Setting an intention for sound
Last week I started doing private and small group Sacred Bloom sound healing sessions at the two homeless shelters where I have been offering my drum circles for the last few years and, more recently, my sound baths.
As I do in my private sessions elsewhere, I have been asking participants what they are looking for out of the sound healing, what they want. This question is born out of a beautiful sentiment from one of my teachers during the 9-month Integrative Sound & Music Institute Certificate program from the Open Center that I am graduating from next weekend. Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, a teacher in the Bon Buddhist tradition, offered up that if we are open to what we want, we will have it. If we are closed...well, we can't get it, can we? He uses the "warrior syllable" A, like Ahhhhhh, to express openness and the willingness to receive what we want.
I incorporate the "Aaaaah" sound repeatedly in my sound baths, often in conjunction with playing one of my Tibetan singing bowls. The sound rings out from deep in my chest along with the ringing vibration of the bowl, offering up the opportunity to open our hearts and minds to what it is that we want when we really truly stop to listen.
The feedback from the staff at Camba's Park Slope Women's Shelter about what the small eager group of ladies wanted was beautiful and heartfelt. They shared that they desired flow, and love, and growth, and surrender, and peace. Someone put the desires together in a beautiful poem to capture what they were looking for as a group: "When you surrender to love it allows you to flow, which allows you to grow." It was a perfection summation of what I try to foster with my Sacred Bloom practice!! After the sound bath, they seemed relaxed and restored for their difficult work, inspired by their own intentions and what they received from the half-hour of focused listening.
At the men's shelter yesterday, the participants gathered in the small upstairs library of Camba's Opportunity House offered up what they wanted: housing, freedom, and peace.
After the calm minutes of silence that followed the sound bath, I suggested that freedom is a mindset, one that we have to cultivate through deep listening to ourselves, that we have to work on. Their participation in a sound healing meditation meant that they showed up for themselves, that they were brave enough to stop and listen to the stories in their mind, some very difficult stories in most cases. To stop and sit together, paying attention to the changing tones and rhythms that make their way through our ears and into our minds, reverberating through our bodies, was in and of itself an openness to receiving the things they want.
I cannot offer up exactly the energy required to do the hard work of working at a shelter, nor can I personally provide apartments to shelter residents. But I can provide some moments of peace, and a safe place to gather and reflect on what people might need to heal, to move forward. English playwright William Congreve said "Music has charms to sooth a savage breast." The savage emotions that sometime arise in our hearts undoubtedly need to be soothed. And it is lovely to have the opportunity to do this, if even for a short interval.
Namaste. Peace. Shalom. Inshallah. Thank you for reading, and taking part in this Sacred Bloom Tribe, a group dedicated to allowing all people the opportunity to discover their true selves through deep listening.