A singing bowl is one of the few possessions you will acquire that has the potential to last a lifetime working just as well as the first day you got it.
What is a Singing Bowl Used For?
- To make you feel better
- As an aid in meditation, yoga or a spiritual practice
- As an aid in teaching
- For healing practices
- As a ceremonial object, an altar piece
- For music and performances, even in orchestras
- To soothe upset children and babies
- Getting a classroom full of kids to come to order
- As a conversation piece that speaks for itself
- To remind you of something you might have forgotten
You want to start with a singing bowl that delights you, one who’s sound has a place of sweet resonance in your mind. This isn’t hard, certainly not on this website. Perfection is not required in this regard, there is not one single sound for starting on this journey. Once you have that bowl, it is good to put it somewhere where it is easy to see. The idea is to ring it frequently so you hear the sound again and again so the visual cue is helpful. Over time the unique soundscape will find a place in your memory. Your brain is organized for sensitivity to unique repeating stimuli. Not only that but your brain is also organized to experience pleasure within a context of safe familiarity. You can use this groove in your mind as a fast way to access the good feeling that your singing bowl is associated with. Put simply, familiarity breeds contentment.
Your perception of a unique individual sound can change based on your mental state, mood or even energy level. You may not have the same response all the time. If you are fortunate enough to have a few singing bowls you can use the different tones to feel areas of your emotional landscape. A useful daily practice is to see whether you can perceive differences and correlate them to what is going on inside of you.
The basis for many of the uses of a unique soundscape is that hearing it will change the listener. Think of the example of a classroom full of children. I’ve made quite a few sales to teachers and even schools over the years and the feedback I get is that the children respond. They hear the sound and it changes focus and behavior. A letter I received a few years ago from a teacher, Ingrid, in the comments section goes into this in exquisite detail. The sound can be a reminder to come back to an emotional state, hopefully a pleasant and balanced one.
Can a sound change physical structure? Is it really true that healing can take place by being exposed to sound, by listening? Certainly there is anecdotal evidence, people say yes sound has helped tremendously. I see two paths by which this might happen. The first is physical. Sound is energy transmitted through the air. Some of that energy is absorbed by your body and the absorbed energy can have a tangible benefit. This is the basis of the use of ultrasound in physical therapy where it is used to reduce inflammation and reduce pain, so the concept has a medical basis. The second mechanism has to do with the mind. Medical research, sometimes derisively, calls this the placebo effect. Bug or feature the ability of the mind to change the body is very well documented.
How To Use Singing Bowls
Often the more I play a singing bowl the more it will grow on me, I begin to resonate with the sound. Some of the singing bowls that I have been ringing regularly over the past quarter century are absolutely inside me. The memory of the sound is so strong I can hear them even if I am not actually playing them. When you think about a favorite song, that capacity can come into play. It is easy and natural. You’ll buy singing bowls based on the attractiveness of the sound and maybe their looks but I’ll bet you enjoyment will expand as you play them over time and come into deeper resonance with them.
As you can tell from the above I advocate keeping your singing bowls out and ringing them regularly. You don’t need a “reason” to ring a singing bowl. One theory about the singing bowls in ancient times is they were used for entertainment. In this day and age entertainment is good and multiple benefits better. I believe the sounds from these objects are truly profound and beneath the surface of enjoyment they can confer many important benefits.Once you have your Tibetan singing bowl a whole world of possibilities open.
How to Play a Meditation Bowl
If your goal is to have the sound lead you into a quiet state of consciousness generally the best way to play the bowl is to tap it with a mallet. Concentrating on the bowl, especially the pulses of sound as they become quieter and quieter, is an excellent way to bring the mind into focus. The point where you no longer perceive the sound is your point of release from the external. My suggestion is a soft playing surface and a mallet that fits the bowl. We have a series of precision mallets designed to accentuate different parts of a singing bowl’s soundscape as well as inexpensive all-purpose mallets. Whichever way you go, a mallet makes a fine choice for playing your meditation bowl.
Rim play provides wonderful and often concentrated sound, however the activity of going around the rim, paying attention to the position of the bowl in your hand and ultimately putting the bowl down can split your attention.