The great yogic sage, Patanjali once described many yogic tools that could affect our internal systems. These included diet, movement, sleep, breath, and also the use of sound or chanting mantra. If we were to compare the human being to a highly evolved computer system, we would see that there are two ways in which programs are fed into the computer’s CPU, or central processing unit. Through a study in energetics and in the cognitive affect of archetypal images connected with sound, we could greatly control the output of our CPU. In short, sound creates form.
Lots of research has been conducted in the last twenty years regarding the affect of sound on the human brain. We now know that the brain is taken to different levels of cognition and awareness based on the frequency of a pitch. Sound is actually the interruption or disturbance of mechanical energy that propagates through physical objects as a wave. It is measured in Hz. There are more complex ways to measure sound that have to do with the amplitude of the wave, but for now, it is sufficient to know how sound occurs in our environment.
There are four different types of brain states that are affected by the frequency of sound:
? Beta (14-30Hz) This state is associated with arousal and decisive concentration
? Alpha (8-13.9Hz) This state is associated with relaxation and a relaxed focus, also a light meditative state of mind
? Theta (4-7.9) This is the state associated with REM sleep or dreaming
? Delta (.1-3.9) This is the state of mind associated with dreamless sleep or deep trance
Audio frequencies below 20 Hz have found to be inducing a ‘trance’ state in many people. The normal range of hearing for humans is from approximately 20hzs to 20khs. In this state, the brain makes Delta, Theta, and Alpha waves in sympathetic resonance to the sound. While the brain is making these types of waves, our sixth sense and intuition are greatly enhanced. In some studies, different parts of the brain, sections that we do not often use, are lit up by Delta and Alpha waves. It turns out the Earth’s Schumann Resonance is actually in tune with the brain while in this trance-like, or meditative state. The Schumann resonance is a spectrum of sound waves in the extremely low frequency portion of the Earth’s electromagnetic field.
The research of Alexander Lauterwasser is also very insightful in describing how sound creates form. A German researcher, Lauterwasser has eloquently shown with photography, via an emerging field called Cymatics, how powerful sound truly is. In his lab, he sets water surfaces into motion using sound sources such as pure sine waves, various types of music and overtone chanting such as is the suggested by yogis in the practicing of ‘Om’ chanting in yoga. His work as www.wasserklangbilder.de describes the results, but in effect, he has shown us visually that the field of form is created and changed through the vibration of sound. His research would explain, for example, sounds created by Sanskrit chanting that form the shapes of the letters being sounded, or how Tibetan monks chanting OM into sand placed on metal plates will actually shift the sand with the sounds of their chanting into the shape of the Om Symbol. There are hundreds of web sites that show this phenomenon if you are interested seeing the visual representation of sound at work. There are pictures available of the shapes made by all kinds of frequencies showing many mandala shapes even, and some with shapes matching ancient sound pictures from Tibet.
When we chant mantra, the Sanskrit language is like an” amplifier for very low amplitude waves “which help to bring our brains into a more meditative state” If you are aware of the benefits of meditation, you know that by bringing the brain into a relaxed state, the body will follow suite. There are tremendous benefits to be gained from meditation, ranging from better sleep, to more creativity and intelligence to lowering the cholesterol and stress hormones produced in the body. Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, a top Oncologist in the USA, has a very interesting web site where he gives some of the benefits of using sound from singing bowls, and using the voice in simple toning or mantras. The benefits to the immune system are immense. In his book, the Healing Power of Sound, he documents his research with his cancer patients over many years. One benefit of chanting, for example is seen when certain frequencies in the delta range trigger the release of growth hormone beneficial for healing and regeneration. This is just one example of the tremendous benefit that sound can have on the body and mind. These different frequencies retrain the brain to let go of other, more negative behaviors that may be held in the brain with different sound patterns. These energies are not only held in the brain they are held in the body as well. Use of manta or toning will create vibrations of a more balanced or positive nature and the body will respond to these by changing its vibration, thereby releasing emotional patterns, mental habits and physical illnesses.
Former musician and now sound researcher, Jonathan Goldman states that, “everything in the universe is in a state of vibration. Everything is in motion and produces a sound or frequency. This includes the various parts of our body, organs, bones, tissue, etc. When we are in a state of “sound” health, everything in our bodies is vibrating in resonance or harmony with itself. When something is vibrating out of harmony, we call this ‘disease’. Sound is an energy that can entrain or change the vibrational rate of objects. Therefore, if something is vibrating out of tune or harmony, it is possible to create the correct, natural “resonant” frequency of the out of tune object, project it to that out of tune portion and cause it to vibrate back to its normal, healthy state.”
In his research he found that “. . .modern science is now in agreement with what the ancient mystics have told us—that everything is in a state of vibration, from the electrons moving around the nucleus of an atom, to planets and distant galaxies moving around stars. As they’re creating movement, they are creating vibration, and this vibration can be perceived of as sound. So everything is creating a sound, including the sofa that we’re sitting on, or this table, or our bodies. Every organ, every bone, every tissue, every system of the body is creating a sound. When we are in a state of health, we’re like an extraordinary orchestra that’s playing a wonderful symphony of the self. But what happens if the second violin player loses her sheet music? She begins to play out of tune, and pretty soon the entire string section sounds bad. Pretty soon, in fact, the entire orchestra is off. This is a metaphor for disease.”
Just like in music, there are different sounds and vibrations made by different chants. These vibrations affect the body and mind in different ways. Chants are like a tuning fork that affects us tremendously. A Gregorian chant will positively affect you in a different way than the Gayatri Mantra does. Some of the Vedic chants are considered to be the oldest in the oral tradition, tracing back to before the time of Homer, containing their own personalized vibration. These varied sounds cause specific vibrations thereby making different waves with different amplitudes. The amplitudes of the waves cause the brain to sympathetically resonate depending upon the shape of the wave. Chants can be as simple as those with only a seed sound or as complex as a highly multifarious symphony. No matter which chant you decide to try, just practicing it for a relatively short time in a consistent manner can greatly affect your CPU. You can reprogram your brain to be more peaceful, more in tune with the abundance all around you, or to be more creative. It’s all in the sound you make. Chanting also uses the human voice, the only instrument made by life itself, or god. There are pictures of the research done by Fabian Maman at the Paris Institute of Science where he and a team exploded cancer cells using sound waves. The instrument which achieved this phenomenon the quickest was the human voice. The benefit is huge and on all levels or within all the sheaths (koshas) of the body as described by the Upanishads.
Chanting can also be done silently and has even a greater benefit, for it is done on the mental and etheric level which then feeds into the physical. (More information on this is available in a clearly written way from Thomas Ashley Farrand’s books and cds. He is a mantra master and has a wealth of eastern mantra knowledge which he is sharing in very easy to understand terms.) The use of mantra is like creating a generator. It creates a sound wave, this wave has energy in it, and this energy can be used to do work. The work done is achieved with the choice of the mantra and even more importantly…intent. The intent of the voice work may or may not be related to the mantra, but the intent will be the switch in a way to direct the energy to the place we want the energy to flow. It is like setting up a circuit board in our bodies, mental physical or emotional. The wave and intent can be imagined as an ocean wave, the power of the wave created by the motion of the earth creates a wave, a person may then take a surf board and ride this wave, turning back and forth, doing what they want on it. Our intention is the surf board. If we want the energy to go to our liver, our focus and intent that it does so makes it happen, we chant and the energy is generated for us to direct with our intent or thoughts. This is the incredible power of mantra.
Post script: An excellent place to get further information on brain entrainment is a web site run by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson and his research site called, The Center for Neurolinguistic Research. (http://www.neuroacoustic.com/)
You can also look into Dr. Masaru Emoto’s book, Messages from Water