Archive for April, 2011

Deep sea diving

April 18, 2011

I always say that I have the best job in the world. I get to play gem crystal singing bowls and smooth old Himalayan ones. What happens helps people float easily into unknown waters and explore depths gently.

Other people can have the best job too. There’s more than one. It’s superlative, not comparative.

When I was a metalsmith jeweler, I had the best job. I was often surprised by the whimsical creations or beautiful ones that would come from my hands. The fact that an idea in my head could be translated by my sawing, soldering and polishing metal into a reality of its own amazed me. After a while, I learned that the chemicals involved didn’t agree with me, and I needed to move on. At about that time, I began to explore energy and spirituality and move into new areas. Luckily I had never given up my freelance writing business either, something I enjoy as well.

So when I met the gem crystal bowls I knew I had to play them. I had no choice, and I wanted to play them all the time. It was that simple. Call it what you will. It’s still that way.

At first, I would play the rims of two bowls blending their sounds together. That clearly helped people relax. Then I began to create what I call sequences (you can call them melodies/movements or even mantras if you like).  At first, the sequences involved as few as three bowls — rimming or gonging them. Soon I was incorporating five bowls in a pattern, and then making reversals in the order played. After that development evolved, once I finished a particular sequence, I felt called to gong various bowls as I was guided to do so. I would incorporate bowls that were not even part of the preceding mantra. That surprised me.

If you haven’t been to one of my concert meditations, the order of the sequences or mantras in a program is never the same twice. I don’t even know what bowl I’m going to play first until the audience and I get settled for the concert. Once the first bowl presents itself, the flow begins, and I rarely have a hesitation as I play. All the bowls need to know is how long they get to play. They take care of the order. I move into a trance state and simply flow with what I’m given. I try to stay out of the way.

Recently, another evolution has occurred. After I play a sequence, I may start gonging two bowls simultaneously. The sound is efffervescent, like bubbles emerging from the mantra. As a listener, you don’t have to continue to follow a particular sound, you can find added space instead. Pauses, as we know, can be as effective as any word or musical beat.   

I actually first started gonging two bowls together last summer, but it was for emphasis. I would only do it a maximum of once or twice in the whole program. Often it allowed dissonant notes to be combined, or it introduced a shift. This  evolution of the double gonging adds dimensions.

I am now a scuba diver moving into deeper waters. This reef is not dangerous, it’s beautiful as any in its complexity. Color, timbre, rhythm and melody all contribute to educating my awareness. My explorations continue further into resonance, frequencies and vibration. What could be behind this curve?

Come take a dive. The water’s inviting.