Category: Sound Therapy
Historically, sound has been used as a point of focus and invocation in meditation, prayer, healing, and ritual throughout much of the world. As with so much that is mystical, our culture has lost touch with the nature of sound as a healing vehicle. Yet more and more healers and musicians are focusing on the power sound has on our bodies and on our well-being. There are two principal aspects to sound, as I see them, in healing and ritual.
One aspect of sound, like a chant or mantra, creates a point of focus for the mindforce, through which one's intent forms a basic structure, or energetic grid, through which energy may flow, be contained, invoked or built into a healing mechanism. The other aspect is the carrier force of the sound itself. This is dual in nature. The sound becomes a river upon which, through which, an energy may flow. The sound also has an intention, a vibration, an essence, or resonance, which can be a healing mechanism.
As one becomes involved with sound as a healing mechanism, whether through one's own intuitive guidance, or some traditional manner, one sees the power, which sound creates, unfold. We can see the traditional use of this power by looking at the Afrikan or Native American shaman invoking celestial allies through chant, song, and prayer, drum or rattle in hand, healing the imbalances in one of his or her people. We can see it in an entire Native American village chanting ancient rites to the corn maiden at planting time, or an Israeli village granting blessings upon a newly married couple through song and dance. We can look at an African-American gospel choir pouring out their hearts in song, reaching remarkable states of ecstasy and joy. Or we can look at an East Indian playing citar, focusing through power of meditation and specific ancient scales, invoking the balance and harmony of a specific deity (or energy stream) into the room. With any of these examples, and throughout most native cultures, sound is and has been used as a point of focus of creative intent and invocation of divine energies. Sound is a vehicle through which one may carry one's message to the divine, and through which one may merge with, and express, the creative divine.
The path to sound as a healing vehicle begins within the self. By exploring deep inside ourselves, we can easily tap into our own ancient mysteries, unfelt feelings, and creative energies through the use of sound. That sound may come out in the form of "unchained melodies", improvisational "noise"' or cries of an infant unborn, but by paying attention to the sounds a particular wave of energy within our body wishes to make, we can create a truly healing process for ourselves, and, eventually, for others. This process requires a certain degree of trust and release of inhibition, yet that doubt or inhibition itself is a form of fear keeping our creative, expressive powers at bay. Whatever form of release we wish to use, the nature of healing and empowerment is to release the fear or limiting process within the self, and walk into the creative impulse resonating deep within our seat of being.
By sounding that creative impulse, which is our expressive self, we can walk through all of our agony and pain, fears and prejudices, and all limiting thoughtforms we have created within ourselves, in this and other lifetimes, which bind us from our creative, expressive self. All of those devastating habits and self-agonizing behaviors, which have been built through years or lifetimes of reacting to traumatic circumstances or lack of nourishment, have embedded themselves in our fibers. They have been impacting on and diminishing the very core of our being, driving us in involutive spirals in upon, rather than expansive, expressive spirals out from, that core of being. The sound itself can resonate and discharge those emotional energies which have been locked so long in our bodies within our tissue, within our cellular memories, our emotional and energetic bodies. Sound therapists can guide and nurture us on the path to self-healing through connecting with our own inner sound, our own inner child, and help us express it.
That inner child holds abundant energy, abundant love and grace. And, through letting the noise and confusion of the outer self, one can hear her/his deeper, more intimate self sounding, resonating, at first ever so timid and quiet; but with each breath, with each courageous expression of that child self, feel waves of joy and hope break through all the pain and doubt we have built around us. It may be painful at first. But with courage and determination we can break through the pain and fear, and find unlimited oceans of beauty and wisdom emerging from within ourselves.
The Nature of Thoughtforms, and Their Effect Upon the Etheric Body
To help us understand this process a little further, let us look more deeply at the nature of our energetic bodies and the creation of limiting forms of energy within them. We have often heard that we create our own reality. The nature of that reality is so complex it seems difficult to comprehend just how that might be. Yet, when we look at the nature of thoughtform, and how it works as a creative force, it becomes apparent that the development of a positive, light-building field of energy around us, through our own thoughts and actions, with our own creative will and intent, is a major key to our continued well-being. For that energy field, built as "thoughtform", is an electromagnetic grid that attracts or dispels other energies around us, dependent upon the nature of its intent.
Thoughtform is the elemental nature of the creative potential of thought. It is the energetic substance created by all thought, desire, and action. On an energetic level, we constantly tap into raw (pure) energy and mold it with the resonance of our thought/desires/actions. We also tap into and "channel" lifestreams of energy which resonate with various qualities of existence, both creative(expansive), and diminishing (contractive). Intelligent forces work through these streams of energy, whether it is conscious or unconscious interaction. This is a highly interactive point for us with beings of the more subtle spirit realm. These interactions may take place in the emotional, astral, or other fields of our bodies. They may interact on a more tangible plane, as we invoke them (consciously or unconsciously) in saintly acts of kindness or generosity or in debilitating acts of alcoholism or abuse.
Thoughtforms are the residual energetic effect of our thoughts/desires/actions, and of our interactions with these energetic streams of consciousness. These thoughtforms will create illuminating flames or blinding shrouds of energy within our subtle bodies, dependent upon their resonant quality. If the residual effect of the thoughtform is of a binding or limiting nature, it can be removed only by a compensatory action, energetic in nature, which has a quality opposing or balancing it. Because the thoughtform's nature is of vibration, or resonance, the sound healer may find a resonant quality with which to heal, extract, or balance it, through the nature of sound itself.
However, if the nature of the wound is related to these conscious negate-ive streams of energy, a more skilful approach is required, in which the healer must have a conscious relationship with healing energies of a divine nature. The potential for danger exists for the practitioner, no matter what the modality, who interacts with these negative energies, without the conscious awareness of these processes, or the skills to complete them. Indeed, these energies interact in and complicate our lives more deeply than most of us can imagine. Because of the nature of thoughtforms, and these negating streams of energy, we each need to focus on practices of clarifying our thoughts and actions, and strengthening our energy fields.
Through previous patterns of creative thought (energy), we are attracted, through birth, to parents who will help develop a grid of energy that will provide a maximum for potential in our own growth. It is not until we begin to take responsibility for our lives and our choices that we can see this clearly. But by focusing on the content of our daily thoughts and actions, and seeking to fill them with the highest and most pure form of good we can imagine, we slowly gravitate toward a more and more light-filled body of energy. We suddenly see new credence in the old adages "love thy neighbor..." or "judge not, lest ye...", etc., whether it be of the Eastern, Western, or Native templates of knowledge.
Why Heal The Etheric Body/ The Nature of Creative Will and Intent
The sound worker sees an inextractible link between sound, light, and creative intent. Once we understand the nature of our energetic self, we begin to see the importance of the content and intent of our thoughts and actions, and how these interact. The physical body is but one level of expression of our spirit-self. Beyond the physical are primarily 6 etheric fields of energy which comprise our expressive self. These fields or energy bodies are interwoven through our 7 major chakras (energy centers) within the body, and are interconnected with the divine centers of heaven and earth through spirals of light energy which course through the body(ies) and these sacred centers. These centers resonate more and more subtle levels of energy which radiate through the body in our light field.
Thought is a tangible creative field of energy which interlaces our lightfield and creates grids of energy resonating through the chakra centers and about our body. When our thoughts resonate from a point of fear or inhibition, doubt or confusion, anger or jealousy, we create through our thought itself a limiting or binding grid of energy about our light body. We are not allowing ourselves to resonate in expressive, expansive forms of creative joy or love.
These grids, or patterns, are magnetic fields of energy and attract potential situations to us, to allow us to make choices to help us grow. I emphasize potential, for we work within a school of free choice, and there is a high degree of fluidity due to the interactions of all beings' free choices, which create the ever-unfolding formation of reality. Psychics can read this potential and give us a probability based upon how definitively those grids are in place, but the concept of free choice is always in place, and rules our aspect of the universe.
It is our intent and focus of that intent (will) that are the creative tools of our expression of self (via our thoughts and actions, the choices that we make). Consciously or unconsciously, we use that focus (will) and intent in the creation of the unfoldment of our daily lives. And we can use it at any given moment, to alter the course of our previous choices within our daily lives. If we do not, these thoughtforms, which have become embedded in our energetic field, will eventually effect our daily lives. For most of us, they already have, effecting our clarity of consciousness, our emotional well-being, our relationships, our successes. Finally, they may emerge as physical symptomatology... repetitive sore throats for those afraid to speak up and express their feelings or experiences, chronic fatigue for those who have had non-nurturing relations with their parent of opposite gender, ovarian or breast cancer for those subjected to sexual trauma, are but a few of the patterns which we may see emerge.
The Use of Creative Will and Intent in Sound Healing
The sound healer uses the focus of intent, to create a channel through which divine energies, or "higher resonances", may be poured into the recipient's energy field. The primary focus of intent is on being a clear vessel, to allow the greatest good to manifest for this individual's well-being. Once the soundwork has begun, the focus of intent may become more specific. The healer, for instance, may see an ingrained pattern of thought (energy) within the energy field, which is constricting the recipient's energy flow, and may call upon specific energetic tools to remove or transform it. That pattern may be manifesting in a limiting behavior or illness in the recipient's life. Or the focus may remain more general, creating the doorway through which divine energies may enter the more tangible planes and work within the recipient's field for the greatest good.
The sound healer may also be working with thoughtforms or elemental energies which are not of this person's making. These may be projections from other individuals' creative intentions(repressive parents, for instance, or hostile, or desirous relations), or projections from other streams of consciousness of a lesser realm. (Victims of alcohol or drug abuse, violence or sexual abuse often have trauma linked to these diminishing patterns of energy, which linger and eventually manifest through the energy body into the emotional and physical.)
The recipient must be a willing participant, wanting to receive these light energies, and to release/heal these unwanted thoughtforms. The greater level of focus and intent on healing which the recipient can manifest, the greater the potential for positive outcome will be. And the recipient may need to take some tools home with him or her to reinforce these new patterns of behavior, or energetic qualities within the self. Release and regeneration of energies are focuses beneficial to the recipient: release of pain, memory of tragedy (through expression or forgiveness), self-limiting thoughts of unworthiness or confusion; and regeneration of purity, of love of self and others, joy, or a state of peacefulness, might be examples of thoughtforms beneficial to the recipient.
In my work, my point of focus is usually either in the Ajna center (the third eye) or the eighth chakra (above the crown of the head). From the Ajna center I can direct specific light-energies into the body through the vehicle of sound (or, in some cases, through hands-on), utilizing specific tools. The eighth chakra is a powerful inter-dimensional point linking the primal soul and divine seat. Within the eighth chakra, the focus is more specifically upon illumination, opening the doorway through which conscious divine energies may more easily enter, with greater power and awareness than my more conscious self can unfold. This requires much more giving of self, more surrender, thus the quality of light pouring through becomes more bright and pure. I become more unconscious of the specific interaction of energies with the recipient, but both of us are drawn to a higher, clearer state.
The point of intention remains the same. The intent of the healing practitioner is to focus on the most pure, most worthy energies for the recipient's needs. The intent opens the doorway. The sound becomes the vehicle through which the light moves. And it offers an extraordinary point of focus for the healer to place his or her intentions upon. In my work, the sound may come with the use of an instrument; a crystal or brass bowl, a tingshaw (Tibetan brass cymbal), a flute, rattle, or Native ceremonial drum. But more often I am the sole instrument, opening the voice to a sacred mantra, a chant, a sound or series of sounds, a song, a prayer, or what I like to call "dialects". These "dialects" are a form of divine invocation, or prayer, a sacred language, a speaking in tongues, in which the energy becomes most pronounced.
Whatever the instrument or modality, the sound itself, through its own vibration or resonance, rearranges the molecular structure of cells, lifts thought and energy into an elevated dimension (through pure resonance), and invokes/carries a higher energy (intelligence, or quality) through it, which interacts in the energy field in a variety of ways. The sound resonance may function like a set of tuning forks, in which the pure resonance of one tuning fork, once set in motion, will carry waves of energy to the other, which, by its like nature, will begin resonating. Or the sound may act upon the crystallized blockage of energies in the energetic body as a pure tone might upon a crystal glass, causing it to shatter, or quicken and release. The resonance of sound may be sensed as a pure stream of energy, like a waterfall, cleansing the energy field, and re-energizing it, in a shower, or in waves, of peaceful light.
Coupled with the intent of the sound resonator (healer), specific qualities of light, or specific energetic streams may be called upon, or invoked, to aid the practitioner in removing binding or shrouding energies, and to recharge the energy field with light.
Again, the interplay of sound and light are important to the conscious user. In modern physics, we find that the principal difference in sound, light and matter is one of vibrational frequency, or resonance. The interrelationship of these is more like a broad spectrum of energy than three separate forms.
In so many tales of Creation, it is sound which is the first and elemental form of Creation, and the vehicle which moves energy from the potential realm to the manifest world. In Hinduism, it is the sound of "Om" which resonates as the elemental causal form of all creative manifestation. In Australian Aboriginal culture, perhaps the oldest continual culture on the planet, the "Ancestors", defined as "fathomless, luminous beings of light and energy", dreamed of all forms of life in Creation, and "sung" them into existence through templates of thought energy, along "songlines", which are comparable to the ley lines, or electromagnetic grid, of the Earth. In Judaism, the ancient mystical Cabalistic roots of the culture teach us that each of the 22 letters of the alphabet not only symbolizes, but carries and emits through its enunciation, with pure intent, one of the principal aspects of the universal energy. Their interaction in letter configurations (words) is significant as to their interaction in universal flow and unfoldment. This was so clearly understood that it was considered sacrilege to enunciate the cryptic word for "God", the Anglicization of which is Jehovah, or Yahweh. In its cryptic verse, understanding of the meaning of the one word itself, in all its depth, potency, and purity, was a path to enlightenment.
In Christianity, many sources indicate Jesus taught esoteric thought to his disciples in far greater detail, in private settings, than his more popular metaphorical stories to the public would indicate. Many of these sources also say he was an initiate in the ancient mystery schools of the East, receiving teachings in the great temples of Egypt, and traveling to India, where tales still exist of "Saint Issa", who returned to his people in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, only to be crucified. The Book of John, written by one of his principal disciples, opens with the verse, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John I:1-2).
To me, the nature of this verse is extremely specific. The "word", the sound, is the first manifestation of creative vibration, or intent, and holds in its resonance, the very essence of the Divine. In Greek, from which we get much of the New Testament script, and from which we get the origin of "word", "word" means "to say" This implies, further, an innate understanding that the very resonance of sound, of "the word", draws power to it, and carries power through it. We have often heard of "the power of the spoken word," but we may not have given much credence to it. It is our thought, our will, and intentions that give power to the spoken word, and to sound in all of its forms and uses. Sound is a profoundly powerful tool. The nature of its power rests in the conscious, and unconscious, intent of its initiator.
C 1991, 2001 R. Zacciah Blackburn, The Center of Light
This article may be reproduced and distributed, as long as the following resource and contact information is intact.
Zacciah Blackburn is a sound healer trained in classical healing and shamanic traditions, and sacred sound cultures, and is practicing in Ascutney, VT, USA. Zacciah is Director of Education for the Sound Healing Network, an international community of healing practitioners broadening the awareness of sound healing through networking, education, and scientific research. He is also Co-Founder of the World Sound Healing Organization, & All One Now Network, a non-profit organization joining the efforts of numerous individuals and organizations world wide, dedicated to service to this planet, to its healing and growth, and to the elevation of human consciousness, embracing the use of sound as a healing catalyst in simple ceremony throughout the world.
The Center of Light Institute of Sound Healing and Shamanic Studies
PO Box 389, Ascutney, VT 05030 USA
Phone and Fax: 802.674.9585
Web Site: www.thecenteroflight.net
Also: www.worldsoundhealing.org , www.allonenow.org, www.sunreed.com
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