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Sounds Good for the Soul

Yesterday a chant healed my body. Here’s how it went down:

I’d woken up with what I’m pretty sure is frozen shoulder, where the joint was incredibly stiff and any movement caused really sharp pain. Despite trying to move it in tiny ways and massaging it here and there, no relief came.

Later when I sat down to meditate, I went into my regular routine of placing an intention before doing one of my usual chants, where I ask it to flow through my cells and my energy field. Yesterday I set the intention without really focusing on my shoulder (it’s such an automatic intention for me, I do it without thinking), with no expectations except for bringing peace to my mind. But as I repeated the chant, I felt the vibration—the chant itself—flow into my shoulder. As I continued chanting, it vibrated there and I felt the relief flow through the joint and muscles. It felt amazing. When I was done chanting, my shoulder felt 90% better, and by the evening it was pretty much back to normal.

I was stunned but also not surprised. I had asked the chant to flow through my body, and the vibration knew right where to go. But it also stuns me how effective sound healing is. When you go to a sound healer, they use singing bowls or chimes to clear your energy and promote physical and emotional balance. When you chant, you receive the vibration of sound plus words, which carry specific vibrations as well.

The chant I did yesterday is "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo", which I learned about in Amy B. Scher’s book How to Heal Yourself When No One Else Can. It means “I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra,” an ancient Buddhist text, and its purpose is to awaken our inner Buddha nature—which is one of balance and peace. Makes sense it would help my shoulder release stuck energy and find nirvana!

A few days before the frozen-shoulder incident, I noticed my cat Calla purring each time I’d approach her, whether she’d been napping or eating or washing. The purring would start as soon as I gave her my attention, and I noticed a shift in my energy too when I’d hear it. It was like a flow of liquid happiness rippling through me. The vibration of that sound expresses pleasure, but cats also have the wisdom to purr after experiencing stress or when they don’t feel well. It’s like a self-care, self-soothing, instinctive chant they’re born knowing how to do.

The healing nature of sound is always accessible to us. We can hum, sing, or listen to music that moves us, as the vibration carries information and resonates with and affects our own energy. Years ago I used to play the flute at friends’ weddings, and I played at one in a Connecticut church that had floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto a surrounding forest. After the ceremony, the bride told me everyone saw a deer come up to the window to listen as I was playing. I had been playing pretty songs all about love, and the deer wanted to get closer because the vibration felt so good.

The more we are aware of sound vibrations that feel wonderful and resonate with us, the more we’re open to information and wisdom that’s just waiting to be heard. One day alone in my apartment, I heard my name. It felt kind and comforting, but I had no idea where it had come from. A few weeks later, I received a mediumship reading where the medium (who knew nothing of this incident) brought through one of my cats on the other side. The cat said that when I hear my name, that’s her saying hello.

Sounds of nature, voices, music…they're all around us all the time. With them, we can heal each other and ourselves (not just with chants, but with the words we say to ourselves and others), as well as connect with loved ones on the other side who are just waiting for us to hear their love. It may sound too good to be true...but that's exactly what truth sounds like. 💜

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