The Art of Crystal Bowls for Meditation, Healing, Balance, and Restoration
The Nature of the Bowls
Crystal bowls have been used in healing modalities since the 1980's. While some people speculate on the use of crystal singing bowls in ancient cultures, I am aware of no direct evidence of their use. However, interestingly enough, in a merger of new and ancient technologies, the computer industry made very high quality, pure silicon quartz crystal bowls utilized to grow pure silicon chips for their computers. If the bowls were not precise enough, they were thrown out. Apparently someone on the way to the trash bin discovered they have incredible pure sounds, also, and decided to stop discarding them! This birthed the singing crystal bowl industry. Since this time, they have become a vehicle of enormous potential for those working with sounds in both ancient and new healing technologies. Much like the ancient Tibetan Bowls, the crystal bowls can be used as sound tools. Coupling awareness and intent in their use can demonstrably increase their effectiveness. By simply listening to the rich, pure, vibrant tone of a bowl, most sound recipients find them deeply relaxing, rejuvenating, even stirring of deep emotions and states of well being. By utilizing awareness techniques, a practitioner can guide the recipient into states of clarity, balancing of chakra centers, and much more. They can be used to transport the recipient into deep meditative states, even shamanic journeys into other dimensional states, or, realms of wisdom and understanding.
Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, MD, a cancer specialist of Cornell Medical Center, NY, has found using the bowls, especially with simple chant and meditative practices, assist his clients to come into marked improvement and recovery rates over those using just standard allopathic treatment. Many other practitioners are offering both studies and anecdotal testimony in their use. I find them to be an extraordinary tool for simply bathing the client in rich sounds, which generate deep feeling states of wellness and relaxation. This can lead the body into a place of homeostasis, which assists the body in self-generative healing. From this place of relaxation or restoration, one can, also, easily guide a recipient into meditative states to explore deeper aspects of emotional release and resolution, or journeying into the inner dimensional awareness of one's greater being, and the greater Cosmos. The bowls can easily be played, by any individual, for one's own feeling states of attunement, relaxation, or wellness, as well as a 'drone' for voice in chant, mantra, song, or 'toning.'The bowls are easily struck and 'sung' by rubbing the outside of the bowl with rubber or suede mallets which accompany the bowls. Any novice can usually be proficient in a matter of moments, one of the unique and lovely aspects of the bowl. They do not take much training. Simple Practice One can easily use one's own intuitive guidance as to how to enter deeper states. The rare, pure tone of the bowl is extraordinary, and allows for rapid 'attunement' to a clear state of awareness, or consciousness. Such states allows for deepening meditative states, or touching into unresolved emotions awating clarity or release. Just breathing the feeling states that arise, from simple use of the bowl, one can easily access clarity, release, deep feeling states of spaciousness or coherence, which bring essential wellness. With a skilled practitioner, again, one can, also, enter heightened states of awareness, to peer into the greater dimensional aspects of cosmos, or the Greater Self, or journey into deeper mechanisms of release and healing of specific memory or trauma, etc. I highly recommend the bowls for use in simple meditative or healing practice, with or without the use of voice. But, again, they greatly enhance voice practices of all kind, as a pure and coherent tone generator, or drone instrument. And, the use of awareness and voice, properly utilized, can offer extraordinary capacity to deepen one's experience over the bowl alone. This is one of my primary choices as a vehicle for healing, and other worldly experiences as a sound practitioner. If I had three choices, it would be a crystal bowl, Native American frame drum, and a Tibetan bell.
Full Chakra Sets
Many suggest the necessity of a full 'chakra set' of crystal bowls.We do not. While using a bowl with a different pitch for each chakra can be a beneficial method of meditation, balance, or restoration of these sacred centers, every qualified practitioner I have ever been around can use one bowl for all practices. Having two or three bowls to generate various sounds for various reasons, mostly flexibility of voice, can be of benefit, if wanted, but a full set is not necessary. However, again, this can be useful for some. I do not demean the use of 7 or more bowls, just want to clarify, for most practitioners, it is not a necessity at all. And, some will sell you on this as a necessity. That is unfortunate when it occurs.The reality is, the work of meditation, healing, and wellness, is more about awareness and intent, than it is specific sounds or pitch. And, with proper awareness, one can do far more than by working with this pitch or that pitch. It can actually be distracting to the true nature of intent and healing.
How Do I Know Which Bowl Works Best for My Use?
The bowls come in many sizes, colors, tones, and even infusions of gemstones.This can be very confusiong, and I am going to boil this down to the simplest, most common uses and needs, without in depth explanation, as that can take a book. (For those seeking more specific answers, in order to select a bowl for purchase, our staff is fully trained and available to help you. I only withhold for need of space to incorporate this full body of knowledge.) For those who are not educated in musical theory enough to understand the difference in varying pitches, it usually is not an issue which pitch you get, though you may find the sound of one bowl touches you for reasons another may not. Each bowl size is only available in a few various pitches, and most of these are not 'true' pitch. This in itself probably requires yet another article. But, it is not an issue for most people who are not working with specific pitch for specific reasons, such as playing with standard tuned instruments in performance or recordings. The gemstones, also, are another story. And while some will swear by their use, we, again, find one bowl of any kind with right intent serves far greater value than any much more expensive gemstone bowl in itself will do. (We are happy to sell gemstone bowls for those who feel the benefit outweighs the cost, and we are happy to help with more specific guidance for those seeking to purchase a bowl. We, also, offer in depth guidance in their use in our trainings. For simplicity sake, we simply state we do not find their effectiveness matches their cost, when compared to developing fundamental use of awareness and intent in practices with bowls.) Most people will find a 10-12" frosted bowl as easy and versatile an instrument as you need. For deeper sounds, the 14" is plenty of depth for the vast majority of practitioners. My initial recommendation is a D or C pitched bowl. However, these are not available in all sizes, and, for most, it is not essential to have one pitch or another. Choosing what simply 'feels right' to one is as easy a tool and reason as most others! The F is very popular, and because of this, costs more in most cases. Any of the other pitches currently available (it does change consistently over time,) will satisfy MOST people looking to use these special instruments. For those practicing and wanting to use the sounds closer to, or, even, over others, such as on a massage table, you may prefer the versatility of a clear hand held handle bowl. These are a great tool, and now my primary one. The clear bowls do have a deliciously richer tone, which extends forever, it seems, but are a little more expensive. We specifically recommend the 6" or 7" sizes for best tone and ease of use for most people. For deepest pitches, or for stronger arms, some may like the 8" size. We do not recommend smaller bowls than any of these, as we sometimes find the tones not as rich or strong, or, the bowl a little harder to play. (Less than 10" frosted, though 9" is usually good, when available, or less than 6" clear handle.)
Training in Use, or Purchase of Bowls
You will find in depth training regarding the nature of, and use of, the crystal bowl our Sound Healers Training, in Vermont, 8 months long. Contact us if you wish further information. For those close enough to us to travel, you can call for personal demonstration and purchases in our display area, or personal training sessions with Zacciah. We can, even demonstrate some over the phone, to give you an idea of their differences and qualities of tone or pitch.
©2011 Zacciah Blackburn, Sunreed Instruments