By ©1997 Carlisle Bergquist, MFCC, Ph.D.c.

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These many traditions demonstrate a wide belief that sound plays a role in creation which in the cited examples, is a continuum spanning the macrocosm through the hierarchy of iterations to the infinitesimal microcosm. Creation is beginning. Something becomes where there was previously non-being. This section will discuss sound in healing which is more accurately the process of Re-creation. Healing, whether emotional, psychological, spiritual, or physical, is the act of reorienting a created being back toward its original state of perfection, functionality, and thus health. Sound has been used to heal for thousands of years in a variety of ways. These have included music, chanting, toning, and the use of instruments such as drums, bells, singing bowls, gongs, whistles, and prayer. In recent times the list has also included the harp. I call all of these sound but will organize them with the following categories: music, chanting, toning, instrument, and prayer and mantras.


When one has mastered music completely, and regulates the heart and mind accordingly, the natural, correct, gentle, and honest heart is easily developed, and with this development of the heart comes joy. This joy goes on to a feeling of repose. This repose is long-continued. Persons in this constant repose become a sort of Heaven. Heaven-like, their action is spirit-like....So it is, when one by mastering music regulates the mind and heart. (Book of Rites, Li Chi, 1885)

This ancient Chinese text the describes the Heaven-like qualities available through sound as music. The pentatonic, or five-tone, music of that culture used a soothing drone along with simple melodies and may well have induced such Heavenly states. However, the influence of music is complex as many variables come to play on sound. Likewise one must acknowledge that not all music in our modern times is Heaven-like. Some contemporary music is more Hell-like and likely produces a comparable state of consciousness in its listeners. Instead of healing or re-creating, it is overbearing and destructive. These two extremes point to one of the key elements in sound healing; e.g., intention.

To empirically isolate the cause of any phenomenon associated with music is like attempting to describe DNA by measuring its dissected moieties. One can label the parts but it is a system of interconnected affects. Geneticist Susumu Ohno at the Beckman Research Institute noticed that DNA, like music, held order greater than the sum of its parts (Campbell, 1992, p. 55). He assigned notes to the various DNA components which when transcribed and performed sounded much like great classical music themes. I suggest that, like DNA, music's effects are a broad interconnected system. The elements that follow can not by themselves yield understanding.

Kay Gardner (1990, pp. 227 - 229) identifies nine elements in healing music. Though much more should be said I will limit my discussion of music to these elements.

1). Drone -- Healing music should have a constant tone that drones behind a simple melody.

2). Repetition -- Short musical phrases, whether vocal or instrumental, should be repeated over and over which produces a calming effect.

3). Harmonics -- Long sustained tones produce harmonic overtones which Gardner says "balance the physical body with the unseen bodies -- emotional, mental, and spiritual -- that form the aura's layers." (pp. 227-228)

4). Rhythm -- The function of rhythm in music is to duplicate the many pulses in the human body and then through entrainment move the pulses into a more healthy natural pattern.

5). Harmony -- Harmony affects the emotions. Various keys (major or minor) evoke feeling states be they sad, joyous, triumphant, soothing or mysterious. According to Gardner, intervals harmonize the emotions and can bring dis-eased organs back into molecular relationships of harmony.

6). Melody -- The mind is engaged by melody. This takes the attention away from day to day afflictions and allows healing to occur.

7). Instrumental colors -- Each instrument has its own unique voice composed of characteristic overtones and waveforms. These penetrate various areas of the body and have a balancing effect.

8). Form -- The structure of a musical piece determines where the journey will take the listener. Pieces that have many changes in tempo and mood will be stimulating whereas pieces that are steady and predictable have a calming effect.

9). Intention -- Music seems written by the hand of the Divine. Many sources herein describe it so. The musician must recognize and honor the power of its effects. Music played with focused intention has the power to harm or heal. Intention is perhaps the most important attribute of music's healing affects.

Rudolf Steiner (1983) expresses some additional attributes of three of these elements of music. "Regardless of man's relationship to rhythm, all rhythm is based on the mysterious connection between pulse and breath....people understand each other in reference to rhythm" (p. 67). Steiner also connects rhythm to the will. Melody is associated with mental images that become associated with feeling. "Through melody the head becomes open to feeling, to actual feeling. It is as though you brought the heart into the head through melody" (p. 66). Finally, he connects harmony to feeling: "The element of harmony takes hold directly of human feeling. What is expressed in harmonies is experienced by human feeling" (p. 64). Summing up the common connection of feelings Steiner says: "Melody thus carries harmony inward; rhythm carries harmony in the direction of willing" (p. 66).

Joanne Crandall (1986) applies music and its various elements to self-transformation. Her interpretations differ from Steiner at times. For example she indicates, "The melody gives the mind a rest; it provides space for the heart to open and receive the music" (p. 20). Crandall points out that melody is a relationship between tones and serves as a method by which we bring ourselves into relationship with others. Likewise she implicates music as representing sound in its most ordered form and that it thus helps us experience a world made from sound more fully. The fluid movement of music is a reminder that though the structure and form of the world change around us just as the flow of music, order does not. Crandall, like Gardner, suggests that musicians as well as listeners can be healers through focused intention in the music.

Music has for centuries been used to heal in many cultures along with those mentioned here. The Temiar people living in the rainforests of Malaysia treat all forms of maladies with healing songs designed to effect change in the various souls of the individual (Roseman, 1991). Native American tribes likewise use songs to evoke healing and power (Garfield, 1987; Kalweit, 1992). The occidental world is "getting the beat" through the works discussed here and many others including the composition, scholarship and authorship of Don Campbell. Helen Bonny's seminal work aligning various compositions with altered states of consciousness and moods has also opened the Western ear to the power music (Bonny & Savary, 1973). Jean Houston in an interview with Don Campbell (1992) sums up the power of music to heal as follows:

I think music actually raises the very molecular structure of body, brain and being to these larger dimensions. With music, you gain a coherence or bridging of one reality with another. (p.11)


If you put an oscilloscope on the sounds of Gregorian chant, you see that they all come within the band-width for charging the ear. There is not a single sound which falls outside of this. Gregorian chant contains all the frequencies of the voice spectrum, roughly from 70 cycles per second up to 9,000 cycles per second, but with a very different envelope curve from that of normal speech....Thus the sounds of Gregorian are, uniquely, a fantastic energy food. Alfred A. Tomatis (Gilmor, Madaule, & Thompson, 1989, p. 216)

Every religious practice, tribe, and tradition has a form of chant. Chant resounds in monasteries and on hilltops around the globe. It may be used for healing the spirit, mind, or body. It is vocalized meditation and applied energy as Tomatis indicates above. This essay will briefly discuss only two forms of chanting among the hundreds that exist, Gregorian and Tibetan Tantric chanting.

Gregorian Chant

Gregorian chant follows a simple melody. It has focused the daily practices of Roman Catholic monks in various Orders for centuries. Done in unison, chant produces a rich harmonic field. Cathedral architecture, where chants are traditionally performed, further enhances the harmonic scale. Hildegard von Bingen likely never imagined that her gentle compositions of praise, nor those of other Gregorian composers, would leap the centuries to become best selling records in today's music market. Chanting performs several functions in the lives of the monks that may contribute to its current appeal outside the monastery.

Robert Gass in an interview with Carol Wright (1994) for the NAPRA Trade Journal says that chant brings "the consciousness of the group into resonance with itself. Chant created a field that was harmonious" (p. 87). Glass continues to explain that the long sustained notes allow the vibration of the tones themselves to be vivid experiences and cause the individual to entrain with the frequencies. The melodies themselves tend to repeat thus producing a soothing predictability as Gardner described. Thus within the walls of the monastic life chant allowed a common bond amongst the group and predictability for the individual engaged in a fully committed search for the divine.

Garfield (1987) points out that monks take an oath of celibacy and often of silence. She proposes that chanting released enough energy through the fifth chakra or throat center to maintain good health. Garfield suggests a link between singing and sexual creative energy that may also have helped channel this energy upward in their divine pursuit. Garfield goes on to say that all chanting clears the chakras of blockage and thereby promotes health and growth.

Don Campbell also interviewed by Wright (1994) says:

Sound is carried through the vowel sounds. Church Latin has pure vowel sounds, not like the complex diphthongs of English, and tone is extended on the vowel sounds. Self-generated tone -- not singing -- is the foundation upon which chanting works with the body. Sound is created not only with the mouth, but with the bones and skin. The vibration made through toning actually stimulate the central cortex of the brain. Chanters receive a literal "brain massage." (p. 89)

Tibetan Tantric Chant

In contrast to the ethereal sweetness of Gregorian chant, Tantric harmonic chanting shakes the soul. The sound is at first quite foreign to Western ears. Two Tibetan Buddhist monasteries have brought the sound to the West after Tibet's rampant destruction under the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The monks of Gyuto and Gyume are among a few hundred individuals who have this unusual vocal capability. Unlike the Gregorian renditions that extend throughout the vocal register, Tantric chants are extremely low frequency. Most unusual is the ability to produce more than one tone simultaneously with the voice. Each chanter produces a chord starting on the B, C, or D flat below middle C. The chord than contains the second and third harmonics above that tone. According to Campbell (1992) up to the tenth harmonic is often audibly prominent. This is reminiscent of Bailey's description of sounding two tones in the process of transformation. (Bailey claimed a Tibetan llama named Djwal Kuhl sent writings to her psychically, and at times physically, though they never physically met.)

Khen Rinpoche, interviewed in Campbell (1992, pp. 176-184) writes that, Tantric chanting is not a direct path to enlightenment but is rather an invocation of certain deities with the request that these deities protect and guide the entire world. It also protects the monk from obstacles they may meet with on their path to enlightenment. Khen Rinpoche (1992) states that the sound produces chemical and electrical transformations in the body that intensify the immune system. He explains as follows:

The way we would explain how this works is that it happens in the mind first through the aural consciousness and secondarily through the mental consciousness. There is a feeling of a certain kind of delight that stimulates these physical changes. Rather than it being the sound going into the brain or skull, which is a more mechanical model, I would explain it through the system of sixfold consciousness. We understand the body as a secondary effect which corresponds with the state of mental consciousness....It is this sixth element of consciousness which determines the state of the body. (p. 183)


A tone will finally be reached that will cause the hearer to feel a distinct vibration in the back of the lower part of the head....That note is the "key-note" of the person whom it so effects. If it is struck slowly and soothingly it will build and rest the body, tone the nerves and restore health. be sounded in a dominant way, loud and long enough, it will kill as surely as a bullet from a pistol. (Heindel, 1909, pp. 370 - 371)

In recent years toning has gained acceptance as a personal transformation tool and therapeutic modality. Three forms are included here, Kabbalistic toning, Chinese healing tones, and the work of Laurel Elizabeth Keyes. Each is slightly different in its approach to healing.

Kabbalistic Toning

Toning is the art of creating sound with the human voice for the purpose of healing. (Malachi, 1995, p. 172)

Toning is bringing the force of sound to play on one of the Sefirot. Each individual and the Sefirot have a resonant frequency and thus sounding the correct frequency releases blocked energy in any given area restoring balance and harmony. Thus the entire system heals. There are two types, or modes, of toning. One type is for banishing negative qualities and influences. The other invokes the positive energy of love, light, and right thoughts. They are a cycle like breathing. The out breath banishes that which no longer serves the individual while the in breath revitalizes and restores the Sefirot of the four bodies. The banishing or releasing tones are generally sharp, loud and high pitched. The invoking tones are soothing, harmonious, and soft. After the cycle is complete with the negative qualities released and replenished with healing light, smooth high tones of pure simple wave form invoke the highest healing energies from higher realms.

Chinese Healing Tones

Healing tones are part of a larger Chinese health system called QiGong. Along with the use of "singing stones" -- flat pieces of jade that produce musical tones when struck -- six special sounds allegedly heal and vitalize the organs. Each sound correlates with a certain posture and focused intention on the breath. Though assigned no specific pitch, I include them here because they most closely resemble toning as healing exercises. I will list the sounds only and the healing they perform, for this writing.

1). SSSSSSSSS -- This sound clears and heals the lungs.

2). WOOOOOO -- The kidney and bladder are treated with this sound.

3). SHHHHHH -- This practice clears the liver and gall bladder.

4). HAWWW -- The heart sound dissipates excess heat build up from the heart.

5). WHOOOO -- This sound cleanses the spleen and stomach.

6). HEEEEEEE -- This sound is to revitalize and balance the entire body but is especially important for the sex organs.

The sounds are written as they are vocalized. As with music and Kabbalistic toning, focused intention directs the healing energy, in this case the energy is called chi.

Laurel Elizabeth Keyes

The toning theories of Laurel Keyes (1973) came out of her own spontaneous experiences. She describes her feeling as follows:

...a sensation in my chest and throat as though a force were rising, wanting to be released in sound, but it would subside again....I observed this as it rose and subsided, almost a thing apart because certainly I was doing nothing to cause it.

I found my lips parting and my mouth opened very slightly in an easy relaxed manner....Unexpectedly a sound bubbled up, like something tossed up on a fountain spray. A single syllable emerged -- "Ra." (p. 10)

The spontaneity of Keyes' experience characterizes her toning work. She proposes that we need to allow the body to express its sounds, its voice and not be subjugated in slavery to the mind alone in communication.

Keyes' toning system is very similar to Kabbalistic toning though it espouses no direct connection. She however emphasizes the need to develop this as a feeling voice. Keyes (1973) points out the balance of the generative and conceptive forces in the creative process. She urges the release of the voice from cognitive control to enhance the receptive feeling nature and thus the creative process. She says: "Feeling must be fecundated by idea or image to bring about results." She goes on to warn however that when the mind dominates ruthlessly, "feeling rejects the idea" (p. 19). Thus Keyes differs from the more mentally focused Kabbalistic toning and brings the head into cooperation with the heart as it releases the body through vibration.


Like chant, every culture has developed its own musical instruments. Whether with a Pan flute or pipe organ, lyre or lute, gong or gamelan, steel drum or sitar, people find a way to make "a joyful noise" unto their Lord. Ethnomusicologists have spent entire careers cataloging the history and evolution of such instruments thus discussing them in any detail greatly exceeds the limits of this section. All instruments have the capacity to affect us; however, certain of them consistently produce changes in consciousness states. These include the drum, rattle, gong, bell, singing bowl, bull-roarer, didgeridoo, and droning string instruments like the sitar. Harner (1980), Kalweit (1992), Rogers (1982), Dialo and Hall (1989), Khan (1983), Roseman (1991), and Heinze (1991) all note the use of such instruments to change consciousness. Maxfield (1994) confirmed the drum's effect on the EEG demonstrating a shift in brain wave frequencies downward into theta dominated states (4-7 Hz.) with several minutes of exposure. Don Wright (1992) explored Peruvian whistling vessels, a Pre-Colombian instrument that was originally thought to be a water vessel by anthropologists. Wright's exploration with these vessels revealed that they produced powerful transcendent experiences. He proposes that the indigenous culture kept knowledge of their true use from Spanish conquerors and thus did not depict them in any records of their civilization. Clearly on every continent, in culture after culture, instruments are part of a consciousness technology.

Prayer and Mantra

Abwoon díbwashmaya

Nethqadash shmakh

Teytey malkuthakh

Nehwey tzevyanach aykanna díbwashmaya aph bíarha.

Hawvlan lachma dísunqanan yaomana.

Washboqlan khaubayn aykana daph khnan shbwoqan líkhayyabayn.

Wela tahlan línesyuna

Ela patzan min bisha.

Metol dilakhie malkutha wahayla wateshbukhta líahlam almin.


The Lord's Prayer in Aramaic. (Douglas-Klotz, 1990, p. 10)

Neil Douglas-Klotz (1990) reminds us in Prayers of the Cosmos that words have power just as the Kabballa said. They invoke and move energy into action. He indicates that The Lord's Prayer was more than just words in the Aramaic language which Jesus spoke --it wielded the power of the Divine into action. I have transcribed the prayer in Aramaic to allows the feel of the rhythmic invocation to flow through. It moves us from our normal cognitive interpretation of this prayer, to experience it as a mantra. Prayers and mantras, when used with intention, change consciousness.

Western religions have for the most part forgotten that prayer is an avenue to move our consciousness into relationship with the God-head rather than a wish list eloquently recited. In Eastern religions, mantras serve the same purpose. I can only speculate about their efficacy within a given culture. Perhaps because it often becomes commonplace, a moment of public oration or collective recitation, one might speculate that we have come to accept God as deaf and mute. It is hypothetically as if for most of us, God does not answer our prayers directly so...God must not hear, nor has He or She spoken in thousands of years. In my opinion, perhaps it is we who are deaf and mute knowing little about how to pray correctly and even less about how, and where, to listen for God's response. Western societies are primarily empirical, and like Thomas who said, "Except I shall see in his hands...and put my finger into the print of the nails...I will not believe" (John 20: 25, King James Version) they are hard to convince. Physician Larry Dossey (1993) has explored the difficulty science has studying prayer in healing. He also conducted independent research. According to Dossey; "The evidence seems to show that prayer works" (p. xviii). I direct the reader to his work -- Healing Words --for a comprehensive and balanced review of the research and the results.

Summary of Sound as Healer

This section has reviewed the ways sound is applied to the act of healing. It proposed that healing is an act of re-creation. As such, it bears a strong connection to the cosmologies expressed by many traditions. Sound healing, in its various forms, appears to evoke a resonance that changes consciousness and thereby alters misalignments in our being. Unfortunately no efficacious method of application has been delimited in these systems, with the possible exception of guarded secret teachings. Selected application relies predominantly on the intuitive skills of the practitioner. Since most of the world's population receives treatments other than those of Western medicine, it is likely that sound therapies play a role in much of its healing. It therefore seems appropriate to develop a methodology for the application of sound to various infirmities through empirical and phenomenological research. This could enhance its effectiveness and expand its accepted use. Such research could first qualify the various sound's effects; e.g., pitch and intervals of tones, kinds of prayer or mantras. The Chinese healing sounds are in this way the most sophisticated. Knowledge of this kind could then be categorized into a coherent treatment modality within a holistic medical science. Knowledge of this kind could further the task of those whose mission it is to help "repair the world."


The Latin term personare means to sound through something. Joachim-Ernst Berndt (1987) notes: "At the basis of the concept of the person...stands the concept of sound: through the tone" (p. 171). We are a silent symphony, interacting nodes upon nodes of resonance the music of which we cannot hear, or have learned to ignore. Perhaps we can never hear the sound of creation and must leave it in the world of myth, but science peers upon its borders finding growing credence to these quixotic ancient stories. Perhaps we have trained ourselves not to hear the sound that is the name of the Most High lest we pronounce the ineffable. Perhaps we have not listened to our own resonant being.

Though most of us can not hear such sounds, we can observe our interaction with them. We are drawn to repetitive sounds like the babble of a brook, or the beat/ beat -- beat/beat of our heart. We watch the shimmer of Moonlight on fluttering leaves at times hypnotically as if reassured: My sole origin is vibration. Vibration affects us. We dance, as I danced, before an altar of the Most High. We dance to the beat, beat, beat of a resonant universe, to the beat, beat, beat of resonant being. As we listen, we come to harmony and may learn how to repair the world. As we listen, we find reverie and healing. As we answer the knock, knock, knock we open doorways in consciousness and further explore resonant being.

Back To Part 1 References

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Article Summaries

The Coyoté Oak: Burgeoning Wisdom

The Coyoté Oak: Burgeoning Wisdom (Preview Chapters)
by Carlisle Bergquist

A modern-day parable for planet in transformation.

"The Coyoté Oak:  Burgeoning Wisdom by Carlisle Bergquist lives up to its name.  Like the trickster Coyoté, this fanciful read informs with unpredictable authority.  The visionary novel weaves deep ecology, shamanism, quantum physics, Native American spirituality, Taoism, mysticism, and even Christianity into an engaging healing adventure.  No small accomplishment as its wisdom rings loud and exquisitely clear.  The author’s vivid descriptions engulf the senses; you can almost taste the pancakes, smell the moss, see the sunsets and you will certainly fall in love with the characters.  Expect to be drawn in deep, transformed and left howling for more." Share Guide - San Francisco, CA

Available wherever books are sold

ISBN:  0-9791750-6-2
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Transcendental Creative Systems:

An Exploration Using General Living Systems Theory

Creativity is the merger of matter/energy with new information.  The process of bringing something new into existence, is an inherent characteristic of life.  To live is to create whether we do so unconsciously, or with full awareness.  This essay is an academic approach to the creative process using James Miller's General Living Systems Theory to model the course from non-being to created work.

A Comparative View of Creativity Theories:
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A Theory of Creative Entrainment

The holistic theory models entrainment as a communicative occurrence. Examples are given from several disciplines and four stages of entrainment are delimited. The essay compares theoretical quantum physicist David Bohm's notions of order with the realms of spirit, mind, and body. It proposes stages of entrainment operant throughout these realms and suggests that they perform cumulatively in the creative or unfolding process. The systems perspective develops the thesis that humankind is an iteration of a larger system and that entrainment is a central factor in the transduction of information between individuals and across system levels.

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Many cultures around the globe embrace sound in their exoteric and esoteric traditions. This essay reviews the role sound plays in the religions, creation myths, and sacred technologies of various peoples. This review connects creativity with healing which is considered an act of regeneration thus creating health in the body. Several varieties of healing through sound are discussed including music, drumming, toning, chant, instruments, Kabballah, and prayer. The essay proposes that techniques of sound healing and therapy currently rely on the intuitive ability of individual practitioners. Acknowledging the need for effective healing modalities, it calls for research that can qualify the elemental effects of existing sounds, tones and prayers. Such categorization may help construct an applied holistic healing technology.

Building A Better Thought Trap:
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Colossal creativity is a state of balance amongst the mind, the body, and the spirit that actuates human potential. This article concentrates on the vitamin and nutritional components of our system so that they resonate more clearly. The focus is on the brain which rests at the focal point of our physical, mental, and spiritual worlds. It traps and interprets inspiration that comes from deep within, transforming it from one world to another. Colossal creativity unfolds when we nourish every part of our being. Digest new thoughts and ideas to nourish your mind. Develop a daily practice -- whatever your faith -- that invites active participation from your Spiritual-Self.

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An essay for general audiences that explores the creative process comparing it with the duality described in many philosophical and spiritual traditions. Techniques are given to apply these strategies to ones individual work.

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How Money is Created

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  • The study of the operation of money is pivotal to any discussion of cultural values and social justice, as money is the basic language of economic relationships, and the values built into this language impact all social relationships.

In this paper we will describe how the present money game is structured.  We will show that the idea that money is value neutral is not correct, and go on to describe how money functions to promote greed.

Some preliminary suggestions will be given, based on theory and what has worked in the past, to change the values built into our money to ones that are more congruent with a curiosity and caring driven economy.

We will also show how the present money game is not sustainable, note that the same changes that lead to a curiosity and caring based system are the same changes that make money and our economy sustainable.

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