Can Sound Heal?
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Can Sound Heal?Turn it down and see!
Besides having the ability to cause hearing loss, loud sounds can also affect your nervous system, triggering the “fight or flight” response. Such sounds raise your heart and respiration rates and brain-wave frequency, causing the release of adrenaline and disruption of your immunological system. The next time you’re startled by a loud noise such as a car horn or siren, check yourself out and note what you’re experiencing physiologically. It’s doubtful that such sounds will have done anything but disturb you; however, it’s important to be aware of their effects.
I was once in Venice Beach, California, where many street performers put on shows. One such performer offered a $100 bill to anyone who could stand still while wearing a blindfold. He promised that he wouldn’t touch the person in any way. All he or she had to do was stand still.
A young man, no doubt with plenty of testosterone (a hormone related to masculine aggression), stepped forward and flexed his muscles. He’d take the bet—there was no way that he was going to move. He was blindfolded, and for a few seconds he stood brave and stoic. Then the person who’d made the $100 offer quietly blew up a balloon, came up from behind, and popped it next to the blindfolded man’s ear. That was all it took: The young man jumped a couple of feet, the audience laughed, and for me the power of loud sound was once again demonstrated.
Some years ago, several studies were conducted of two demographic populations that were very similar, except that one lived in a pastoral setting while the other resided in a noisy environment near an airport. The incidence of stress-related illness—heart attacks, cancer, and the like—was nearly 60 percent higher in the population that was constantly exposed to loud sounds.
The next time you’re outside and hear a loud sound such as a lawn mower, pay attention to the way your body responds. Odds are, your heart will be beating faster, your breathing will be quicker and shallower, and you’ll be feeling tense. I personally have little doubt that this “noise pollution,” which is rampant in our society today, may be one of the leading factors contributing to stress and related illnesses.
When you’re working with sound, either as a transmitter or a recipient, it’s important to remember that bigger is not better—that louder isn’t necessarily more healing. In fact, it can be the opposite.
Try This Exercise
The power of silence is extraordinary, but it’s something that few of us take the time and the energy to experience. In certain systems of yoga, meditating on silence is considered to be the easiest and most powerful path to enlightenment.
This exercise is relatively simple, yet it’s probably one that you haven’t tried—at least not since you were a child. It’s designed to reintroduce you to silence and the power inherent in it.
Find a quiet environment where you won’t be disturbed, and settle into a comfortable position.
The first step in experiencing the power of silence is quite easy: Simply block your ears. Most people use their fingers to do so—usually the index finger of each hand—but some prefer to hold their palms over their ears. The purpose of covering your ears is to cut down external noise as much as possible so that you can begin to tune in to your internal sounds.
Now close your eyes. With your ears blocked and your eyes shut, begin to listen. As you tune in, you’ll find an internal symphony occurring that you were probably unaware of. You’ll become conscious not only of your heartbeat and your breath, but after a little while you’ll probably be able to hear the blood pumping through your body. You may be aware of very high-pitched sounds as well as very deep ones, all of which are part of your bodily orchestra.
Listening in this manner is an extraordinary tool for appreciating the power of silence and of the inner sounds that accompany it. Some people find this exercise particularly effective as a meditation technique. There are even advanced spiritual disciplines that instruct practitioners to use these inner sounds to travel to other planes of consciousness!