A Word or Two About Sound
We don't have to know the science behind a thing, in order to experience the thing. At the same time, we can experience a thing, and know it on an experiential level. According to Webster Dictionary, "to know" is defined as "that which is directly perceived," one of my teachers once pointed out. That's the sort of knowledge that is called wisdom. That's my interest.
But the intellectual mind is curious and wants to know, why does sound healing work? So let's look into it.
"All force is vibration..." "So is matter." "Everything is vibratory."
-Edgar Cayce (1877 - 1945)
Sound is vibration. It is energy that travels in a wave, called waveforms. A waveform oscillates between two states, positive and negative. There's a rhythm to each waveform that involves expansion (positive) and contraction (negative).
Sound is energy. Energy is always vibrating, it never stands still. It happens that everything in our universe is energy, so everything is vibrating, even though that motion may not be perceptible to our eyes or ears. We might say, "that thing doesn't look like it's moving and it's not making any noise," but it is indeed vibrating. You aren't aware of that motion and maybe you aren't meant to see or hear it, limited by human perception. Maybe it would be too hard to function if everything was that transparent, all vibration being seen and heard!
So, everything is vibrating. Sound is vibration. Our bodies and minds are vibrating. They're sounding, one could say. And though most of those sounds are, again, imperceptible to our ears, there are machines that can read those sounds, in case we needed proof or we needed to measure it for functional purposes.
The "frequency" of the waveform is how we measure vibration. This means, how frequently the wave recurs in a said pattern or rhythm over a certain unit of time. We measure "frequency" most typically in hertz (Hz). Hertz is a unit of measurement based on one cycle per second. (Heinrich Rudolf Hertz was the first modern scientist to prove that electromagnetic waves exist.) That means if something has a frequency of 300 Hz, it's vibrating at a frequency of 300 times per second.
So, we are made of vibrating energy, energy that is vibrating in all sorts of ways throughout the many parts that make the body. The heart organ vibrates, the cells that make the heart are vibrating. The liver, the spleen, the muscles, your eyeball! All rhythmically vibrating. And there's an order to that vibration. When order is maintained, we experience health. When dis-order occurs, we experience dis-ease.
Here's a great metaphor to illustrate that point: It's said that each cell in our body has a song of it's own, or in other words, is vibrating at a certain frequency. When all the cells are singing the same song, like an orchestra playing the same tune, with the same key, time, and rhythm, the body experiences harmony. We experience that harmony as health, balance, and well-being. When the cells in a certain area of the body are singing out of tune with the rest of the body, different songs and scales and rhythms, they create a dissonance, which is the opposite of harmony. That's when we experience dis-ease, imbalance, and the opposite of wellness in that area. That rogue orchestra player is out of ease with the rest of the company.
External sounds can affect these songs too. Just like wavelike energy is passing within our bodies, wavelike energy passes into our bodies and affects them on a cellular level. Wavelike energy also pass into our minds and our energetic bodies, affecting them on more subtle energetic level. It makes sense that external songs to our body affect them because, sound itself, is a wave that passes through gases, liquids, or solids. Our bodies are not protected by some invisible forcefield, let alone our porous skin. Waves are passing into our bodies all the time. When we can hear a sound, which falls in the range from 16 Hz to about 16,000 Hz, our brains receive the waves and we then perceive the sounds. Incidentally, children can hear higher frequencies, up to 18,000 Hz or more. Otherwise, we are still affected by infrasounds (sounds that are lower than our perceptible range) and ultrasounds (sounds that are higher than our perceptible range).
Have you ever heard music that gave you a headache? The sounds in that song didn't agree with the song that your body and mind was already playing. Or, another way we can see it is that the nerves, blood vessels, or muscles that cover your head and neck were already playing a little off key from the rest of the orchestra, and a certain song gives you a headache because it gets those players even more off key than they were.
Have you ever heard music that soothed you? The sounds in that song agreed with the song that your body and mind was already producing. Or, another way we can see it is that the qualities of that music amplified the natural state of resonance of your body and mind. Every part of our body has resonance, which is the natural vibratory state of say, a certain organ, blood vessel, tissue, etc.
Sound healing instruments are meant to tune your orchestra so that body and mind are resonating in their most natural state. In other words, sound healing uses sound to amplify the natural state of resonance of your body and mind. Sound healing helps to bring your body and mind back to a natural state of resonance.
At the same time, sound has the capacity to elevate the soul.
I'll be writing more on the topic of sound healing and will be sharing scientific studies that have demonstrated the power of sound healing as well as perspectives of mystics and clairvoyants. What's the difference between scientists and clairvoyants? They have different measurements of sight! I'll also discuss the concept of "healing" in coming sections.
The power of sound is real. The fabric of our universe itself, is made of, and some say is made by, sound. Sound is energy. Sound travels as a wave-like structure. Those "waveforms" are what we call "vibrations" in lay terms.
You've heard of "vibrations" and the many little catch phrases about them: "Good vibes," "Positive vibes," "Feel the vibes," and such, phrases that caught on in the 60's, supposedly popularized by The Beach Boys' song "Good Vibrations" in '66. Often, people use these phrases to communicate that we can feel each other's thoughts and feelings on a vibrational level so keep them pure and positive," or simply said, "give and receive positive energy." The well known theosophical text "Thought Forms", which I highly recommend, discusses this in a deeper way.
There's a science behind sounds and their vibrations that physicists and quantum physicists study, and the way sound affects us is increasingly acknowledged and validated in modern scientific circles. In fact, various ultrasound therapies have been used in the medical field for some time now. Furthermore, our modern society validated music therapy when in World War II, it contributed to major progress for wounded serviceman. Nonetheless, healing through music and sound is a long-held understanding of healers of antiquity.
I began this journey experiencing the power of sound first hand, and eventually I became curious about what I was experiencing. So, slowly, I'm learning about the science behind utilizing sound as a force for healing. This has helped to enhance my understanding as well as my own experience.
Through the study of sound and sound healing, scientific researchers continue to affirm that sound can have a healing affect on us. Self-generated sound through the voice enhances the power of sound even more. These changes are documented by clear biological changes assessed in well-controlled research studies.
All matter vibrates | Sound vibrations organize matter
Sound changes our biology, because sound organizes matter. The study of cymatics demonstrates this. Cymatics show how grains of sand or salt put onto a metal plate can be formed and reformed into various geometric patterns based on certain frequencies, generated by sounds, which vibrate the plate. Though cymatics was coined by Hans Jenny in 1967, it was a phenomenon that Theosophists like Annie Besant discussed much earlier in the 20th century, citing the "Chladni's sound plate."
It was in 1787 when Ernst Chladni discovered that sound shapes matter, creating simple structures with lower tones, and more complex ones with higher tones. The videos below offer a visual demonstration of these concepts.
An image from the groundbreaking book, "Thought Forms." Click the image to view the digital book.
Demonstration of the Chladni plate using a bow and some grains!
Steven Halpern, composer, research and founding father of new-age music, demonstrating cymatics with the voice chanting in the Great Pyramid.
And yet, if one goes far beyond the 18th century and examines human history, we see that the ancients knew of such geometrical structures, known as sacred geometry. And they recognized, as demonstrated in the Vedas of ancient India, that there was a relationship between those structures and sound. The mandala, for example, is one such representation, and is found across cultures throughout human history dating back tens of thousands of years, or perhaps many more. The mandala, sacred geometry, and sound are all related phenomena of nature, with the most subtle waveforms occurring and then the structure of matter following.
This is why sound is important. Because waveforms, of which sound is made, affect us on the physical dense realm, and the subtler emotional, mental and spiritual realms.
We can leverage sound to create real and lasting change within us.
More on "Vibes" & Such
"Each celestial body, in fact each and every atom, produces a particular sound on account of its movement, its rhythm or vibration. All these sounds and vibrations form a universal harmony in which each element, while having its own function and character, contributes to the whole."
-Pythagoras, described as "The Father of Music"