The Personal & Transpersonal Power of the Voice

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In his book, The Rhythmic Language of Health and Disease, Mark Rider chronicles his use of sound and music intervention. In his healing workshops, Rider encourages participants to use their voices to express themselves and connect with the essence beyond the self.

Eventually, the cacophony drowns out and gives way to more gentle sighs of relaxation. Slowly, however, more tonal melodies start to emerge. Unfamiliar lullabies begin to rock in the air while others center on a single tone, chanting over and over in a mantra-like style. More and more like vocalizing blends, forming ethereal chords which take on a power greater than that of any single individual’s sounds. Like an aurora borealis, it hovers there in the air above us, then glides across the room to another location. A second peak is reached, only harmonic this time. People will remark later that this was the point in the choral improvisation that they were “Taken out of themselves and connected with some energy or power much larger than themselves.”

Mark Rider – The Rhythmic Language of Health and Disease

His description of the vocal harmonies reached by the participants of his workshops leaves me contemplating the rich harmony of Tibetan Monk Chorales.

We have briefly discussed the healing power of the voice, but we have hardly touched on the spiritual aspects of healing sound. Yet, ultimately, this is where the journey of healing sound will lead us.

In his book, Sounds of Healing, Mitchell Gaynor states it best:

We tend to think of techniques that elicit the relaxation response as antidotes to tension and anxiety, and they are marvelously effective in achieving that goal. However, Using sound, meditation, deep breathing, and other relaxation methods soley for stress reduction would be like taking a pleasure cruise and never coming out onto the deck. When we use sound to become entrained with our personal psychologic rhythms – our heartbeat, pulse, brainwaves- we build a bridge that can transport us from the tranquil state to a deeper level of spiritual revitalization, one that links us with the infinite energy and spaciousness of the universe.

Mitchell Gaynor – Sounds of Healing

In the beginning of my personal sonic journey, I tried to avoid anything pertaining to the spirituality of sound. Yet, if you ride the wave of a sonic journey, you inevitably end up there, in the ethers of spirituality. Until now, I have tried to avoid this aspect of sound, in order to not turn any reader away. The truth is, however, that sound can be a journey to a spiritual place.

As you approach sound and sound healing, please do so with an open mind. I consider myself a reformed Catholic and have found Dance Church to be a viable bridge to my own spirituality. As we continue exploring sound as a healing tool, we will inevitably cross this bridge again. Sound and spirit are linked. If you can allow sound to penetrate you, you can take the journey through body, mind, heart, soul and spirit. It is a heroes journey, as it is one of self reflection and understanding. Dr Gaynor and Mark Rider both mention the importance of remaining open minded to this part of the journey. I couldnt agree more! When you allow yourself to travel on the sonic wave, you can be transported. It is important to stay open minded, in order to not shy away from the experience when it presents itself. Often, when we are cognizant of a possibility, you know what to be on the look out for and you allow yourself to dive into the experience as it reveals itself. This is the essence of being present. This presence allows you to experience the spiritual aspect of sound. Stay with us as we continue to explore sound as both personal and transpersonal transformational tool.

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