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How To Use Singing Bowls

8. A Singing Bowl Helmet

Humans are born to experiment and try out new ideas. So, one day I took one of my big bowls and put it upside down on my head. I had to balance the bowl a bit, so the rim would not touch my face anywhere. Then when I struck the bowl, not only did I hear the sounds (especially the lower sounds) so much better, as my ears were almost touching the rim, but I also felt the physical vibrations of the bowl going into the skull from the contact point on the crown downwards the neck and spine, all the way down to the sacrum. Quite a sensation!
Although the sight of having a reversed singing bowl on the head looks very silly, the effect of the audible, and especially of the physical, vibrations is a unique and pleasant experience. At the same time it is an exercise in equilibrium, but after a while it becomes quite natural.
The singing bowl has to be big enough, because if the rim touches your head the sound will be immediately neutralized. This also means that you cannot strike too hard, as this makes the bowl swing and the rim will touch your head. A big, felt striker, normally used for big bowls, can be used, but you must not strike too hard. It is better to use a cloth wrapped stick and strike only the edge of the rim. Thus you get the maximum sound with a minimum of bowl swing. You might want to sit on the floor, with a soft rug and pillows, at the same time keep one hand free at all times to catch your bowl if it starts to fall. Bowls can break, they crack.
Aside from the pleasant vibrations, I suspect it is a good way to resolve tension and blockages, on the energetic or physical level, along the spine. Once I heard it said that the lamas have told that a bowl should not be played on the head for too long, use your judgment about this.


copyright 2001 by Dirk Gillabel