Stranger things have happened…
This post comes from our dear friend, Carlen Altman.
Hi, dear Free People blog reader, it’s your friend Carlen. If you had told me 3 months ago while sitting in my cold Brooklyn apartment that I would soon be quitting my hectic job and lying on an antique sheepskin rug in an airy Los Angeles loft, surrounded by 30 other people, listening to the sounds of colorful crystal bowls being gently hit next to each of our heads, I would have said “sure, why not… stranger things have happened…” However, had you told me just how much I would have loved this experience, I would have sincerely been surprised….
Well, that’s exactly what happened this past full moon, when I attended my first ever Soundbath Meditation!
In the 2 previous posts I’ve written for you, I have touted the benefits (and sometimes, difficulty) of incorporating meditation into my daily routine but how, when I stick to it on a daily basis, it truly has the power to make me feel much better, mentally and physically. So when I happened to walk past a plant-filled studio in Los Angeles called Sacred Light with a sign in the window that said “Soundbath Meditation this Friday night”, I was intrigued…
How was a Soundbath Meditation different from a “regular” meditation, I wondered…? Would it consist of a group of people sitting in a communal bathtub with musical note-shaped ice cubes being thrown at their heads? (Update: lucky for everyone, this premise was very, very incorrect.)
After meeting Arlene Uribe, the magical owner of Sacred Light, I learned a sound bath doesn’t involve water of any sort. Instead, participants are “bathed” in healing sound frequencies, heard when handmade crystal bowls are struck by hand, using a suede-wrapped mallet. By listening to the sounds emitted from these bowls, Arlene says, our Alpha and Beta brainwave frequencies are stimulated, unlocking “meditative, clear and peaceful states of mind… ” Over time, Sound Bathing is linked with better sleep, more energy, and the release of stuck emotions/blocked energy that no longer serve you. (Wow!) It was a tall order but I figured why not – let’s see what happens!
A day later, I was lying in the dark, surrounded by many other curious people, and the Soundbath Meditation began. Over the next hour, Arlene led a guided meditation and gently “played” the bowls. The sound was mesmerizing, like nothing I had ever heard before. A mixture between whale sounds, a harp, and a metal bowl is the best way of putting it… At some points, it felt like the sounds were in my head, perhaps unearthing things. Was my Third Eye opening? Who knows. What I can say is that while most meditation usually makes me feel significantly more serene only afterwards, Soundbath Meditation made me feel serene during the ceremony. So much so that about 40 minutes into it, I FELL ASLEEP (Whoops!)
The good thing is, Arlene says that falling asleep during a Soundbath Meditation is very common and nothing to be embarrassed about. (Okay, phew!) When I woke up, the meditation was ending and everyone was getting up; all 30 or so people slowly standing with varying looks of tranquility in their eyes.
When I got home that night, I felt very peaceful and clear-headed and unlike most nights, fell asleep easily. I can’t remember any dreams but I do know that the next morning I woke up feeling alert and refreshed. Was it the Soundbath that did it? I’d like to think so!
Do I think a Soundbath changed my life forever? Maybe not. But like all practices, good things take time and I plan on going back to another Soundbath as soon (and often) as possible… If you are looking for a fun, peaceful experience, I encourage you to try it out and see for yourself! I dare you not to fall asleep – or do; it’s a win win situation!
Have you participated in a Soundbath Meditation? Do you want to? Let me know in the comment section below! And if you are in LA, I encourage you to visit SACRED LIGHT ; for Soundbath opportunities in NY, try Awakening NY or Maha Rose! (Elsewhere, check Meetup.com!) – and to purchase your own Sound Bowls, try SACRED LIGHT or Crystal Tones!
Photos by Kate Hollowell.