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I first became aware of the power of sound in an unusual situation in the late 1970s: on the road with the amazing guitarist Gordon Giltrap in his classic symphonic rock band. Gordon didn’t want lyrics so I learned to use my voice as an instrument. Some of the vocal lines were two octaves above middle C and as I hit those high tones, I became aware of an amazing feeling in my body as the pure vibration flowed through it. It felt incredibly uplifting – and I wanted more of it, so I intuitively introduced sounds into my morning meditation. Once I’d begun, I learned to love the energy my ‘sound meditations’ created and from this, developed a simple system of focusing tones into my body to release blocks and literally ‘retune’ my cells closer to harmony. From working on myself, I then began to sound tones into other people’s bodies, lead workshops and finally write my ‘Sound Healing’ book (Piatkus). And all of it simply flowed effortlessly from me.

I have to say, I’m certain the sound was an integral part of this effortless process. Scientists have discovered that these sacred tones vibrates a band of nervous fibres called the Corpus Callosum which connect the right and left sides of the brain.  The connection becomes stronger with the sound, bringing the two sides of the brain into closer harmony so that they create alpha waves – the perfect environment for relaxation and opening to your creativity and inner inspiration. How could it be simpler? Sit in silence, focus on your breathing, visualise your energy centres as a rainbow of vibrating, coloured lotuses gently opening from root to crown, and begin sounding tones in each centre. By the time you reach the crown it really does feel as though the top of your head is connected to an endless supply of wisdom, creativity and source energy that is yours to access and utilise. It seems to me that people just can’t resist the sounds becaue these simple tones help to cease the chatter and judgement of the left, logical brain and cause you to open to your intuitive right brain and relax.  It’s  that easy.

I would say that all of my ideas for writing songs, musicals, and even creating workshops come to me in this alpha wave state. The Sound Healing Cards app which I’ve recently marketed (a deck of 52 coloured chakra/Angels of Sound cards with affirmations, readings, integrated live sounds you can tone with and different card spreads to assist your life path) floated into my consciousness in its entirety during a sound healing session in Slovenia. As I toned, I was given the blue-print of how to create the cards and after the session simply wrote it all down. For me, this is one of the wonders of working with sound – that even as you help someone else with your voice, the tones vibrate your own body and often give you unexpected gifts and insights.

I call my work with sound Raising Your Vibration, and I had so many requests over the years from people in workshops that I finally recorded three sound meditation cds with this title.  The basic idea of ‘raising your vibration’ and the inspiration for it came to me through a lucid dream I had where I opened the front door of an old Georgian house I used to live in and a stranger with long, black hair was standing in the hallway. Nothing remarkable really, except she was holding a full syringe, about to inject herself , and in that moment, I realized she was an addict. I gently tried to dissuade her from using the drugs but she became furiously angry and plunged the hypodermic deep into my heart centre until all the heroin was injected into me. I felt a growing sense of nausea spreading through my whole body and my mouth went dry as panic set in. Would I now become an addict?  I tried to phone the emergency services but the phone fell apart in my hands and the whole world around me became unreal and hallucinatory. I felt horribly sick as the drug began to take effect. I picked up some sewing from a table and began to try to embroider it in bright Tibetan colours, like a prayer wheel.  As I focused on the bright colours, it was as though an inner voice silently spoke to me with such strength and conviction that all I could do was listen to the words, over and over. “All you have to do to overcome this is to raise your vibration higher than that of the heroin”, said the voice. “Raise your vibration above the heroin.  Then it will not affect you.”   I awoke instantaneously with a jump. The pain in my heart centre was intense, but I was so glad to be safe and alive, and even more glad for the incredible message which had been revealed to me: that we have the power to raise our consciousness above negativity, and that in doing so, the lower energies cannot then touch us or destroy our inner equilibrium. As I mulled the dream over during the next few days, I became aware of the symbolism of the woman injecting herself with heroin as that part of ourselves we sometimes deny – our shadow side. And because we deny it, it can seem like a ‘stranger’ who is constantly ‘poisoning’ us, as we literally inject our psyche with our fearful and self-critical thoughts of unworthiness, guilt, judgment and the whole stream of negativity that constitutes our self-talk about ourselves and others.  It was an incredible realisation for me, and the clarity of this dream vision gave me an understanding of my work with sound and the key to my future. Since that moment, I have increasingly understood the importance of helping people to retune every cell in their body. I have been focused on simply 'raising the vibration' in whatever way I can,  wherever I am called to travel and work.

We are, after all, vibrational beings – and what we are vibating with, we attract to us. Chanting, toning, singing, joining together with sound, is the perfect way to help emanate harmony into our increasingly dissonant world. Medical science is now beginning to understand the benefits of sound and singing on people’s health and promoting it as a way of increasing well-being.  Whether you are singing solo or in groups, there are both physical and psychological effects, with significant improvements measured in studies from anxiety, stress and depression to respiratory, lung and brain function, cardio-physiological fitness and even speech problems with stroke patients. People travel the world seerching for the ultimate panacea to heal themselves, whereas possibly the most simple, easy and effective solution is right inside us- our own voice!

Working with sound also helps you to feel your connection to every living thing on the planet and to experience the oneness of all that is.  After all, the universe is vibrating with sound. Black holes apparently vibrate to the note B flat, and our own Planet Earth is emitting a constant tone even now as you read this, at 8 hertz per second. Pythagoras created a School of Music, suggesting there was a fundamental relationship between the seven planets circling the earth (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon) and the seven sacred vowel sounds of speech.  He believed that when these seven planets made their individual sounds and sang together, it created perfect harmony: the music of the spheres. But he also believed that mankind fails to hear these divine melodies as our souls are enmeshed in the illusion of material existence. Certainly, when we join together in a group and emit sacred sounds, it cuts through language, beliefs, fears, judgements, religions, and helps us to break down all barriers and join together in glorious union.

I love working with sound and I hope these few words I have written will encourage and uplift you on your path too.  In my song ‘Harmony’ I recently wrote:

When colour and race and religion

Melt into the sound of our surrender

Once world, one peace, one song fills humanity’s heart

All I can say is – let’s continue to create that amazing sound together. Everyone has a voice – just remember to use it, and join the Universal Choir of  Harmony!

Shirie Roden

Facebook: Shirlie Roden Music

Twitter: @_singingearth

Shirlie’s music and Sound Healing Cards app are available on iTunes, Googleplay and Amazon

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