I asked you wonderful people a while ago what stress relief method you’d like me to test and report back to you about. It was close – so I’ll probably try all of them – but the winner is: singing bowls.
Before I attended a local singing bowl concert, I did a little research. This is a short summary: How could the sound of singing bowls improve relaxation? The sound has a certain frequency that should alter your brain state – alpha waves are produced. But that’s not all. Since our bodies consist mainly of water, the soundwaves can travel though our entire body. I like to see it as dropping a pebble in water. It doesn’t only affect the place where the stone hits the water. The water will show a ripple effect; it undulates.
As I entered the small room where the singing bowl concert was going to take place, I noticed a great collection of bowls and other instruments I had never seen before. The organizers assured me they were handmade in Nepal, Tibet, Peru and so on. I asked what the instruments are used for in those countries and I was told they have the same purpose there. As a few more people started to drop in I noticed some young people. I didn’t expect this in a small town like this. I thought I was going to be the only young person there. But apparently finding enlightenment is trendy.
The invitation said to bring something comfy to keep you warm, so I brought my Snuggie – don’t judge until you’ve tried it. So, I was lying there in my Snuggie. Completely ready to relax. I closed my eyes and as the first gong sound… the man next to me started to snore. It was like he passed out instantly. I’m always a bit jealous of people who can fall asleep in like a minute. Anyway… the concert was an hour and the man snored for… exactly, the entire session. It’s very hard to relax when you hear the singing bowls in one ear and snoring in the other ear. It really made me laugh – on the inside. A control freak like me, that even tries to control her ‘relax time’ gets confronted with something she can’t control. Hey, there must be a wise lesson in it right?
At first I tried to shut him up with my mind, but unfortunately I don’t have psychokinetic powers. So, there was noting left but surrender. I tried to visualize the man as a very wise buddhist monk that was sleeping in front of a temple. Soon I was in the place where the bowls came from. Another buddhist monk was waiting for me and walked with me through the beautiful temple. It looked very old and there were candles everywhere. “You came here for answers”, he said. “They will come to you when their supposed to, in their own time.” This man looked so wise and at peace. I wasn’t going to settle for that. “You want to be at peace?”, he said as if he read my mind. “Surrender in faith and your path will appear. Faith starts from within. You have to trust yourself first, empty your mind from worrying and just smile.” As he smiled at me I felt the corners of my mouth curling up.
In the mean time the sound of different bowls floated trough the air as little clouds. Some were heavy like ominous thunder putting you at your place; forcing you to ground. Others had a light sound that fluttered like a butterfly, making you feel weightless. I got a weird sensation when one of the organizers held a ‘light sound bowl’ near my head. It was like the top of my head opened and I expanded. Every time she walked by it felt like she hit my head, but she didn’t – at least, not physically.
The monk proceeded: “A wise man is not the one who controls his thoughts, but the one who knows which ones to pay attention to.” Wow, I didn’t know my subconscious had all these wise answers, I thought. Or isn’t it in my mind? Am I actually experiencing something spiritual? I’m not even going to try to answer that. The monk took me to a ‘puddle of truth’ and made me look at the reflection. “You’re seeing your grandest desire”, he said. “The fact that you see it so clearly is the reason it will manifest. Don’t morn the losses, celebrate them, as it’s your future ‘unwrapping’, shaping your new reality.” Suddenly I found myself outside the temple. The monk smiled and said: “Did you found what you came here for?” Yes, I did.
I think everyone will get a different experience. I didn’t get that relaxed that I could fall asleep like sleepy sleeperson next to me. I got more calm, but still in an active – or alert – state. After the concert I did feel more careless. That’s the world I would use to describe the feeling I left with: carelessness. But did it really relief stress? The next morning deadlines were still lurking and the bowls hadn’t magically taken out all the things that bring stress. But for a whole evening I felt like I didn’t care about it and that was nice.
May you want to try it yourself, you can check Google for spiritual centers in your area. I went to Kesadaran in The Netherlands. I’ll leave you with a video of a Tibetan singing bowl concert I found on the internet. This isn’t the one I attended, but it’s to give you an idea.