Sound is among the most transformative and healing
energies on the planet. It can relax us and make us calm, or move
us to great heights of emotion. Sound can restore balance and harmony
to our lives and make us healthy and well. Conversely, sound also
has the ability to adversely affect us and bring our already stressed-out
vibratory rates to new levels of imbalance and disharmony. Why
and how? What is the difference in the sounds that make us healthy
and those that distress us?
Sound can affect us on all levels - physical,
emotional, mental, and spiritual. Beneficial sounds for us are
often sounds that we consider "sacred." These sounds
seem to have the ability to charge and harmonize us. There are
reasons for this.
Knowledge of sound as a therapeutic and transformative
force is very old. The Ancient Mystery Schools of Greece, Rome,
Egypt, Tibet, and India had great knowledge of sound as being the
primary creative force in the universe. The ancients knew what
the modern physicists now understand, that all is in a state of
vibration. "The World is Sound!" these ancient mystics
proclaimed, and indeed it seems to be so.
If we examine the basic tenants of many of the
spiritual paths of the world, we find a commonality in them. They
all share the belief that the world was created through sound.
Here are but a few examples.
In Genesis, form the Old Testament, one of the
first statements is, "And the Lord said 'Let there be light!"
In St. John, form the New Testament, it is written, "In
the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word
From the Vedas of the Hindu tradition comes the
writing that, "In the beginning was Brahman with whom was
the Word. And the Word is Brahman."
The Ancient Egyptians believed that the god "Thot" created
the world by his voice alone.
In the Popul Vuh, form the Mayan tradition, the
first real men are given life by the sole power of the word.
The Hopi Indian's story of creation tells of the
animation of all forms on earth by having the Spider Woman sing
the Song of Creation over them.
Many of us know of Pythagoras as the father of
geometry. However, how many are aware that in the 6th century B.C.
in Greece, he had a school that taught, not only the magic of numbers,
but the healing powers of music. Pythagoras taught of the Music
of the Spheres and how the movement of the heavenly bodies could
be perceived and reflected in the intervals of plucked strings.
Today, in the West, much of this ancient knowledge has all but
vanished. However, we are now in the process of rediscovering that
wisdom, and adding to it through information and understanding
obtained from modern science. In Healing Sounds, I discuss the
spiritual and scientific understanding of the application of sound
as a transformative and curative energy.
Perhaps the most profound scientific work showing
the power of sound to effect shape and form was researched by Dr.
Hans Jenny, a Swiss medical doctor and scientist who spent ten
years of his life examining the effects that sound had on shape
and formation. Jenny photographed plastics, pastes, liquids, powders,
and other substances as they were being vibrated by sound. The
results of these experiments are truly awe inspiring for they show
extremely organic shapes being created from inorganic substances
merely be exposing them to different sound frequencies. The different
substances, which were once blobs of inorganic matter take on varying
geometric form and begin to look like living creatures: starfish,
human cells, microscopic life.
his book, Cymatics, Dr. Jenny wrote: "Now it is beyond doubt
that where organization is concerned, the harmonic figures of physics
are in fact, essentially similar to the harmonic patterns of organic
nature...we have the certain experience that harmonic systems such
as we have visualized in our experiments arise from oscillations
in the form of intervals and harmonic frequencies. That is indisputable.
The Healthy Body
According to Dr. Jenny, harmonious shapes and harmonic frequencies
are interrelated. Through Jenny's experiments and research we
have proof that different sounds create different forms. This
phenomenon is one of the basic principles of healing with sound,
the principle of "resonance." Modern physics has verified
that we are all vibrating atomic and sub-atomic particles. Everything
has a resonant frequency, the frequency it most naturally vibrates
at. From the chair you may be sitting onto the pages of this
magazine. Every part of your body also has a resonant frequency.
A concept of disease, observed by the ancients, and now speculated
by certain scientists such as Itzhak Bentov in his book Stalking
The Wild Pendulum is that illness is an out of tune behavior of
the body. When something becomes diseased, it frequency changes
and it begins to vibrate differently than it once did. Through
sound, it may be possible to apply harmonizing vibrations which
will cause the body to become in tune again.
In a healthy body, every organ, bone, tissue, and other part is
producing balanced frequencies that create a healthy harmonic of
the entire body. A healthy body is like an orchestra playing a
marvelous and natural symphony, the "Suite of the Self." But
what happens if the third violin player from the end looses their
sheet music? They begin to play the wrong notes in the wrong rhythm.
The "Suite of the Self" begins to sour and this is what
we call disease.
Continuing with this image, we find that traditional
allopathic medicine would probably cut off the head of this violin
player in order to alleviate the problem. But what would happen
if we could somehow give this violin player back the sheet music?
What if we could project the correct resonant frequency back into
the imbalanced organ and allow it to vibrate to its normal healthy
Dr. Peter Guy Manners, a British scientist who
has created the Cymatic Instrument, which projects sounds into
the body for healing, describes this phenomenon of resonant frequency
healing this way:
"A healthy organ will have its molecules
working together in a harmonious relationship with each other and
will all be of the same pattern. If different sound patterns enter
into the organ, the harmonious relationship could be upset...they
may establish their disharmonious pattern in the organ, bone tissue,
etc., and this is what we call disease. If therefore, a treatment
contains a harmonic frequency pattern which will reinforce the
organs, the vibrations of the intruders will be neutralized and
the correct pattern for that organ reestablished. This should constitute
a curative reaction."
There is another concept which the ancients understood
and which will eventually be recognized by modern scientists. This
is the concept of "intention," the understanding that
sound has the ability to transmit the intention of the one creating
the sound to the one receiving the sound. Intention is the energy
behind the sound. It is the thought and will which we have when
making the sound. If you are angry or sad when making a sound,
despite the frequency of the sound (which creates its resonance),
the effect of the sound will convey anger or sadness. Conversely,
if we are happy or joyful when we create the sound, its effect,
regardless of the actual sound being created, will be one of joy.
Kinesiology, a method of muscle testing used by
many holistic health practitioners, is one way to measure the effects
of intention. an angry or negative thought, when coupled with a
sound, will cause an individual tested to become weak. The opposite
occurs when positive intention are projected onto sound; individuals
when tested become strong. Unfortunately, kinesiology is not considered
to be scientifically valid and the medical community is a long
way away from recognizing the importance of intention in sound
creation. Yet the ancients knew of this importance. Indeed, it
was vital in the soundings of any frequency which they wanted to
In Healing Sounds there is a formula I have created
which incorporates this concept of intention as an important aspect
of healing with sound. It is: Frequency + Intention = Healing With
sacred sounds, the intention of the individual making the sound
is to align with Divine Will and higher consciousness. If the world
began with the creator God or Goddess making Sound, then the ultimate
aim of sacred sound is for the sounder to attempt to unite with
this Sound. It becomes "Thy Will" not "My Will."
Sacred sounds from different traditions can vary extremely in their
use of frequencies. These traditions will often use very different
tonal scales and rhythms than we are accustomed to here in the
West and we may find these sounds extremely bizarre, out of tune,
and quite disharmonious. That is, until we truly open our ears
and our hearts to what is really going on. Remember that when
Westerners first visited Africa, they reported that the Africans
loved to sing and dance, but unfortunately the Africans were
totally unmusical with no sense of rhythm. Nowadays, we may hear
Hindu Ragas, Tibetan Chanting, or Balinese Gamelon music for
the first time and feel very similar reactions perceiving these
sounds as totally unmusical. However, once we get past this initial
response, we may find that these sacred sounds have extremely
Dr. Alfred Tomatis, a French doctor, has spent
many years researching the sacred sounds of the world. In particular,
he has examined much sacred chanting, including Gregorian and Tibetan.
Dr. Tomatis has found that many of the sacred sounds on the planet
are rich in high frequency sounds, called harmonics or overtones.
He believes that these sounds charge the cortex of the brain and
stimulate health and wellness.
Harmonics, or overtones, are geometrically related
sounds that occur whenever a natural sound is created. Harmonics
are the sounds within all sounds, responsible for the tone color
or "timbre" of an instrument and our voices. The mathematics
of harmonics display universal principles corresponding to an underlying
framework found in chemistry, astronomy, physics, botany, and the
study of other sciences. Knowledge and understanding of these sounds
seems to be quite ancient, dating back to at least Pythagoras if
The use of harmonics as sacred sounds may be found
in many Shamanic and mystical traditions, particularly Tibetan
Buddhism and Mongolian Shamanism. Here the sacred sound practitioner
developed the ability of creating multiple overtones or "Vocal
Harmonics" and singing two or more notes simultaneously. These
sounds were used by chanters as a means of invoking different deities
and energy forces and for balancing the etheric centers called "chakras."
Listening to recordings of Tibetan Monks chanting
in this "One Voice Chord" can itself be a transformational
experience. The monks utilize a fundamental frequency that is so
deep, it seems to be almost inhuman, like the growl of some wild
animal. Coupled with this tone is a much higher voice which sounds
like the voice of an angel singing in harmony. These two sounds
come from the same being, a Tibetan Monk, and they are the result
of sacred sound practices.
The creation of harmonics is based upon vowel
sounds. The singing and elongation of these vowel sounds is found
in most of the major chanting in the world, from Hindu and Tibetan
mantras, To Sufi and Kaballistic practices. For example we have "Oooooommm" and "Aaaaameen," Aaaaallaaah," and "Yaaaah
Waaaay." Through this form of "toning," extraordinary
resonance of the physical body and the brain occurs. When the reciter
of these sounds focuses an intention of becoming one with the sacred
sound, the results are extraordinary.
In the Australian Aboriginal traditions, the sacred
sounds are produced by an instrument called the Didgeridoo, a hollowed
out tree limb. When it is blown, using a technique called "circular
breathing" (which allows for the creation of a continuous
stream of air and therefore a non-stop sound), the result is a
single tone, very deep and extremely rich with harmonics. Those
of you who have heard this sound may have found it very similar
to the "Tibetan Deep Voice," which is also very deep
with distinct overtones.
It is most interesting that these two very similar
sounds were created by two very distinct civilizations, separated
by many thousands of miles. Could it have been, as their legends
indicate, that the initial human creators of these sounds first
heard these sounds in the dream state and then tried to create
them in the physical body, one using the voice while the other
using an instrument?
The chanting of a sacred sound coupled with the
intention of invoking specific beings or energy forms may create
what British scientist Rupert Sheldrake called "morphic" fields.
These are energy fields that cause shape and form to occur. In
many of the sacred sounding traditions, the recitation of the name
of an entity will eventually bring forth that entity and allow
one to unite with it. Many times the recitation of these sacred
names are called "mantras" (a Sanskrit word). However,
this practice is found the world over and is based upon an ancient
understanding of sacred sound. In many of the creation myths, the
Creator God or Goddess would think of an object and then sound
its name. The Being would first visualize the object to create,
placing intention upon this. Then the Being would vocalize the
sound of the object, creating its frequency and bringing it into
Vocalization + Visualization = Manifestation
An example of this would be "Om Mani Padme Hum", an invocation
to the Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Divine Compassion. When coupled
with the intention and visualization of invoking this being, the
vocalization of this chant will have the result of producing a
field of compassion. The Tibetans have a highly developed (and
extremely powerful!) practice of this in which they utilize extraordinarily
specific visualizations of entities in what are termed "mandalas." Whether
it is in the Sufi, Christian, Hebrew, or any of the countless other
traditions, including the non-tradition of shamanism, this sounding
of the sacred names of the Divine is utilized as a deeply spiritual
practice to invoke the Divine.
When we listen to recording of this type of sound,
if we are open enough to by-pass any strangeness of language, tone,
or frequency, we are often in the frequency of the person making
these sounds. And if they are done with the correct intention,
we may be able to experience very transformative results.
Usually, this sounding is very slow and repetitive,
creating a phenomenon known as sonic "entrainment" in
which the brain waves of the listener lock in resonance with the
brain waves of the chanter. This is one way of creating altered
states - by slowing down our brain waves. Much sacred sound puts
us in resonance with frequencies that are within the alpha or theta
brain wave range, 7 to 12 Hz, and 4 to 7 Hz, respectively. Many
of the environmental sounds seem to resonate to this spectrum of
sound and particularly to a frequency called the Schumann resonance,
7.83 Hz, which may be the resonant frequency of the planet.
Many of the sacred rhythms of certain cultures,
particularly Native American, employ at their center a heart beat
which we entrain and match when listening to. Our heart beat, respiration,
and brain waves will slow down due to the repetitive rhythms created.
However, another method of creating altered and transformational
states is to overdrive the brain and put us into a trance state.
This is true of many of the polyrhythmic sounds of the sacred music
of Africa, Bali, and other cultures. The over-driving of the psyche
which occurs can energize us to the point of what seems to be the
loss of control. This same frequency response can sometimes be
experienced walking down a crowded and noisy city street, but the
effect due to the intention may be very, very different. One experience
may be a heavenly, blissful state due to the sacredness of the
sounds while the other may cause us to feel like we're in Dante's
The difference between the two effects of the
sounds described above (the sacred rhythms versus the city street
noises) conveys the difference between the sacred and the mundane.
While it is possible that any sound can be made sacred due to our
intention, most sounds are not. This understanding is particularly
important for those of us creating music. Through understanding
sacred sound as a vehicle for merging and becoming one with the
Divine, we can truly create transformational energies that will
benefit the planet. While this knowledge has not yet reached mainstream
consciousness, many are becoming aware of the power of sound. When
this knowledge is restored, music will be created and utilized
for entrainment, not entertainment, and sacred sounds will resonate
throughout the planet.