Close your eyes for a few moments, what do you hear?
You may hear nothing except your breath; you may hear some morning birds, you may hear the hum of a refrigerator or dishwasher. You may hear traffic rolling by, you may hear the ocean or a river or a TV. You may hear the sound of children playing or a beloved pet’s purr or growl. Very easily these sounds can whisk you away to memories of all sorts, emotions both enlivening and unpleasant all at the same time. You are engaging the first of the five senses that you developed in your mother’s womb and the last sense that will leave when you transition.
Sound. It surrounds us. It’s a vehicle that can transport us, inspire us, make us dance, spur us on to great creative endeavors and shatter us like glass.
Sound can define specific moments that bring us completely into the present or it can tease us back into our childhood or just yesterday. Sound can deceive us, make our hairs stand on the back of our necks and can lull us to romance, sleep, and dream.
For thousands of years, shamans from around the globe have used simple sounds like those of a rattle and drum to induce altered states of consciousness. Many forms of meditation are based on sound where one can use a mantra or by focusing on the breath (which has a definite rhythmic quality and sound that is uniquely our own.)
Using sound as a vehicle for relaxation and healing has been around a long time. "Hippocrates, who some consider the father of Western medicine brought his patients to the temple of Asclepius and used music to restore inner harmony and physical vitality," says Pamela Jane Gerrand an internationally known musician and sound therapist.
This is where I can introduce myself. I’ve been blessed to work with sound for that past twelve years. I’ve facilitated over 2,500 events in cancer care environments, hospitals, mental health centers, churches, veterans associations, yoga studios, festivals, international retreats and even at a Federal Correctional Institution. When people ask me what I do for a living I share that I play different instruments as a backdrop for folks to meditate and pray.
I play gongs, Tibetan bowls, chimes, and rattles, etc. in meditative environments. I also facilitate drum circles and facilitate group workshops where attendees learn how to play Tibetan bowls. At these sessions I’ve seen people laugh, cry, have deep emotional releases and experience for the first time what ‘ meditation ‘ is by quieting the mind. I’ve seen people find their inner Keith Moon by drumming playfully, expressively and joyously. I’ve seen the ear-to-ear smile on a cancer patient's face when a Tibetan bowl is placed on their body where they feel as well as hear the soothing vibrations travel through their nervous system.
This blog is dedicated to exploring the benefits, the origins, and explorations all about sound. I invite you to go on this journey together with me, share your insights and experiences where hopefully we can learn a little, have some fun and distress, unwind and find some harmony in a busy busy world.
Thank you – Kenny
“God Respects Me When I Work, He Loves Me When I Sing”
~ Rabindranath Tagore, 1861-1941, a Bengali poet & philosopher; the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.