vibration. Our emotional energy field is formed by the main emotions we have experienced during our life. Psychics will often perceive these emotions as colours in the auric field around the body
In Chinese medicine there are said to be five elements. Each element has an association with an organ in the body and an emotion. This emotion will be heard in the sound of the voice.
Wood - Liver – Anger – Shouting
Fire – Heart – Joy/Lack of Joy – Laughing/Lack of Laugh
Earth – Spleen – Sympathy – Singing
Metal – Lungs – Grief – Weeping
Water – Kidneys – Fear – Groaning
Chinese medicine uses Six Healing Sounds to treat these imbalances in the elements.
Mental Sound
When we think positive or negative thoughts it creates a subtle vibration in our body and in the energy field around our bodies. All of us have a mental energy field around us, which is created from our persistent thoughts.
The Buddha said that each of us is the result of our past thoughts -
“Our present thoughts create our future life. Our life is created by our mind. If a person speaks or acts with a mind grounded in fear suffering will follow him as surely as summer follows spring. If a person speaks or acts with a mind grounded in love happiness will follow him as surely as his shadow never leaves him.” (Dhammapada)
Negative thoughts towards other people can have a harmful effect on our bodies.
In the book ‘The Magus of Strovolos’ the spiritual healer Daskalos describes a man he knew who had violent and hateful thoughts towards people in his village. Daskalos saw these thoughts as energetic snakes coming out of the man’s heart that sought to attack other people. The ‘snakes’ would bounce off people with healthy energy fields and come back to the angry man and wrap themselves around his heart. Eventually the man died of a heart attack!
Spiritual Sound
Great spiritual teachers emanate a powerful subtle energy. In India there are said to be two types of mantra, an inert mantra and a spiritually charged mantra.
An inert mantra is one learnt from a book or from an ordinary teacher. A spiritually charged mantra is one given to us by a realised spiritual teacher. The spiritually charged mantra contains the power of the teacher’s spiritual realisation and is transmitted to the student when they are ready.
There are many occasions where a person has been enlightened by hearing a word or mantra from a spiritual master. When siting in the presence of the great Saint Ramana Maharshi people found all their questions answered inwardly and many were healed of their illnesses.
Cosmic Sound
In Sanskrit the name for the heart chakra is ‘Anahata’. The word ‘Anahata’ means un-struck or unbeaten. ‘Anahata Nad’ or ‘Anahata Shabda’ refers to the Vedic concept of unstruck sound, the sound of the celestial realm.
“Anahata is so called because it is in this place that munis or sages hear that sound (Anahata – Shabda) which comes without the striking of any two things together.” (John Woodroffe p120).
A muni is an ascetic, a great sage. The word means "he who is silent". The inner sound heard in deep meditation is said to be ‘Aum’ by the sages of India, ‘Hu’ by the Sufis.
Aum is called the ‘Shabda Brahman,’ eternal sound or God as sound/vibration. According to the Vedas the entire universe has emanated from this primordial sound.
“The Supreme Being has been called by various names in different languages, but the mystics have known him as Hu, the natural name, not man-made, the only name of the Nameless, which all nature constantly proclaims. The sound Hu is most sacred………for it is the origin and end of every sound as well as the background of each word. The word Hu is the spirit of all sounds and of all words, and is hidden within them all, as the spirit is hidden in the body.” Hazrat Inayat Khan
The Voice
The scriptures of India (Vedas) state that music provides the vehicle for the manifestation of the cosmic sound. The voice is the most potent medium for the expression of the cosmic sound. No instrument can express so perfectly all the delicate subtleties of spiritual feelings.

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