Singing Bowls

"O Sing, choirs of angels | sing in exultation" begins the second verse of the well-known Western Christmas carol "O Come, All Ye Faithful". As this song resounds in one's mind, this particular stanza may reverberate with an alternative meaning.

One could easily replace the "u" in exultation, defined as a feeling of jubilation or rejoicing, with the letter "a" to make it exaltation, which has two meanings: (1) a state of extreme happiness (similar to exultation), or (2) an action of elevating someone in rank, power, or character. What this substitution brings to light is that singing helps us to achieve a higher state of happiness and general well-being.

Now, singing is not limited to vocalists and string instruments. Singing Bowls, whether made of crystal or the traditional Tibetan "seven metals", have long been used in Eastern tradition to elevate the spirit. By running a special mallet firmly along the outer rim of a singing bowl, friction causes the air molecules within the bowl to vibrate and move resulting in a sound wave. As these sound waves bounce around the inside of the circular bowl, a process known as resonance occurs, allowing the sound to become louder and longer as each sound wave synchronizes with the next. This is the same phenomenon that occurs when you run a wet finger along the rim of a crystal glass.

Many utilize the songs produced by these bowls in meditative practices intended to expand the mind, heighten awareness, and reach a state of nirvana or "highest happiness". In addition, modern holistic practices have led to the application of Singing Bowls as a healing tool that vibrates at a certain frequency and connects to the matching energy center, or chakra, in the body*. Sound therapy utilizes these correlations to activate the various chakra centers and thus treat the associated organ systems. For example, the Root Chakra resonates to the pitch of "C" which happens to be most basic pitch used in music, whereas the Heart Chakra resonates to "F" and the Crown resonates to "B". As you use an F-pitched singing bowl, you may find that your emotional state becomes elevated, whereas the use of a C-pitched singing bowl may result in a sense of feeling more grounded and centered.

Whether you are utilizing the Singing Bowls for healing or meditation, it goes without saying that their singing helps each of us to reach an elevated state of happiness. It is the search for this state of being that drives both Eastern and Western cultures to "sing in exaltation" to better our own human condition.