I’d been admiring this singing bowl for a while. I had it bookmarked and I kept going back to it to swoon over it a bit. One day I shared my lust for the bowl on Facebook. My mom happened to see the post, and got it for me for Christmas. Thanks, Mom and Universe. 🙂
At first I didn’t really know what to do with this bowl, other than to set it on it’s beautiful satin pillow and stare at it. Then I picked it up, and used it like a gong. I used it to start and end my meditation practice. Then I got brave and started trying to play it.
What did I get? Beautiful music? Um. No.
I got clatter. It would start to sing, and then clatter, clatter, clatter!!
I did what I always do, when feeling I need to learn something better, I went to google. I must admit there was not much information out there about how to play a singing bowl, but I did find an article about things one woman learned while buying her bowl. I enjoyed it. I also found a video of someone playing a bowl, and when it clattered he said you needed to slow down.
I’d been playing too fast (surprise, surprise).
I went back to my bowl, and changed my grip, and started playing slower, and got some beautiful music, for a second… then clatter, clatter, clatter. 🙁
I kept at it, and at one point realized every time the bowl clattered I hadn’t been focused on the bowl.
The clatter was actually about mindfulness… imagine that. 😉
So I started playing again, and when the bowl clattered I took a second to really think about where my thoughts were. Was I being mindful of the bowl, and playing… and 100% of the time I had not been. I’d been off in the future, or sailing back into the past.
What an amazing thing! I now had a very loud, audio signal when I was losing my mindfulness. What a great way to be able to get to the moment, you know, the most important moment in mindfulness… what mindfulness is; that moment when you realize you’re no longer being mindful and gently bring yourself back to what you were doing.
It really was a wonderful realization.
I began to play my bowl as a beginning to my meditation practice, as a way to get very focused and mindful. I started to see how many times I could get around the bowl without a clatter. I worked up to 5, then to 10… and we’ll see where I can go from there.
Once I hit the number I was aiming for I strike the bowl and then wait. Letting the bowl sit and vibrate in my hand, staying mindful of the vibration and the sound from the bowl. It lasts a LONG time, and even when you think it’s gone, if you listen carefully you can still hear it resonating.
This is a great practice to interrupt a kiddo meltdown. When my kiddo starts to lose it, I ask if she wants a couple minutes with the magic bowl. I let her do it on her own, or go with her and do it together if she wants. She strikes the bowl, and then breathes deeply in and out until the bowl is no longer singing. It works amazingly well, and gets her to a place where she’s a little more composed and is able to make more skillful choices. (It sometimes takes more than one round of the bowl to get to that point).
Listen to the singing bowl and the story.
I’m so happy I now have a singing bowl on my meditation table. It’s been such a joy to have around, and to play with and bond with. If you’re thinking about adding a singing bowl to your meditation practice I whole heartedly encourage you to do it.
Here’s a link to my bowl.