Back in December, I wanted to find some special Christmas gift for Rob and after seeing a Tibetan singing bowl on Butternut squash’s website – aka Jeri Gerard – I emailed her. Then we spoke by phone. She wanted to find exactly the right bowl for him and asked me some questions about Rob – how he looked, his interests and so on. We agreed on a price and a week later, Butternut had tested dozens of bowls and found what she felt was the perfect singing bowl for him.
She only sells the genuine McCoy, bowls once owned by Tibetan monks who used the bowls for everything – for eating, begging, for the tone they produced. I knew the bowl she had selected would be the real deal because once a year or so, Jeri travels to Nepal to buy jewelry from the local people that she sells on her website and at shows. She also gets involved in the lives of these people, bringing supplies and books for the schools, meeting and living among the people. She recently started raising money for a school library in Nepal and reports that construction on the library has begun. She walks her talk.
Rob uses this bowl in his meditation classes, a particular tone to end each class, and every time, the tone is different and somehow fits the texture of that class.
A few days ago, eight months after I purchased the bowl, I received an intriguing email from Butternut. She had come across something in a book on singing bowls that she thought we might find of interest. The book: Singing Bowls: A Practical Handbook of Instruction and Use by Eva Rudy Jansen.
Sound creates and sound arranges. There is a third aspect which is just as important for understanding singing bowls and why they are increasingly being used therapeutically.
This aspect relates to the tendency of objects which make almost identical movements, to move completely synchronistically. Christian Huygens, the 17th century Dutch scientist, noticed that when two pendulums were placed next to each other, they eventually started to swing in the same tempo. Similarly, after a while, two wave movements which are almost but not quite the same, change and become increasingly similar until they are exactly the same.
This is called ‘the collective arrangement of phases’ or synchronization. Women are familiar with this phenomenon in their menstrual cycle. Friends or sisters who live in the same house often menstruate at the same time.
The chapter, Butternut said, talks about how “the soothing waves that emanate from the singing bowl can help the body to resonate more harmoniously by working on the waves of water within one’s own body.”
She was struck by the implication of this passage’s global impact. “It seems to indicate that the waves of energy or emotion, whether positive or negative, that we put out will resonate in everything around us. In effect, it is our own actions that cause the synchronicities around us. To me, it points to the same thing that many religious leaders have talked about: we must become the change that we hope to see.”
She notes that negative emotions can also multiply. “A single tweet can cause enormous ripples. With the technology we have now, it is even more important to keep ourselves in the proper frame of mind.”
So in this era of instantaneous connections and communications, how can we each become the change we want to see?
( 28 years ago today, Rob and I got married at my parents’ home. Happy anniversary, Rob!)