The Emotional Component of Sound
By: Kenny Kolter, Sound Therapy & Gong Meditation
I often wonder why people attend sound based meditation events. Curiosity maybe? A friend or family member may have recommended it. Maybe it’s someone who has tried to meditate in the past and found it extremely difficult to quiet his or her mind. Maybe it’s someone who is going through a stressful period at work or home and need some time to relax and recharge.
No matter what the reason, I’m happy that people decide to attend, try something new and different with the hopes that it may enrich their lives somehow. In most of my recent posts here I have included scientific research and studies demonstrating the mental – physiological benefits of drumming and listening to gongs, chimes and Tibetan bowls. In this installment, I’m going to share something a little different, the emotional component of sound.
Sound moves us … the wind in the trees, a child’s laughter, a fire truck’s siren. Music moves us; a lullaby sung by a grandmother, a tune we fell in love to, a song that makes us get up and dance no matter what. We actually store these sounds, these notes and rhythms in our body. You may have heard the term “emotional body” at some point. The entirety of our lives encompassing the complete range of emotions is stored in us on a molecular level. How often have you seen someone cover their heart in an embrace with their hands when their favorite song comes on?
I have two recent stories to share about how emotion and sound intertwine.
Several weekends ago, I facilitated a Tibetan bowl workshop. During the workshop we place Tibetan bowls directly on the body so participants have the opportunity not only to hear the bowls but also physically feel them vibrate when struck. One of the participants had a very visceral experience when the bowls were placed on her heart and abdomen. I witnessed her breathing increase dramatically, she started to sweat and I could see she was in discomfort. Eventually her breath became more relaxed and easy, her demeanor shifted into one of peacefulness and rest. Later she shared with the group that when the bowls were placed on her body and they started to vibrate; she felt full of fear, nauseous and debated whether or not to leave the room. She said she felt all this emotion well up inside and she couldn’t explain it. After a time, the feelings of fear and restlessness subsided and she settled down eventually enjoying the sound and vibrations. She went on to share that she felt cleansed in a way, that the sound and vibrations moved something through her and although it was uncomfortable for a time she was glad she did it and hung in there.
A few days later, I co-facilitated a guided imagery and gong meditation with my friend Farahana Kassam for the staff at a cancer care facility. At the end of the meditation, we asked if anyone had anything to share. The director of the facility attended and she shared that at one point during the meditation she had tears come. She had no idea why. She shared that she felt comfortable, relaxed and settled. She concluded that maybe it was because she was so thoroughly relaxed that some emotions bubbled up. Again she felt that she underwent a cleansing of sorts.
In my many years of facilitating events, I hear stories like these often. About how sound profoundly affects the physiology and therefore our emotional bodies where we store everything. Our bodies are amazing sonic conductors and the beautiful sounds of gongs, chimes and Tibetan bowls can be a conduit to releasing past traumas or a great sense of joy as well.
I always try to remember to thank the attendees at my sessions, especially those that are experiencing it for the first time. It takes courage and an open mind to try new things.
See you soon. I’ll be the guy behind the gong.
Find him on Face Book: Kenny.Kolter and at www.gongmeditation.com
Calendar of Events:
July 7th – 6:30pm Gong Meditation at The Dallas Yoga Center
July 8th – 2:00pm Gong Meditation, Crystal singing bowls and Yoga at The Mat in Dallas with Lauren Fenyves Margolies
July 9th – 3:00pm Gong & Restorative Yoga at Sacred Soul in Hurst with Lia Mata
July 14th – 6:00pm Tibetan bowls & Yoga with Rebecca Butler at The Sanctuary Yoga Room in Fort Worth
July 15th – 6:00pm Sacred Cacao Ceremony – Soundscapes
Come experience the transformative properties of cacao in a magical evening layered with experiences. Let go and connect with the self through sacred cacao ceremony, heart meditation, somatic movement, guided pratyahara and sound therapy led by Jyl Kustche, David Sunshine and Kenny Kolter. Prepare yourself for a full sensory immersion into your inner landscape and new awareness of your own personal journey.
July 16th – Intentional Drum Circle at Blue Anjou in Lewisville with Lisa Nicholson.
Kenny creates opportunities for people to gather in circles to drum and rattle their intentions, prayers, desires. Structured on the four rounds of a Native American sweat lodge ceremony, each round begins with participants giving voice to their intentions around four themes: Creation, Healing, Forgiveness, and Celebration.
July 21st – Restorative-Reiki & Gong at Blue Anjou in Lewisville