Single String Meditations
Meditating with a single string Sounding Bowl can be deep. What you hold in your hands is a product of deep, transformative, creative processes. Within these processes all aspects of your being are present and reflected. Choosing any one of these to focus on can be a mirror in which to view a new image of self. We all need new images of self, constantly. In our age of knowledge it can be too easy to hold on to existing images, believe in the known. Existing images of anything tend to wilt, like a flower, unless pressed till they are a dried semblance of what once gave us joy. Opening to new images of the self that is, after all is said and done, our only source for experiencing the world, can for this reason return Joy to our experienceof everything, particularly to our experience of the one person we always have to live with.
Deep transformative processes exist in all of nature. Nature is dynamic in it’s transformative power. It is a wrong image of nature and now outdated to think of it as a delicately balanced organism. Disasters such as forest fires leave nature in a new position for a change of pattern, not seeking to recover a “balance.” Every flower is a miracle of transformation as each leaf shows a new interpretation of the patterns of the leaf that came before, leading into even the petals of the blossom having transformed elements of the same signature shape of that plant species.
Deep transformative processes exist inrelationships like that of circle to straight line. In sacred geometry practice the circle is considered to embody the energy of the archetypal feminine with the counterpart archetypal masculine expressing itself as the straight line. That these things have been brought into harmony as part of each Sounding Bowl, giving rise to music is a healing transformation of both. Interestingly the spiral of the inner curve of each Sounding Bowl is also an expression of circle meeting straight: if a circle of people all simultaneously walk a straight line towards the person, say 30 degrees to their left the movement of the person they are aiming for will cause each to walk a spiral line. (we do this exercise as part of the Sounding Bowl workshops i offer called From Tree and Star to the Song of the Heart.) The intention of straightness modified by the presence of the circle creates a spiral. (you might also find something about the nature of the feminine and masculineprinciples in this meeting of intention and presence of what is)
Deep transformative processes are present in the workshop in which Sounding Bowls are made. Years of making artistic work led Tobias to focussing on work itself as an art form. The remarkable healing effects that Sounding Bowls are reported to have on clients of the healers and therapists who use them, and indeed, the transformative effects these therapists report within their own lives also occur for those who make them. Tobias has come to feel that his guide and ‘employer,’ "Sounding Bowls" has powers to bless his life, as it appears also to bless those others who work as apprentices with Sounding Bowls. (amazingly even the man who makes the cases, mostly just to written size specifications reported on the one time that he did have a Sounding Bowl there to work to that he felt strangely honoured to have had this in his house overnight. These are mysterious truths from recurring events.
There is a tendency for us modern human beings to want to know things. To know things is a way such that we can confidently describe them, catalogue them and rely on accuracy in this knowledge. In doing this we create an image of what we know like a dried flower that no longer delights us as did the original. To retain this knowledge is to move away from relationship with the real thing. In order to move into relationship with the thing itself again we need to let go of what we know about it and approach it again as would a small child, with wonder. This is the basis of any meditation you may embark on with your Sounding Bowl.
A single string Sounding Bowl is a very simple thing. It would be very easy to go ‘ting, ting’ and believe you knew what needed to be known. If you wish to enter into a transformative relationship with a single string Sounding Bowl you need to bring deep, unknowing curiosity to it. To be sure it is a small thing compared to the big, complex Sounding Bowls that are available, and where should one find the miracles that are said to occur with them in such a small and simple thing? Meditations can assist you in entering that place of being in which any made thing may bring you to wisdom and to love. A single string Sounding Bowl contains deep transformative possibilities when seen through these eyes.
To begin your meditation seat yourself comfortably. It is generally helpful if the spine is 'upright,' lying down supports the dream more than a meditation.
Pluck/stroke a note and listen carefully, what can you actually hear? Go into it deeply, allowing all the different sounds that you hear to become the soul you are in that moment. ‘Speak’ inwardly the space from one of the implicit sounds within this note across to another, (not in words, but like a lover looking from the shores of an island to the beloved calling sounds from another shore. Within you let the spaces of the whole note resound, become the spaces between you and everything that you are and are not.
The note is fading now, which sounds within the note fade first? how does that leave you? where are they going to? where did they come from? the heart strings have been plucked, whence now goes the one who plucked them?...
As the sound fades can you find the moment, the point at which it is no longer audible? Can you still hear it? Can you still feel it’s presence in the wood, in your own echoing senses?
Pluck the note again. You may now become fully within this note, the spaces between it’s sounds, you are riding on the note, held in it like the image on a soap bubble. Quietly the note fades, still holding youup is the image, the note left within you as the note fades. At that point whenyou are not sure whether what you hear is the note or it’s presence within you,at that point, living in the space between the sounds that make up the note, seeking the source of the sounds, you can become aware of the infinite spaces out of which the sounds emerge. Whence does sound come? how is it that the vibration of a string gives rise to such an inner experience as the note has given you? How is it that what a musician may call ‘B’ or ‘F’ can come out of… Where?... and dance on the string before fading to… where? The same place?
Such questions can take one into the Nothing, the Deep Silence that lies behind the manifest world. They can also take one out of the meditation into thoughts. If you find yourself thinking and philosophizing it can be best to simply enjoy what you have achieved so far.
On the next occasion Begin as before and come on through this way, at the point the sound is fading out of real earshot follow it, follow carefully the space it created as you lived within it…
… and you may find yourself standing on the portal the threshold between the Silence of All being and the Centre, everyday consciousness. From here one may become aware of the space whence sound comes, whence beauty flows, within which unenclosed vastness our own essential being is to be found shimmering like air in the sunrise. Hold this space, allow the flow that brought the sound to fill your whole being, flooding through you, changing your sorrows into new strength, clearing your spaces for Love to flow through you. Hold this space……
Ending quietly allow your soul to return to the created world. Touch your body from within or without, finding again the beauty that holds you every day. This has been a complete meditation.
A meditation like this feeds the soul and the body with the food of origin. Sound is that which organises matter. Shape is that which expresses in matter aspects of being. A similar meditation can be done with the forms of your Sounding Bowl. Using eye, but also using blind finger and thumb perception of the forms, feeling into the what/who/how of these flowing and breaking curves and edges, feeling into what arises in you as feeling, image, impulse in response to your sensory investigation.
Wood itself, the tree being can also be a very rich source fro refreshing our Life presence within our everyday experience. See the article Meditating on Tree at http://www.soundingbowls.com/articles/Sounding%20Bowls-Tree%20Meditations.pdf