Feeling Exercises with Bowls
1. Lying down in a relaxed way and placing the bowl on different parts of the body, such as the stomach or chest, you can observe the effects of sound in as many ways possible.
2. Sitting in a chair you can try putting the bowl on your feet, thighs or knees. This way you can feel the different physical sensations as well as the different sounds.
3. It is possible to feel the vibrations of the bowl when holding your hand at some distance from the edge. This is true of larger bowls, in particular. You may feel a flow of warm air radiating from the bowl. Now try to sense the whole sound shapes around the outside and inside of the bowl.
4. To feel the sound vibrations and absorb them into your body, stroke the side of the bowl immediately after it has been struck. You can also try this with your lips or tongue. See what feelings of emotions are evoked in different parts of the body. Try not to analyse, but just experience the sound. One can develop an inner experience of the relationship between from and sound, and even see visions of geometric shapes. The shape of the sound imprints itself directly on the inner retina.
5. First, place the bowl on your stomach, whilst lying down. Now strike the rime of the bowl with the dowel, and let the sound ring out. Sense the vibrations spreading throughout your body to the extremities of your limbs. Repeat the beating of the rim at intervals. Do not listen to the sound with your ears, but direct all your attention to your body. What do you feel? What signals does the body produce in response to the bowl’s vibrations?
6. In bowl or bell rubbing, the pressure and speed at which the bowl is rubbed have an influence on the sound, pitch and tone produced. Experiment with different pressures and speeds – and enjoy the sounds.
A Mantra of Sound in the Palm of your Hand
How to commune with your bowl.
In ancient times, sound was used as a powerful tool for self-transformation. No less valuable to sound is its counterpart of silence – for who can appreciate light without darkness? They are merely creations of activity and stillness.
1. Place the bowl in the palm of your hand, holding it away from your body. Gong it softly with the wooden dowel and, with your eyes closed, absorb the sound. Listen not only with your ears, but also get in touch with how it makes you feel, and how your body responds. The labyrinth of over-laid sounds is always a unique experience for each person. You will have an intuitive sense of harmony, feelings of great peace, space and paradoxically, profound silence.
2. Strike the bowl lightly again and with pressure, slowly rub the dowel firmly round the edge. It starts to sing, quietly and increases in volume with successive rotations. Do not force the sound louder than it wishes to vibrate, otherwise it will rattle unpleasantly. If you have no immediate results, persevere and you will slowly gain the necessary skill.
3. The bowl may also be placed on different parts of your body, and ‘gonged’ as described above. The resonance flows around and through the body, sympathetically tuning and healing it. The intention is to create harmony of body and heart through the vibration of sound.
4. Your bowl may be placed on a small firm cushion or rubber ring. ‘Gong beaters’ for percussion instruments can be used. Every mallet or dowel produces a different sound, especially those covered with tape, felt, leather, cork or rope.
5. When the bowl is singing, place it close to your lips. By opening and closing your mouth you will hear the various harmonies. You can also hum or chant into the resonating bowl. The voice reinforces what the ears are hearing and creates a circuit connecting the ears with the voice, resulting in a more focused listening mode. The difference between hearing and listening now becomes obvious.
6. The shape of sound becomes visible when you rub your bowl, which has been filled with a little water. It then hums, the vibrations of which can even cause a fountain of tiny, sparkling droplets. These sounds pattern themselves in the water much like a mandala.
Two of the advised guidelines for meditation are the focusing on breath or alternatively, on sound. The vibratory sounds of the Singing Bowl are ideal for stilling the mind and bringing it into a centred clarity.