While you’re making New Year’s resolutions, you may want to consider adding daily meditation to your to-do list. Meditation could be the single best thing you can do for yourself. It’s easy and pleasant, anyone can do it, and it’s absolutely free. During the last four decades, more than 600 studies conducted at 250 universities and medical schools worldwide have verified meditation’s efficacy. More than 350 scientific and medical journals have published research showing the benefits of meditation for conditions including diabetes, coronary disease, cancer, chronic pain, and more. You’ll see positive results even if you just ten minutes a day.
This spring, my new book “The Best Meditations on the Planet” co-authored with Dr. Martin Hart, will be published by Fair Winds Press/Quayside Publishing Group. In it you’ll find 100 mediations of various types for relaxation, physical and emotional healing, enhancing success, improving intelligence and creativity, longevity, and lots more––something for everyone. The meditation given below isn’t included in the book, but you can try it yourself if you like––and check out the wonderful quartz crystal bowls from Crystal Tones, too.
Play a Singing Bowl to Soothe Stress
You’ve heard the saying “music soothes the savage beast,” and indeed, research indicates that listening to certain sounds can encourage relaxation and promote healing. As Mitchell Gaynor, M.D. explains in his book Sounds of Healing, "Music can have a powerful salutary effect on our cardio-vascular, immune, and nervous systems, not to mention our emotional
and spiritual selves." So it’s no surprise that many people find music or musical tones, such as those produced by singing bowls, increase the benefits of meditation.
In the East, singing bowls are a traditional tool used by monks to deepen meditation and induce healing. Singing bowls reduce stress by letting us “tune” ourselves, bringing our personal energies into balance. Usually made of metal or crystal, these bowls can be struck with a soft mallet to produce a ringing tone, like a bell. When you rub the mallet around the bowl’s lip, the bowl’s “voice” opens and it sings a harmonic chord.
- Set a singing bowl on a firm cushion or folded towel. Your bowl may come with a rubber ring on which to position it securely.
- Stand or sit facing the bowl. Position yourself so you feel comfortable.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths and begin to relax.
- With a soft mallet, gently strike the rim or side of the bowl to produce a ringing sound, like a chime.
- Focus your attention on the pleasing sound. Listen to it reverberate, and gradually fade away.
- Strike the bowl again and feel the sound waves vibrating in your body. You may notice the resonance is stronger in one particular section of your body.
- Slowly run the mallet around the rim of the bowl to make it “sing.”
- As you continue circling the rim of the bowl with the mallet, focus on how the singing grows louder and clearer.
- Allow the waves of sound to wash over you and through you, dissolving the stress from your mind and body.
- Circle the rim of the bowl until it sings, then strike the side of the bowl so the two sounds reverberate together. Listen to their harmonious interaction.
- Feel the soothing sounds resonate through your body––not just your ears, but your head, heart, solar plexus, all the way down to your feet––gently melting your stress.
- If you wish, you can lie down and place the bowl on a part of your body, such as your chest or abdomen, where tension seems greatest. Strike the bowl and feel the sound waves ripple through you, easing stress.
- Continue playing the singing bowl for as long as you like.
Play your singing bowl as often as you wish, whenever you feel a need to soothe stress and restore balance to your body, mind, and spirit. Singing bowls come in various sizes, tuned to different notes on the musical scale. Each note produces a unique resonance that harmonizes with a particular energy center (or chakra) in your body. You may wish to play two or more bowls in combination to reduce stress in various parts of your body.