Sound is powerful.
It has the ability to enchant us (like music) It has the power to annoy and aggravate (like my neighbor’s daily leaf blower use) It can be so powerful it can travel vast distances through mediums of fluid and solid nature (a Blue Whale can communicate with other whales over a 1000 miles away). Some studies show sound has the ability to create and heal.
Others see it as an essential pathway to a divine connection, illustrated for millennia by religious practices throughout the globe.
Collectively, our scientists are just beginning to understand the power of sound by studying how different wave frequencies have different impacts on the environment. Studies in cymatics, the manifestations of patterns created by sounds when exerted on a physical medium, were pioneered by Swiss physician Dr. Hans Jenny, in the 1960’s. Dr. Jenny noticed that sounds often created their own unique mathematical pattern that were visually similar to mandalas of meditative practice and prayers.
Later work by Japanese scientist, Dr. Masaru Emoto, further extrapolated that emotional expression of sounds, specifically examining the intentional feeling placed in the recitation of or implied meaning of a word. Dr. Emoto placed words on jars of water such as: love, peace, happiness, I hate you, ugly, etc… and then photographed the water droplets that had been frozen to crystalize. While the molecular structure of the water stayed the same for each jar (H2O) the patterns created by the crystallization of the water were dramatically different.
Even more interesting is many ancient meditative and spiritual practices have steady faith in the power of sound and intentionality working together to change and heal the physical world around them. What science is just catching up to prove, they have instinctively felt and practiced long before.
The Monks of the Gaden Shartse Phukhang Monastery are visiting Central New York this week and are inviting the community to participate in the chance to experience the power of sound by leading Empowerment chants at the Energy Lounge in Baldwinsville. An Empowerment Chant and Mediation of the Medicine Buddha was lead on Monday, December 1st, led by Lobsang Khamchuk Rinpoche and the English translation was given by Geshe Lama Phuntsho. A series of chants done in a call and response were shared with a guided visualization. The meditation prayer was completed with a tying of red pray cords blessed by the Dali Lama on each of the participants.
After the Empowerment, Geshe Lama Phuntsho, answered some questions about the power of sound in chanting and why they share this practice with people who traditionally have not grown up in this faith structure. This was his response:
How does the chanting have the power to heal?
When we take the time to chant we are motivated to change. We are switching our ordinary focus to change our intent to be pure. This pure intent is releasing us from our desires which cause us suffering. By chanting we are beginning to change ourselves to be more enlightened. By becoming enlightened we are healing ourselves, teaching ourselves to be compassionate again and can share that compassion with humanity.
Is it the words itself or the sound that creates the healing process?
It is not the sound or the words alone that cause the healing process to happen but, the intent behind them used together that makes this happen. It could be a beautiful saying or the prettiest sound but, if you create it with anger or hatred in your intent to share it, it will not enlighten you. It cannot heal if you motivation behind it is not pure. It is your faith and the purity of you motivation that makes the chant healing.
So is it necessary to chant if it is your motivation and not the sound itself that’s important to healing?
Yes, it is important to chant. It is our intent that makes them healing but, because we are ordinary beings, grounded in our physical incarnations as people, we need these sound and chants to signify a shift for us so our true self, our enlightened self can remember. Chanting lets our minds and our spirits identify that we are shifting our awareness from our ordinary to our enlightened; it reminds us to be aware if our intent, making sure our motivation is pure.
Why is it important to you to share this practice with others?
Where ever we go we want to share our culture and kindness and humanity. It is sharing our compassion we are sharing the healing process of our faith. We want all humanity to be free of suffering and by sharing our culture we can offer that compassion to heal from suffering.
The monks will be at the Energy Lounge in Baldwinsville all week offering healings, business blessings, and informative discussion groups. An additional Empowerment Chant and Mediation will be held on Saturday, December 6 at 7:00pm. It is recommended arriving early to ensure a comfortable spot for the session. For more detail and information, please contact Andrea Gagas at the Energy Lounge at (315)638-5448.
Micha L. Crook covers local music, events and culture throughout the CNY region. She is also the good twin and arch-nemisis of Mitzi Schadenfreude. Find her on twitter @MissMichaC