New Introduction to Healing Sounds – 2nd Edition
by Jonathan Goldman
Welcome to the 2nd edition of HEALING SOUNDS. The original edition was published in 1982 and has since become a landmark in the field of sound healing. It has been translated into German, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish and a number of other languages. The publishers have requested that I contribute a new introduction to this edition. It is with pleasure that I do so.
Since the first printing of this book, it ha been my great honor to travel the world presenting HEALING SOUNDS Seminars. I continue in wonderment at the power of sound and its ability to transform people’s lives. Sometimes this transformation occurs through physical healing. Sometimes it is through mental, emotional or spiritual changes. Through these Seminars, individuals are empowered with sound. They explore new horizons in human potentials. They realize a new aspect of their being. They experience themselves as vibration, as being sound. Through this, they experience transformation.
Since the first publication of HEALING SOUNDS, the field of sound and music for healing has greatly expanded. This is in part due to the pioneering efforts of many who are initiating others into the experience of sound. It is also due in part to the great changes in consciousness which we are now undergoing.
We are living in extraordinary times, times of enormous shifts in awareness, times of great changes in culture and society, times of planetary evolution. Some would say that Vibrational Modulations are occurring. Others would say that it is Earth Changes. Others would say that it is the End of the Millennium Blues. I like to talk about Frequency Shifts and their relationship to people and the planet. For many different reasons, we are waking up, becoming aware. About ourselves. About human potential. About creating a better world. About changing reality. Sound plays a key role in these times, for sound is helping us adjust to the frequency shifts that are occurring on so many levels.
In the many different traditions and cultures of this planet, our connection to the Source is through sound. “In the beginning was the Word.” The Sound! The Harmonics. This understanding is both spiritual and scientific. Everything is in a state of vibration. Everything is frequency. Sound can change molecular structure. It can create form. We realize the potential of sonic energy; we understand that virtually anything can be accomplished through vibration. Then, the miraculous seems possible. Through practice and experience with sacred intent, we can learn to shift our own frequencies using harmonics. These sounds can resonate our body, our brain and our etheric fields. We can change our vibrational rate through our own self-generated sounds. These sacred sounds, made with a specific intention, and with the energy of love, can interface with the different planes of consciousness, invoking and evoking different levels of awareness. This is particularly true when harmonics are made with conscious intention in a group.
One of the most powerful ways of consciously using Vocal Harmonics and Overtoning is to create sacred sound together in a group. Sounding in a group can create a morphic field resonance through a unified consciousness. Fields created through group sounding have potentials far greater than we’ve dreamed. On our own, we can consciously interface and effect our own vibratory levels. In groups, sacred sound can influence not only ourselves and those around us, but can adjust the planet to a new level of consciousness. It is the throwing of a tiny pebble into a still lake. The ripples and waves created by the pebble grow in size and strength and reach to the farthest ends of the lake. This rediscovery of our own ability to shift frequencies through harmonics is a gift that we are being given.
HARMONICS AND HEALING SOUNDS
Harmonics are there and yet not there, tangible and yet not tangible. They are present and yet not noticed, until the shift begins to occur. First our hearing changes–we can perceive things that were hidden. Next, our voices change–we can create sounds that were not previously there. Then, our consciousness changes and other realities come into our awareness.
HEALING SOUNDS focuses on the ability of harmonics to create vibrational changes. These changes may occur in the physical body, or in the mental, emotional and etheric bodies. When these changes occur, they initiate transformation and healing. The purpose of this book is to link interdisciplinary, multi-cultural, sacred and scientific approaches to sound through harmonics.
Harmonics display universal principles and are a constant in the various traditions and societies that use sound for healing and self-transformation. Through experiencing harmonics, we can learn a great deal about ourselves and the worlds around us. I trust you will find a resonance with them. I trust they will awaken something in you. They can be sacred, magical and truly transformational. I trust that at time you will “read between the lines” and see the possibilities within possibilities in using sound. Some of the potentials are described in this book. I trust you will discover the other potentials yourself.
Harmonics have been and always will be a great inspiration of mine. It is now apparent that many others also share this interest. Since the completion of this book, there continuous to be a tremendous reawakening of the interest in sound as a healing and transformative modality. In particular, a large portion of this interest has focused upon harmonics. Awareness and use of harmonics are truly expanding in this last decade of the 20th Century. This would not have occurred without the openness of the masters of Vocal Harmonics: the Tibetans, Mongolians and Tuvans.
Members of the different Tibetan Monasteries have toured throughout the United States and Europe, sharing their sacred chants and much of their knowledge of Tibetan Overtone Chanting. A number of different Mongolian and Tuvan overtone singing ensembles have also toured and given workshops in the extraordinary vocal techniques of “Hoomi”. This has allowed those interested in harmonics to have the opportunity to experience and learn these ancient vocal techniques.
NOUVEAU EUROPEAN VOCAL HARMONICS
It has become apparent that there is now a new form of vocal harmonics that I and other Western teachers of sound are imparting to audiences. It is different from the Tibetan “One Voice Chord” and the Mongolian and Tuvan “Hoomi” style. It is primarily this new vocal harmonic style that is being taught and practiced in the United States and Europe. I call this new style Nouveau European Vocal Harmonics. Nouveau European Vocal Harmonics is based upon some of the techniques utilized in the Tibetan, Mongolian and Tuvan traditions. However, this new style does not require years of practice nor present the possibility of straining the voice in order to create vocal harmonics. You will be learning in Chapter 9, “The Fundamentals of Vocal Harmonics”. Nouveau European Vocal Harmonics are easily learned and can produce powerful results. This style of creating vocal harmonics represents a new form of sounding that is accessible to those in the West. As the awareness of sound continues to expand, we now have a new way of sounding that incorporates this awareness. This could not have occurred if the Tibetans and Tuvans had not shared their techniques with us.
It is my pleasure to continue to meet amazing people who are working with vocal harmonics and to have wondrous encounters with them. Some have been musicians, others have been scientists, healers and mediators. I have had teachings through my experiences with masters of vocal harmonics from the Tibetan and Tuvan traditions. I will share several recent adventures with you. I trust they are appropriate to the spirit of sacred sound and harmonics.
DREPUNG LOSELING MONKS
In my biography at the beginning of this book, it is stated that I was empowered by the Chant Master of the Drepung Loseling Monastery to teach Tibetan Overtone Chanting. This experience occurred after the first edition of HEALING SOUNDS was published. This is what transpired:
On Sunday, December 15, 1991, Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery gave a performance of Sacred Tibetan Music in Boulder, Colorado. These Monks have developed a chanting style that is as deep and resonant as that of the Gyuto and Gyume Monasteries. I had the privilege of spending the next day with these monks, sharing my work with sound with them. That night, the Drepung Loseling Monks gave a special workshop in Boulder on their chanting techniques. This was a transformative experience which realized in retrospect I had been awaiting since I first had heard the Tibetan “One Voice Chord” many years before.
In this workshop, the monks first demonstrated their extraordinary chanting. Then, they openly discussed the creation and use of their chanting techniques, which they called The “Deep Voice” or “Voice of Melodious Tones”, said to be the embodiment of the fully developed speech of the Buddha. There were 9 monks in this group. Of these 9 monks, 3 were considered “Chant Masters”, deeply skilled in the ability to create and project the “Deep” Voice. These Chant Masters worked with the audience encouraging those in attendance to try to create own “Deep Voice” sound.
Among those present that night was Rinchen Chugyal, the Chant Master of the entire Drepung Loseling Monastery. Rinchen Chugyal spent time with me, helping to further refine and develop my Tibetan chanting techniques. Of the fifty in attendance, I was the only one who was able to create the “Deep Voice”. After Rinchen Chogyal was satisfied that I had absorbed his refinements, he looked at me and said: “Teach!”
“Are you empowering me to teach the ‘Deep Voice’?”, I asked in amazement.
“Yes!” , he said. “You teach!”
Since I had developed the “Deep Voice” on my own (with no supervision on the physical plane), I had not felt it appropriate to attempt this before. Indeed, as I relate later in this book, my first experience attempting the Voice was not entirely successful. I still believe that improper methods of learning the Voice may be damaging. Until that time with Rinchen Chugyal, I had never consciously tried teaching anyone the Tibetan Chanting techniques. However, with the empowerment from the Drepung Loseling Chant Master, I was encouraged to begin teaching the “Deep Voice”.
TEACHING THE TIBETAN VOICE
I taught my first class in teaching the “Deep Voice” two months later to a group of Buddhist men who had attended the Drepung Loseling Monks Workshop. One third of the class were able to minimally produce the “Deep Voice” during my workshop. Others received the “Deep Voice” later.
Since then, I have become more proficient at understanding the physiological mechanism of the “Deep Voice”. I have also realize the extraordinary power and sacred responsibility of the Voice and reserve the actual teaching of the voice for higher levels of the HEALING SOUNDS Seminars. It is, however, not unusual for a student at my opening Seminars to receive the “Deep Voice” simply by hearing me sound and by being around me. These students have been both men and women! It is quite an experience and a remarkable example of “harmonic transmission”. I believe that the “Deep Voice” is a gift which I received through association with the Gyuto and Gyume Monks and which has now been amplified through the Drepung Loseling Monks. Almost two years later, I had another profound experience with Tibetan Overtone Chanting and sacred sound which I would now like to share.
The extraordinary musician and composer Kitaro invited me to perform with him in an ensemble for a benefit concert for Tibet that was to take place in New York. One week prior to the concert I was informed that the Drepung Loseling Monks would be performing with us! As there are now several groups of Tibetan Monks who perform on tour, I found this occurrence rather synchronistic.
The night of October 9, 1993 was one of the most sacred sonic experiences I have ever had. The concert took place at the Church of St. John the Divine in New York City. 5,000 people attended this performance. The “Voices of Tuva” began the concert, performing folk songs from Tuva in the “Hoomi” Voice”. Next, the Drepung Loseling Monks sounded forth with their powerful chanting. Then Kitaro’s ensemble came on stage.
Kitaro performed on synthesizer and taiko drums. There was also a guitar player, a tabla player, another keyboard player and a didjeridu player. I played Tibetan bowls, bells, bamboo flute and percussions, and chanted in the “Deep Voice” as well as the Nouveau European Vocal Harmonic style. Then, the Drepung Loseling Monks performed for a final sacred chant in which I joined.
It was a wonderful evening of old and new harmonic music, honoring the sacred sounds from many different traditions. I trust in some small way, through my part in the performance, I was able to return to the Tibetan Monks some of the extraordinary gifts that they have dispensed throughout the planet.
ONE LAST NOTE
As the final note for this book, I would again thank the Masters of Sound Current. They continue to assist in my teaching and in this work. They have helped in the creation of this book and to assure that HEALING SOUNDS has found its way into the right hands. I would also thank you for sharing a mutual interest in sound with me. I trust that I will have the opportunity of creating and sharing Vocal Harmonics with you. May sacred sound flow you for the harmony of all.