The Healing Power of Sound, Part Dalawang: Revisiting the Sound Soak Experience
March 26, 2013 | Healing, Healthy Living, New York City | 2 Comments
Note: Dalawang is Tagalog/Filipino for the number two.
After such a mindblowing sound healing experience at last month’s Sound Soak, led by the talented Joule L’adara, I had to come back this month for more! Especially since I knew that this time, Pascal Dinoia and Nechama Klotz would be playing symphonic and planetary gongs. Up until last Saturday, I didn’t even know what that meant! The extent of my knowledge of large gongs consisted of memories of, “The Gong Show” (do I date myself?), old school martial arts movies, and as a setup for tasteless jokes on tv.
What is a Sound Soak? It is “a meditative concert in which the audience lies back upon mats, blankets and pillows, while wearing eye-masks which entice one to into deeper listening and inner journeying. Musicians and Sound Artists perform within and throughout the space around they journeyers, with the evening culminating in a participatory vocal sonic activation.”
And this time, our vocalizations were much more involved. Before we laid down on our mats and got comfortable, Joule, once again reminded us that sometimes we all take ourselves too seriously. I heartily agree! In our quests to obtain life’s happiness – great career, wonderful relationships, obtaining joy – we get so stuck in our bodies. As one who grew up trained in classical ballet, and eventually, jazz, since the age of 4, I am all too aware of the need of our bodies to move.
We gathered in a circle, and she asked us what we wanted to bring forth in this concert, especially keeping in mind that the Spring Equinox just passed. I heard, “Rebirth!”, “Renewal!”, I called out, “Love!” She then led us through a body release exercise where we let out pent-up energy in our bodies, jiggled our limbs, made silly sounds, laughed, and then we got situated, to get down to the delicious nitty gritty of sound healing. We donned our special masks that allowed us to open our eyes during the concert if we liked, yet would still stay in complete darkness (did I mention yet how cool that Alex Grey designed these masks as a way for himself to get in touch with what inspired him to create his gorgeous art?)
The gongs were much more subtle than I thought. It felt like Earth. So grounding. Later, I found out that these particular gongs were set to the Ohm vibration (meaning that they emitted grounding sounds.) We could hear it near us, far away, as Pascal traveled through the room. At another time, the gonging sounded much more urgent, more powerful, stronger, and louder. It was humbling, to hear such beauty so powerfully. For some, the loud power was slightly uncomfortable, just as for some in the previous concert, the crystal singing bowls may have gotten too intense. But, I just drank it all in!
Interspersed throughout were Joule’s etheric vocals that lilted as she performed her sacred singing. Various percussion instruments, bells, and one of my favorites, the chakra chimes (yes, there is a chime for each chakra, and she played all of them to attune our energy centers) were all present as only some of the instruments played.
What was a welcome difference from last month’s Sound Soak was our increased vocal participation. At first, we let out hums. Our humming became communal, as we resonated with others. She then encouraged us to explore animal sounds, or any sounds that were lying deep within us that hadn’t yet been expressed. Ultimately, we vocalized with our mouths wide open, melding our voices collectively, that at times sounded dissonant, and usually, resonant. Similar to how I’ve heard sacred chanting. At the very end, we gathered our voices into one, and sent it out to the universe. By that time, our hands were over our hearts, and we all felt very calm.
Once we took our eye masks off, and got acclimated to the lights again, many of us with our hands still over our hearts, Joule asked us to make eye contact with as many people as we could, in silence. It was a powerful moment – in New York City, where staring people straight in the eye is usually confrontational – we freely, openly, and with open heart acknowledged each other’s presence in the room. Sometimes we nodded to one another, sometimes a slight, calm smile. It was so lovely that it was one of the most moving and emotion-invoking experiences that night for me.
After the concert, I felt liberated and my energy was free. My Liver Qi was freely flowing (the Liver directs the free flow of Qi throughout the body, and when it is obstructed in any way, it is often followed by physical or emotional pain), and my energy was heightened and bright. In Chinese Medicine, there is a saying, “When there is pain, there is no free flow of Qi. When there is free flow of Qi, there is no pain.” And being that this concert was in honor of Spring, and Liver and Gallbladder are the organs associated with Springtime, it was fitting.
What will you free yourself of this Spring?
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sampirtMarch 26, 2013
wow a great article. I am a musician and have seen just how healing sound can be as I have done lots of work with special needs as well. I love how these frequencies can REALLY relax and chill us out!! I have set up a well being blog about many different things. Check it out at http://live4unow.wordpress.com/
Alcantara AcupunctureMarch 26, 2013
Hi Sam, and thank you for the comment! I’m glad you enjoyed my newest blog post, and that it resonated with the musician in you. I totally agree with you that music’s frequencies can be very healing, relaxing, and chill us out! Thanks for forwarding me your blog site. Kudos on all your health achievements thus far!