Buddhist Sound Healing

Stay in the moment, go with the flow, let go of attachment.

These are concepts very familiar to all yoga students and spiritual seekers. I like to think this makes us ‘now’ people, remaining in the present as best we can. Truly… being… present. Sound healing is thousands of years old, and while it has taken many forms it has consistently been about being present within sound. Sound has always been integral to spiritual transformation because it transforms your experience of the moment. As a musician, I have found that concentrating on sound is a simple and effective means to becoming comfortable with my self, regardless of the emotions I may be experiencing. Music offers solace in subtle and mysterious ways beyond any scientific or rational meaning.

In the language of yoga, the purpose or the effect of continuous nada sadhana on the mind is ananda – extreme bliss. Nada, or sound, is divided into two parts – aahada and anhada, heard and unheard. Heard means that which is possible for you to hear ‘through the physical ears’, and unheard means ‘felt’, which is the condition of nada before it is musically shaped and regularised. You know how you can feel a piece of music you really love. It gives you joy or it allows you to feel sadness or you kick out the jams. Our life force or consciousness creates the unheard but felt vibration in a way that communicates without language or cultural barriers. It is the energetic gift of music, and music created with the intention to benefit is healing.

Buddhist Sound Healing helps to open the body’s energy centers. Vocal sound can be used as an object of meditation, and listening to music can become a method of integrating the experience as a form of healing. Music can be acutely therapeutic because it activates many parts of the brain, changing its wave patterns and arousing a variety of emotions.

A recent article in the New York Times made these interesting points about the efficacy of sound in healing: “Sound and music enter the healing equation from several directions: It may alter cellular functions through energetic effects; it may entrain biological systems…., it may be calming to the mind and therefore the body, it may have emotional effects which in turn help to regulate the immune system – the healer within.” Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, M.D. Dr. Gaynor distinguishes between curing and healing. To “cure” means physically to fix something, whereas “healing” refers to wholeness, a union of the mind, body and spirit. Dr. Gaynor, who has an oncology practice in Manhattan, considers sound healing integrative medicine: not an alternative to science but a complement to it.

Why use the voice? If you liberate the voice you liberate the body, mind, and spirit. The voice connects the heart and mind. Recent sound and energy research has demonstrated, through the study of human blood pressure, heart rate and brain waves, that no sound has as profound an effect upon the body as the human voice.

In Buddhist sound healing sessions we use vocal overtoning as a meditation technique, as an energetic healing technique, and in musical performance. We explore the energetic qualities of sound with many unanticipated, serendipitous moments of bliss and discovery.

It is my belief that the phenomenal growth of the yoga movement in North America over the past ten years is a reflection of our evolving consciousness. More and more beings are practicing yoga to open their bodies and heal. Buddhist sound healing is very much of the moment, a practice that speaks to the needs and yearning of yogis and yoginis everywhere. It is a practice that assists in adapting to the changing frequencies of the planet. I don’t believe this can be adequately explained or comprehended, but I know that it can be experienced.

Sound healing is the sound of now, for now people everywhere.

The world and all its beings are the container and the contained. We are an expression of light and elemental flux. Through intention we can use our minds and sound to transform our suffering and improve our quality of life. The benefit we experience is broadcast from the center of the mandala throughout space and time. We accomplish benefit for all when we intentionally heal ourselves.

Our voices enter your body with the intention to heal. The mandalas are energetic medicine created for the specific weeks in which they are released. we create fresh sounds for now people.

Padma Soundsystem sound healing uses vocal sound as an object of meditation and listening to music as a method of integrating the experience as a form of healing. Music can be acutely therapeutic because it activates many parts of the brain, changing its wave patterns and arousing a variety of emotions, according to Dale Taylor, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Taylor has spent years studying the remedial effects of music.

“Music itself is a very positive experience; it stimulates the limbic system, the emotional center of the brain,” says Taylor, the director of the university’s music therapy department.

Why use the voice?

If you liberate the voice you liberate the body, mind, and spirit. The voice connects the heart and mind.

Recent sound and energy research has shown us, through the study of human blood pressure, heart rate and brain waves, that no sound has as profound an effect upon the body as the human voice.

In Buddhist sound healing sessions, vocal overtoning is used as a meditation technique, as an energetic healing technique, and in musical performance. We explore the energetic qualities of sound with many unanticipated, serendipitous moments of bliss and discovery. This is a lot of fun!

Buddhist Sound Healing Process:

Setting Intention: We gather together a group of bright lights and help them to reveal their wondrous luminosity! Ideally we come together in a space used for spiritual practice with ‘live’ acoustics. (Hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings are nice… natural lighting or candle light is preferred.) We begin with discussing the importance of setting intention and encouraging everyone to be mindful of their personal intention in participating.

The sound wave created by a person singing or playing an instrument will carry information to the receiver of the sound.

Intentions address the following questions:

Why are we doing what we are doing?

What do we hope to achieve?

What purpose are we fulfilling?

An intention can be thought of as a goal. Other synonyms for the word “intention” include “purpose, aim, aspiration, resolve.” Clear intentions hold tremendous creative power. In the areas of personal growth, relationship, career, and live choices, clarity of intention is an indispensable tool for achieving what we envision. A clear intention focuses our energies and makes it easy for us to discern which of the choices we encounter are on track for what we want to achieve, and which ones are not.

In the absence of clear intention, our life is shaped by circumstances, by our desires and fears, and by the intentions of other people. The absence of a clear intention can affect a day at work, a weeklong vacation, or even a whole decade of our life.

Our entire life is shaped by our thoughts. We can create anything we want with the creative energy of thought. When we truly get this we understand that we are not victims, that we are empowered to create whatever it is that we want. We then begin to watch what we think. Rather than let our thoughts control us, we begin to take control of our thoughts and we begin to create intentions.

When creating an intention, it is helpful to make clear, concise statements. State your intention in the present tense in a positive way. For example, if your intention is to live coffee free you might write, “I am living coffee free.” You would not write, “I am going to stop drinking coffee.”

Connecting with conscious intention – what thoughts are pervading your body’s frequency or vibration right now? We share how intention or lack of it determines our experience of life. Setting intention will include a discussion of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, constantly bringing the mind back to the intention to be of benefit to all beings. We will also discuss the healing power of practicing loving kindness and compassion.

Buddhist compassion is the result of knowing one is part of a greater whole and is interdependent and connected to that whole. Creating the Nada Yoga sacred circle, individuals become a spontaneous community joined by sound, with the intention to benefit each other and all beings through this practice. We suggest focusing on the following when listening to Padma Soundsystem:

Intention to remain present

Intention to heal myself with sound

Intention to benefit those I love

Intention to benefit all beings

Intention to remember who I truly am

Meditation: Loving kindness and compassion play such an important role in the Buddhist approach to spirituality that we can say that a genuine practice of the Dharma is actually based on the development of these qualities. The teachings always emphasize that, unless we practice and integrate these qualities into our everyday lives, it will be utterly impossible to attain enlightenment and liberation. Moreover, without such an integration of loving-kindness and compassion, not only are we failing to benefit others, we are actually harming them, whether directly or indirectly.

We will spend some time generating the mind of loving kindness and compassion. We will discuss awareness of the various mental states from laxity to excitation, with the ideal to maintain a calm mind somewhere in the middle. We will be using the simple to learn method of counting the breath to calm the mind and listen to the body. This meditation method is appropriate for beginners and experienced meditators alike. We will take this time to become aware of our interconnection through collective breath, the healing power of practicing together, the power of conscious intention and focusing the mind with affirmation.

The idea is to focus the mind on sound, to literally meditate on sound. Through practice one can create a peaceful mind, focusing on the sound rather than discursive thought. This becomes a healing in itself as we free our minds from repetitive thought patterns that cause suffering.

We believe that senses can be improved at all stages of life, and that enhanced sensory perception is the fruit of any spiritual journey.

Listening to Heal: We rarely take the time to consider the gift of hearing, and yet it plays such an integral part in our experience of life. Buddhist sound healing is the yoga of listening, improving how we listen to our world and ourselves. Most musicians will tell you the art of making music as a group begins with listening to each other, really listening creates a sound greater than the sum of its parts. In Nada Yoga we spend our time together working out our listening skills, in a gym for the ears. The bio-harmonic architecture is breathtaking!

During the last half of the twentieth century, Alfred A. Tomatis, a French M.D., researcher and philosopher, defined the ear as a primary organ for multiple physical, emotional and neurological development responses. Not only is the ear and its complex ability to send information to the brain and the body primary for hearing and sound perception, it establishes balance and equilibrium. It is also primary for the development of verticality, spatiality, laterality and language development.

Tomatis’s innovative research is based on the ear’s ability to discriminate between sounds it selects to hear and the ability to tune out sounds that are unwanted. The ear’s ability to listen and focus, select sounds spatially and regulate auditory information as it is perceived by the brain, has become the theme in over a hundred centers worldwide dedicated to assist children and adults with speech and communication disorders, attention deficit disorders, head injuries, and autism.

We believe these concepts help to explain the benefits of Buddhist Sound Healing, as listening and singing is a simple path to restored equilibrium and moments of sheer joy. We also believe that experiencing music helps to integrate and amplify the work we do.

We get most benefit from this practice when we focus our mind and really listen to our voice, and open our ears to the voices all around us. These are voices raised with the intention to help each other heal.

Buddhist sound healing is the therapeutic application of sound frequencies to the body/mind of a person with the intention of bringing them into a state of harmony and health. The dictionary defines ‘harmony’ as ‘congruity of parts to their whole or to one another’. ‘Health’ is defined as ‘the state of being bodily and mentally vigorous and free of disease’.