Nepal: What Can We Do?

The recent Nepal earthquake is a heavy tragedy that will be affecting many lives more years to come. As a witness to the devastation, it can feel overwhelming. What can we possibly do to help all of our suffering brothers and sisters. By all means, donate to your respected and trusted charity. But please don’t stop there. The people in the region need our prayers and ongoing energetic support. Both those that have passed and those that must live on through the catastrophe can be served with the energy of our love and compassion. Please join me in reciting OM MATRE MUYE SALE DU for the souls who have already and are now transitioning.


Here is a beautiful plea from Chongtul Rinpoche of Bon Shen Ling asking for the recitation of two mantras, including MATRE,  that you can start today. There is also a link for monetary donations.

Thank you.

Hum for Health

highres YTV pinwheelWe all want to stay healthy and happy all year-long, of course. Here’s a great article with some tips for staying healthy this winter. Toning for Peace finds #14 exceptionally interesting!! And you can do it all year-long…

It’s all about the hum! “Humming has been shown to increase nitric oxide in the nose, which is antimicrobial,” says Dr. Payne. To read the full article and item 14:

Is It Just Me or Is It Noisy in Here?

tingsLast month, I had the privilege of taking my mother to the doctor’s office. It was a stressful affair for me, and likely for my mother as well, though she acted as if it was nothing. We entered the lobby, sat down to fill out the paperwork, turned it in, and then sat back down and waited to be called. The wait gave me the opportunity to tune into the music (though in this case, I use that term very, very loosely) that was being piped through snap, crackle and pop speakers.

As Michael Jackson hissed an unintelligible lyric, I looked around me. Was anyone else hearing this? Was anyone else extremely irritated? I looked at the young man across from us. He was texting on his phone. I looked at a more mature man next to him. He was reading a magazine. I looked to my right. An Asian man was also looking through a magazine. I looked at my mother and then to the women working behind the desk.

Did no one realize that they were listening to nothing more than disruptive static? Were all oblivious to the impact this noise was having on their bodies, minds and spirits? Did the whole purpose of music in the first place completely elude them?

I blinked incredulously and squirmed in my seat. I could no longer hold it in! Well, okay, I didn’t quite make the scream that I felt rising up from my belly. Instead, I got curious.

“Excuse me, but is anybody enjoying this music?”

The Asian on my right shook his head, “I’d rather have silence.”

Oh, amen, brother! Me too!

Then to the older man across from me. “And you?” I asked.

“It doesn’t bother me. You must not have a 17-year-old at home,” he joked.

And from the young man on his phone, I got merely a silent shrug that said, “Who gives a crap?”

Well, I give a crap! I give a crap that music, the most powerful healing tool on the face of the planet is abused and misused and treated with irreverence and ignorance every day in restaurants, waiting rooms, airports, stores, and everywhere humans hang out.

This was a doctor’s office…a place of supposed healing! Why wasn’t there relaxing and healing music being played over a sound system that could deliver? And why, dear God, why, was there any noise at all when there could have been blissful silence?

There is a total lack of consciousness going on around sound in our environments. And it really, really creeps me out! You know what happened in this doctor’s office? Once I mentioned it, someone tuned the dial and voila, it was still an awful choice of music for a medical space but at least it was actually music as intended.

Had I not said anything, would it have gone on like that all day long…week after week?

Numerous times, I’ve been in a waiting room with some CNN or other news show yammering on and on. I walk up and turn the damn thing off. No one has ever complained yet. In fact, they often thank me.

So here’s my plea. I know I am talking to people (preaching to the choir, so to speak) who understand the importance of this. If you find yourself in an environment where the music is too loud, or there are too many sources of noise, or something isn’t right with the sound system, or the ambient noise is totally out of balance, please please please bring it to someone’s attention. Help them to hear what they just cannot perceive until someone of more sensitivity points it out.

We need to create a world of harmony and balance, and frankly, it seems people are becoming less and less sensitive to a constant and increasing barrage of noise.

I thank you!

The World of Sound Therapy Part VI: Individualized Composition & Improvisation

Many sound therapists are skilled musicians and improvisationalists able to bring forth music that is created specifically for an individual, group of individuals, or a specific intent such as “world peace” or “DNA activation” either live, in CD form, or both. This music can then be used by an individual for meditation, movement, or relaxation. The personalized intent behind the music continues to work with all levels of the listener’s consciousness, bringing about the realization of that intent often first by clearing that which is preventing it and then by supporting its unfoldment..

The benefits of such music composed especially for healing can be accentuated through the use of specialized sound healing environments and tools. Sound tables, similar to massage tables, contain specifically placed audio equipment to deliver sounds directly to the body and are sometimes enhanced by sacred geometric design or highly resonant materials such as gemstones or copper. Sound chambers, specially designed rooms using light and sound, further heighten and intensify the delivery of sounds to the body while offering a multisensory escape far richer than any television program ever could.

In choosing which form of sound therapy to explore, remember that every practitioner, no matter the modality, is going to offer an experience that reflects his or her individual life experience. So choose someone with whom you resonate (pun intended) and ask to make sure they have and continue to explore their own healing. Sound therapy requires a great deal of positive intent, focus, and attention. Practitioners will be far more likely to access certain depths if they have plunged those depths themselves, providing you a much richer and powerful facilitation.

This concludes the introductory series of sound therapy articles!


The World of Sound Therapy Part V: Tuning Forks & Specialized Equipment

Tuning forks, similar to those used to tune a piano, are also used as instruments of sound therapy. One system of using tuning forks called Acutonics is similar to acupuncture, but rather than inserting needles, special tuning forks are used along the meridians, or energy pathways, of the body. The vibrations created by the tuning forks are received through the body recalibrating organs and cells and bringing about a healthy vitality and restored balance.

Next Time: Individualized Composition & Improvisation

The World of Sound Therapy Part IV: Tribal Instruments

Drums and rattles are tools used by shamans of cultures all over the world for their healing benefits. Percussive instruments shake up stagnant energy, bringing space and new life to your energetic field. Rattles, for example, are easy enough for anyone to use just about anywhere. Use them after an argument to clear the air, in the car to dispel road rage, or around the head to break repetitive thought patterns.

Drums have traditionally been used to create sacred space and a morphic field in which shamanic journeys are taken. A soul-retrieval is an example of this type of healing in which the shaman searches other realities for pieces of the client that have been rejected, lost, or stolen. The drum assists the process. But it is enough to simply participate at a local drum circle in order to feel the intense power of drums and their ability to alter your current energetic state, getting you out of your head and into you body.

Many find the sounds of another tribal instrument even more relaxing. Possibly the world’s oldest instrument, the Aboriginal Didjereedoo is a long hollow tube with a multi-textured vibratory effect. Though only one “note” or drone can be played, the overtones are extremely rich and grounding. Didjereedoos are often played along the body or onto a specific body part to alleviate pain, tension, and illness.


Next Time: Tuning Forks & Specialized Equipment

The World of Sound Therapy Part III: Tibetan Instruments

The Tibetans  are masters at healing with sound. Tibetan bells, ting-shas, the shang, gongs, and other instruments are used to shake up the energy in the body and dispel disease, shift stagnated energy, or fill the body with healthy vitality. For example, ting-shas are special bells used to scan the body and actually change pitch or timbre to signify energies in the body that need to be cleared.

Himalayan bowls are sometimes placed on or around the body to allow their vibration to penetrate into the cells while bells and gongs are played near or around the body to shower it with intense, audible vibrations. Science has shown that these bowls emit alpha waves which are the same waves emitted by the brain in meditation. Achieving this state is essential to healing as it activates the body’s own wisdom to heal itself.

Next time: Tribal Instruments

The World of Sound Therapy Part II: Voice

The voice is by far the most versatile and sensitive of all the sound therapy modalities, and the range of healing offered is as individual as those who facilitate it. There are voice healers who help clients access their own voices either through singing, toning, chanting, speaking, or even movement. One needn’t be a “singer” to take part in this type of experience, but for those who are a little shy about singing solo, there are toning groups or workshops offered by practitioners. The results of such vocal exploration can be greater confidence to express oneself, richer vocal qualities, purer and more effective communications, stress-reduction, and an experience of joy.

A therapist may also use his or her own voice to help others. For example, a therapist may sculpts sounds by sensing subtle energy needs and matching or contrasting various frequencies that help a person move energy in various parts of the body. Still others may sing improvised melodies or lyrics that relate to healing a certain memory or experience in the client’s life.

Voice Analysis is another branch of voice healing with many variations. The premise for voice analysis is that changes in pitch, volume and speed of the expressed voice reveal strengths, weaknesses, and imbalances of the individual. These deficiencies are then brought into balance using frequencies or tones and exercises that can help by restoring the voice to its full power. Whether performed by a computer or a practitioner, voice analysis can bring a new awareness to the potential of one’s voice, our greatest tool for self-expression and creation.

There are other specialized modalities in voicework as well, such as Shamanic Voicework and Vocal Toning Meditation.

Next Time:  Tibetan Instruments


The World of Sound Therapy Part I

As our lives become ever more complicated and the world around us continues to change at breakneck speed, more and more people are seeking different and deeper ways to connect and return to wholeness. The field of sound therapy, while ancient in its roots, is just now emerging into the mainstream in answer to this need, garnered by the support of ever-increasing clinical applications and research. So, what is sound therapy all about?

Sound is simply vibration. And science reveals what we can’t see with our eyes—that all of life is vibration. What appears solid, like a hard table, is actually comprised of vibrating atoms engaged in a musical composition of great mystery and complexity. Our bodies are no different than that table; we only appear solid to the limited perception of the eye. But unlike the dense table, the body is much more impressionable to shifts in energy.

Disease manifests when we fall into resonance with harmful vibrations, be they of mind, body or spirit. Sound therapy, by tapping into vibrations that are supportive and beneficial to our bodies, and through something called entrainment, brings the body back into a state of health. But just as you don’t need to understand how the internet works in order to send an email, you don’t need to comprehend the scientific or spiritual principles behind sound to benefit from sound therapy.

The world of sound therapy is rich and diverse. There is without a doubt something for everyone. But with all the choices, how on earth does one decide which form of sound therapy may help? This series is meant to provide background information to help you make your choice, but it is by no means exhaustive. Once you know what is available, follow your intuition, experiment, and trust your own experience.

Next time: The Voice