The HEALING Power of sound,


     Vibrational sound healing supported within the foundation of Buddhist philosophy is one of the most powerful alternative healing methods. This is what attracted me to the Tibetan Bowl Sound Healing School. I’m fascinated by the interplay of Buddhist tradition and the peer reviewed science that supports sound healing as a mechanism of healing. Importantly, healing occurs on the mental, physical, and spiritual energetic levels within the human organism. To understand how vibrational sound healing positively impacts the mind, body and spirit, click here.  

     Tesla said if you want to understand the universe, then understand frequency and vibration. Our brains and bodies emit an electric field. The electric field (frequency and vibration) of thoughts and their subsequent emotions can be measured by placing electrodes on the brain. Similarly, organs vibratory field can be measured by using ultrasound. Ultrasound is the process of transmitting sound waves into the body and measuring the sound waves that echo back. 

            Every person and everything in the universe is vibrating at a measurable frequency and illness is a manifestation of out-of-synch, disharmonious vibratory frequencies that can be restored to health with the resonance to the proper frequency. In her award winning book Ancient Sounds for a New Age Diane Mandle states:  “Illness is a manifestation of dis-harmony in the body…healing can be achieved by restoring the normal vibratory frequencies …of the out of harmony parts of the body.” 


      Greg Braden is a well-known researcher linking spirituality and science. He showed a video during one of his lectures where a woman was healed from ovarian cancer by the chanting of Buddhist monks. A live x-ray was placed over the woman’s abdomen so you could see the large tumor on her ovary. The monks began chanting the intention “healed, whole” in their native language. Miraculously, in real time, the cancerous tumor on the woman’s ovary began to shrink! The healing power of the monks’ vocalized chant combined with the intention that this woman was already healed and whole brought her ovaries back into health and vibrational harmony in a matter of minutes!


       Setting a positive intention amplifies the healing power of the Tibetan bowls and instruments. Hence, focusing energy (i.e. setting an intention) is an important aspect of sound healing in the Buddhist tradition. Our minds generate vibration. For example, each thought and feeling we have is associated with a particular frequency, just like sound or light. Words and thoughts shape our lives. But what ‘power’ do they really have? The study of epigenetics has proven that our words actually have the power to shift the expression of our genes, to turn genes on or off. That is to say, our words and thoughts have the power to turn on the genes for either health or disease.  

           As a thought vibrates through the mind, either consciously or subconsciously, it ultimately manifests into reality. Isn’t it true that everything that we see started off as a thought first? In other words, a thought or an idea precedes physical manifestation. This isn’t meant to produce blame or shame if you are stuck in life, or have a strong inner critic. Most of us do to some degree. It’s to empower you to become aware of and let go of limiting automatic thoughts and emotions. But awareness is not enough, and this is where Buddhist philosophy comes in. The training is to become aware but with an attitude of compassion towards yourself.  That’s the hard part: practicing meeting the wounded parts, with kindness, instead of aggression. 

            Shifting self talk towards encouragement, empathy and warmth takes courage and patience. You can start by consciously choosing your words each day by setting an intention for what matters most to you. A well crafted intention is one that is positive, clear and concise, and stated as if it has already happened. Feel the emotions you would feel if your intention was already a reality. Setting an intention and feeling it as already a reality starts to create powerful changes within the energetic blue print of the mind and body.



      In my own healing and working with others, it seems we have forgotten the innate knowing of who and what we truly are. We are not this mind or body. We are Divine Light beings, here for a wisp of time, simply inhabiting these bodies and minds. We are a spark of Source/Energy, a spark of awareness/consciousness. This light energy that we are will exist long after these bodies have returned to the Earth. Even physics teaches us that energy never dies, it just transforms into different states.           

      When I find myself stuck in the small self, identified with old patterns of belief and conditioning, stuck in the “trance of unworthiness” (term coined by Tara Brach, Buddhist teacher); I engage in a process to get unstuck by practicing befriending whatever I am thinking and feeling with kindness and curiosity. You can practice it whenever you feel the body beginning to tense and tighten or the narrowing of the mind going into the stories of shame, blame or self criticism. See the process in the next section.


1. First, slow down; slow way down. Take three long, slow, deep breaths. Feel your feet on the floor or your bottom in your seat. Spend a few minutes listening to the sounds around you. The sound of your breath. The sounds close by. The sounds far away. This act of slowing down, coming back to your center in the present moment, provides a space for fight/flight activation to settle down. Pausing in this way allows the mind to expand back into its natural state of openness.  

2.  Second, see if you can recognize an emotion that is present: fear, anxiety, grief, anger etc. Are there any thoughts attached to the emotion? Drop into the body: notice where the emotion is being held in the body. This is a very important step because when our minds are spinning out of control we lose touch with the body, with the present moment. 

             An important tip about step 2: The tendency of the mind is to judge and label what we think and feel as either good or bad, right or wrong. The truth is that emotions and thoughts aren’t good or bad, right or wrong, they’re just raw energy. Another tendency is of the mind is to immediately try to get rid of or fix unpleasant or painful thought and emotions. The training is shifting from thinking of a challenge or problem as ‘bad’ and something that needs to be fixed immediately, to learning get familiar with it, stay present with it, befriend it. Allowing thoughts and feelings the space to be there. You may not like it and it may not feel good, but accept that this is how it is right now. This is the reality of the moment. Trust and know that this moment won’t last forever. Everything is impermanent. Everything comes and goes. Suffering comes when we resist the pain that we are feeling in this moment, as it is. The next time a difficult emotion arises, practice relaxing your body, breathing deeply, and allowing the moment to be as it is, dropping the story lines about the emotion that has arisen.  

3. Investigate the emotion and thoughts you are having (again, with as much kindness as you can). You could explore if the energy of an emotion is hot or cold, if it has a color, a taste, a texture, an odor, a size or a shape. Sometimes, if it’s a really strong emotion and sense of identification, I will investigate (with curiosity) what it is I’m believing. In other words, what is the meaning or the story I create about the thoughts/emotions. Usually the meaning we create about the thoughts and feelings we have involve blame towards the self or others, shame, self-hatred and self-criticism. 

4. Finally, offer yourself nurturing and compassion. This is the heart of the Buddhist practice. When we befriend our wounded parts by being kind, nonjudgmental and curious about our experience we start to open up again. We access spaciousness and the natural warmth of the mind. 

        Try nurturing yourself by placing a hand on your heart and imagine a warm light bathing over you.  Breathe in and out of your heart. You could also bring to mind a loving being (a spiritual figure, a family member, a wise friend, a pet) and imagine their love and wisdom flowing into you as you sit with a difficult thought or emotion. 


          In healing sessions, I listen between the lines to discern the unmet needs that cause so much of our suffering. In other words, what does this person need in order to return to spaciousness, to wholeness? What is it that is standing between you and your natural state of bliss?  

        Once we give ourselves the space to allow our experience as it is, we begin to see clearly what is blocking us from our natural state of bliss. Once we give the wounded parts the time and space to be held in compassion, a beautiful thing happens. As we bear witness to the suffering going on within us, we naturally begin to feel compassion for those wounded parts of the Self. We feel compassion for the ‘one’ who is suffering.  Our hearts begin to soften and open. This is the beautiful interplay of sound healing and Buddhist philosophy: we are led back Home to our natural state of bliss. In Ancient Sounds for a New Age,  Richard Rudis is quoted: “..the fundamental state of the universe is a state of bliss. Our core state, because we are part of the natural universe, is also one of bliss and great ease.”