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Of crystal bowls, cheese and compost

Maybe it’s the time of year but I’ve been feeling a little sluggish and out of sorts. So when the opportunity arises to attend a local sound healing workshop with Scott Grant I wonder if this might be a chance to unblock my energy.

We've probably all heard the resonance effects of running a finger around a wineglass. Scott does the same thing with 12 crystal singing bowls. When I arrive at Yoga on the Hill in Surrey, I’m surprised to see that the largest white crystal bowl is about the size of a laundry basket, and even the smallest would make a very substantial tea caddy. I was expecting something rather smaller and more portable.

Scott starts the evening with an introduction about how the bowls are going to help heal and balance our chakras (energy centres in the body). As I understand it, the sound of the bowls vibrates against any energy blockages and helps shake them loose – perhaps a bit like beating out the dust clogging up a carpet.

So we (about 10 of us) settle down under snug blankets and close our eyes as Scott starts to play. As he starts the first bowl singing I start to feel a vibration in my feet. Well, it is the bowl for the root chakra, so that makes sense. But the sound soon rises up my body until it is around my head. The resonance of the bowl is deep, powerful, surprisingly loud and moving in rhythmic circles around my head, as if it is orbiting around me. I can see why they used to use these kinds of sounds in old B-movie sci-fi soundtracks as it does feel very “cosmic”. On the other hand, you could say it’s a bit like a bad case of tinnitus.

Later on in the evening, other people will report blissful experiences but at this stage I’m finding it quite uncomfortable. The second bowl is not much better although I can't seem to hear it in my right ear, which makes me wonder if the night clubbing days of my youth have caused some damage to my inner ear tubes at that frequency. Alternatively, maybe that chakra is unbalanced. The ringing sound is now starting to become quite unpleasant and I wonder if maybe sound baths are not for me, but I resolve to stick with it to the end – maybe this is my energy being unblocked. I guess carpets don’t feel too good when they are being beaten either, but removing dust prolongs their looks and life. So I try to focus on my breath and repeat the mantra Scott has given us - to let it go and be grateful.

As Scott moves through the twelve bowls, my mind drifts into many different places but one experience stands out. I see pages of verse, printed lines of poetry or maybe song lyrics. I can't read it all; it flashes by too quickly, but unconnected words jump out, cheese, lithe, cornucopia, footing, and jabberwocky.

As Scott moves to the higher pitched bowls the noise becomes more bearable, pleasant even. The sound makes me think of space, - galaxies, stars and distant moons, so partway through the session, when I briefly open my eyes I'm half expecting to see the horseshoe nebula. It's a bit of a surprise to see the beams of the roof. I close my eyes once more.

When we eventually all surface from our blanket cocoons we discuss our experiences. I'm astonished to find two hours have passed. I’m impressed by Scott’s skill and concentration in playing these bowls for so long. Most other

people at the workshop report that they found it beautiful and beneficial. For me, I’m left with a strange lingering resonance in my body and a not entirely unpleasant spaced out feeling. But it’s a while before I feel I can drive home.

The next day I feel curiously motivated to get up and get things done, something I've been struggling with over the last few months. I also feel a strong compulsion to write, hence this blog entry. I don't know whether it was the sound healing, or just because the sun is out but I decide to do some gardening jobs I've been putting off for ages. While emptying my compost bin, I am mystified to find a sealed cellophane packet containing a pair of fluorescent green ear plugs! It seems the universe has a sense of humour.

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