They call it the Big Bang — the “Wham!” scientists say started the universe. It’s significant that the event is described as a sound.
Modern physics is not the first to identify sound as the primordial energy throbbing through the universe. Ancient Vedic texts describe sound as the energy that runs through all life, the essence of creation. The original tone is “om,” what Hindu tradition calls the sound of God. The Bible also begins with the beginning. “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was God,” it says. Words must be uttered. That means sound. Other creation myths are similar. Mayan lore says that the original sounds were so powerful they could split rock, suggesting that was how temples like Machu Pichu and Uxmal were built. Egyptian myth includes the god Thot, said to have created the world with the power of his voice alone. Many primal languages, including the Kalahari ¡Kung and Dogon of Africa, use the same word for “sound” and “creator.” Hopi Indian tradition describes Spider Woman, who created the world by singing over it.
From “Big Bang” to “Spider Woman,” sonic energy is primal. That energy persists and any holistic view of the universe must concede that we are elements of that energy. From this understanding comes the idea of using sound to coalesce a state of wholeness and reestablish the stable patterns in the body supporting health.
The Sounds of Silence The ancient Vedic practice known as Gandharva veda is music used for health. Indian ragas emulate the diurnal cycle of energy. Each part of the day has its signature natural energy and all things in this world ebb and flow with it. In the morning, for example, there are the lifting energies of the rising sun, the awakening activity of animals and plants. Evening energy is slower, relaxing and transitional. Daily cycles flow on a wave of energy. Bodily cycles are also on that wave.
Sound also makes patterns in nature. Swiss researcher Hans Jenny and German scientist Ernst Chladni each found that sound organizes matter in near-perfect patterns of symmetry. Using tones and rhythms, they studied how molecules of powders, liquids and solids are organized out of chaos into patterns. Place a pile of metal filings on a drumhead and play a pure tone near it and you will see the filings vibrate and organize themselves in organic shapes and designs. Those patterns vary based on the amplitude and pitch of the note.
Sound has been used in healing for centuries. Perhaps the most organic and natural way to use sound for healing is to create the sound with the very instrument that it is trying to heal. That instrument is the body and the sound created is the human voice.
Sound off for health In 1935, American researchers Harvey Fletcher and W.A. Munson of Bell Labs established research that has been called the most significant in human hearing. They measured the frequency response of the human ear. What they found was that the human ear responds best to midrange sound, those frequencies from about 300 cycles per second (called Hertz) to about 3000 Hertz (abbreviated Hz). Not so coincidentally, the range of the human voice is right in those frequencies. It is common sense that the human ears evolved to respond best to the human voice. See how we struggle to “prove” something that ancient cultures just took for granted and used appropriately? The work of Dr. Royal Rife, Dr. Alfred Tomatis and the Mozart Effect are various uses of sonic frequencies to evoke healing.
A Toning Tune-up Using the voice to relate to our body is natural. We groan, sigh, moan, cry using sound. When we use the voice to elicit a healing response from our body, we call it toning. The voice has special resonant characteristics that make it perfect for that purpose. Most forms of toning utilize only sound, others incorporate words.
Chanting is a specialized version of toning that uses words. The sound of the words is more important than the meaning of them. Buddhists, Moslems, Hindi, Catholics, indeed, all major religions, have used chanting as a way to express and bring peace and harmony.
Aside from learning what the special sounds are, there is another, simpler way to learn about toning. One of the most important and useful sounds to us is the sound of our name. We are deeply connected to it in many emotional ways. For a general way to use toning, think of the primary vowel sound in your name. Begin by humming that quietly to yourself, breathing easily and regularly. The sound may change a little in pitch or intensity as you do it. Just let it find its own variation. Keep it up for a few minutes until you can feel the resonance through your body. You may find a feeling of comfort or relaxation and wellbeing. Eventually when you practice, you can open the mouth and begin to tone out loud. Try it and you may find your voice.
Heartland Healing is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit HeartlandHealing.com for more information.