Healing Sound Bath

Deboroh Koff-Chapin generously offers what she calls a Healing Sound Bath at Healing Circles Langley. It’s something I’m almost reluctant to mention, like one of those undiscovered hole-in-the-wall places you can never get into once you’ve brought it to public attention. However, coffee in hand, I’m sitting here in wonder about last night’s Sound Bath, and I can’t help myself.

Usually on the second Wednesday of most months, we push all the furniture aside in the fireside room upstairs and Deborah sits within a semicircle of her crystal bowls and tea lights in near-darkness for an hour, singing and playing for those of us sprawled on the floor or sitting in chairs, as it suits us.

We enter in silence. Deborah orients us with a few soft-spoken words. We depart in silence. In between, she conjurs magic through the use of her voice and the striking and rubbing of the crystal bowls. It is both primal and ethereal. It fills the space and holds those of us there in a warm, comforting embrace. If the physics and mechanics that govern the orbits of planets and the course of rivers had a voice, this would be it.

That, by itself, would be enough. More than enough, really.

I had an epiphany during last night’s Sound Bath that made it way more than enough, at least for me. I was lying there in the semi-darkness, letting the sound wash over me, and suddenly realized I was preoccupied by something on the continuum between “it is what it is” and “but it could be better if only…”

If only I’d remembered to unplug that refrigerator before we started. Shoulda turned off the heat pump, too. I hear the ticking of the clock that drives the Tuesday Meditation Circle crazy. Now it’s driving me crazy. Wonder if it’s driving anyone else crazy? There goes a truck. Really? Is that somebody snoring? If only none of this other stuff were happening, it would be perfect.

So, since I’d removed myself from the moment anyway, I conducted a thought experiment: What if all these intrusions weren’t “other stuff” but integral to the experience? It was a “sound bath” after all. Why be elitist? Why listen to a piano concerto and resent the strings and reeds for playing their parts?

The compressor on the fridge kicked in again—an understated tympani. Another car on wet pavement—a rolling doppler of a snare drum. Car horn in the distance—punctuated blast from a trumpet. Heat pump recycled—a low sustained bassoon. Even the fits and starts of the snorer seemed right—a feral beast drawn to the music, circling, snorting, snarling. The tick tock tick tock tick tock of the battery-powered clock a metronome, an invisible conductor pursuing the arrow of Time, laying down tracks from then to now to next.

Make no mistake, this was still a concerto. Deborah and her bowls were the main event and now these accompaniasts were receding to the 5 percent contribution they were actually playing instead of the 95 percent I was originally hearing.

About then the Angel Choir showed up. I know, that’s terribly clichéd, and I’m kind of embarrassed by it, but up until then, the incessant ringing in my ears that’s with me every second hadn’t been as obvious as it usually is. Now it was back and embodied as a multitude (remember, they’re angels) of unimaginitively attired winged beings singing the high-pitched never-ending note with their perfectly oval little mouths.

I’d just spent a few minutes earlier in the day with someone considering the noise-cancelling properties of hearing aids that promise to relieve tinnitus and how I was probably headed that way. That’s not going to happen now. Why would I shut down a heavenly herald?

The contribution of each of these extra players fit into the music of the Sound Bath perfectly. That’s not a tribute to their exquisite and collective ear, but rather a testimony to the magic and majesty of the Sound Bath environment that Deborah creates, one that is completely inclusive of everyone and everything and potentially healing for anyone and anything.

At the end of the hour, the last resonant tones of Deborah’s bowls faded until the only sounds were the clock whose ticking was the only indication we were in anything like normal time, the singing angels whom only I could hear, and the soft rain on the roof that I hadn’t noticed at all until then.

If you’re in Langley when it says “Healing Sound Bath” on our calendar, consider coming. If you’re lucky, you’ll find room on the floor to stretch out and bathe in it. If you’re really lucky, some ailment, condition, or circumstance that has been screaming at you all day will find its true voice and follow you home.