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Tonal Meditation.....

Tonal Meditation.


The obvious step up from drumming is to use other sounds in meditation, and we see that in several of the Eastern cultures this is used to great effect. In Tibet there are bells and small finger cymbals that are used in rituals, and in the practices in India there are also bells used. This can also be found in various other places around the world and used in basically similar ways too. In china gongs are used as well, and if one begins to look into the science of sound and realised that different frequencies affect both the mind and body in specific and different ways. Knowing this it makes it even more understandable that the famous Tibetan Singing Bowls are used for meditation. These bowls are made from a special mix of metals, including silver and gold, in precise quantities that the bowls, when stroked or struck, make a tone that resonates with a person’s very aura. Having had an opportunity to hear a real bowl played that came from one of the most important monasteries in Tibet after several of the monks fled Chinese rule and the destruction of the temples, I can attest that the sound is somehow...strange, it does not seem to begin or end at all, but rather it is suddenly there in your consciousness and getting louder and then softer as the bowl is played. What this tells us is that there are indeed acoustic harmonics that have an effect on us and on our meditation, and as such it is a very worthy experiment to try out the tones of bells and chimes. I have had several rather nice wind chimes that I hung up and I found that when I meditated having them chime in the breeze around me enhanced the meditation greatly. The music of the chimes is, obviously, atonal rather than scripted music, and the difference seems only to enhance the experience. One of the most amazing versions of this that I ever saw was a device made by a Psychologist I knew who made a genuine Japanese Singing Water Garden. It was a construction made out of bamboo and consisted of different levels where the water poured down the face of a rock and into different bamboo pieces at different levels and they filled and released the water at different times, the result being both the sound of the pouring water and the musical tones of the moving bamboo. This made a kind of melody that was definitely very easy to meditate to, even besides the fact that it was a beautiful little garden with grey rock and green plants and yellow bamboo in a kind of natural harmony. In short, sound is a very powerful tool in meditation, as much as silence might be, and I have encountered people from big cities that aver that the very sound and rhythm of the traffic and the city outside their apartment becomes a kind of meditation sound that they are able to use to meditate with. I myself suspect that every person has their unique 'song' or 'sound' that is what they live their lives by whether they know it or not, and if you could find such a sound you could use it to 'reset' and 'regulate' your spiritual self to great effect. Just as there can be found those perfect crystals that seem to vibrate to your own energies more than any other, so too the sound. I would, then, encourage experimentation with different sounds to find that one that lets your whole body relax and feel right. You might be quite surprised at what it is that you are in sync with, so experimentation and appreciation is encouraged. Personally I am a person that loves the howl of a storms wind and the sound of rain, but I also like to meditate to the sound of certain songs that just feel like they were written for me. Try things out - knock some wood or metal together, play that tune on an instrument, what rhythm keeps coming back to you that you find yourself whistling or humming without thinking? It’s out there waiting for you!


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