Just a little background on sound baths…
This is a photograph from the sound bath I attended in this blog entry. As you can see, there are a variety of instruments that are used throughout the session. While I did have some knowledge about isochronic tones and binaural beats going in, I never truly had an experience with them until I attended a sound bath. Tones and vibrations can generate profound, deep meditations and healing, similar to ayahuasca. The engineers/sound shamans manipulate the tones in order to target various brain waves. Theta waves are the waves in the brain associated with connection to your higher self and are present in the brain during lucid dreaming, astral projection, channeling and other metaphysical experiences. They use a combination of their intuition and sound engineering skills to trigger and induce deep meditation, relaxation and healing (both physical and emotional). Keeping all of this in mind, here is my written experience of my first sound bath.
I attended my first sound healing tonight. George, a sound engineer, sat was next to me during the session. There were all kinds of instruments in the room. I sat on the floor close to the facilitator. Everyone was on the floor with a yoga mat, blanket and pillow. We got comfortable and the facilitator invited each of us to pull a card from a bundle.
I do not recall the animals or themes of everyone’s cards, but I do remember I picked the hummingbird, which represents completeness. I also pulled the hawk card, which represents clarity. I remember George picking an animal, which represented courage and the facilitator picking the wolf.
The experience began and I relaxed in my meditation position. The first sounds began. I couldn’t help but imagine the gentle pulsating waves of a lake hitting the shore. My thoughts kind of drifted off at first. “I’m a little cold”, “I wonder if my leg is going to fall asleep like this”… Chatter, chatter, chatter…
Sounds flowed in and out gently synchronizing with one another and then sometimes falling out of sync and into sync with another sound. The sounds flowed easily around me. I noticed that some of the sounds were more pleasant to my ears than others. I noticed, however, that the less desirable sounds also flowed through and around me. I thought to myself that this type of sound therapy could assist me in coping with my anxiety/sound hypersensitivity because it could help me to work through sounds and situations that are anxiety provoking for me.
One instrument evoked the thought of completeness, my card. I thought of what the facilitator said before he began and how it applied to my life. This was interesting to me because I always say or think that I can’t be ready for things in my life because I don’t feel “whole,” yet he had explained during the card selection that we are never truly whole and that is it natural for humans to seek this perfection while simultaneously denying the existence of perfection itself. I also thought about how my other card, clarity, comes into play with regard to my completeness, or my perception there of. I had been judging myself for not being complete because I didn’t always have clarity, neither of which is possible all of the time – just like my perception of “perfection.”
The sounds changed drastically and in came “courage”, George’s card. The facilitator had discussed that courage and fear are not antonymous but instead, courage is attained while overcoming fears. Being a person who struggles with anxiety, fear is a familiar theme in my experience. This was interesting to me because I always thought of fear and courage as opposites, but again the concept of duality became apparent and I was observing them operating simultaneously.
The next experience through sound brought me to a vision of how vast nature is. Our earth and ecosystems, the oceans and seas, the universe… I envisioned the wolf howling in the foggy moonlight as the mist and sounds continued to oscillate through the night. I thought about how Gaia consists of so many organisms but yet is one organism.
The next sound brought me to an ant, doing its work in nature. I, again, experienced the concept of how everything is intricately connected. Even the little ant has a big job. Everything has a purpose. I thought about how animals simply just know what they are supposed to do, but we humans have a complicated soul. Things are not always so clear, and that is a blessing and a curse (well for me anyway). What is my purpose?
Yet another sound emerged. This one, however, did not flow through me or around me. My flow came to a grinding halt actually and I observed how my body responded to this sound. It brought me back to my childhood, to my great aunt’s house to be specific. I remembered listening to wind chimes there and feeling as though they were soothing to me, but the adult me in the now remembered why I needed to be soothed. My father had been abusive to me and, as a child, I would go outside in a melancholic state and get lost in the sound of the wind chimes. He did a lot of really hurtful things to my family members and to me as well and I always felt like I was supposed to hate him but the truth is, I couldn’t. I continued to go deeper into this meditation and I realized that, despite the fact that he hurt me, I still loved him and I had been carrying around guilt for not hating him as I was expected to (or should I say, as I expected myself to). I realized that love was the most human emotion I could have for this person and that was not only beautiful, but it was “okay.”
I’m not sure what other people experience in these sound meditations, but for me it was a powerful and profound experience. I am fascinated with how these facilitators/sound shamans use their intuition to guide these meditations and I look forward to more experiences.
I want to make a special note here. When I heard the sound I didn’t like, that was the same sound that brought me in to work on a blockage. I experienced the same phenomenon while in ayahuasca ceremony – certain songs evoked things in me that created a resistance in me, but ultimately ended up being a very healing experience. It’s true what they say, that in order to heal we must go back into the pain. This is scary work that takes courage. It’s so worth it though.