Our research has told us that these bells originally came to Tibet from India at about 500 BCE. These singing bowls are found in many different sizes. Some are well decorated others very simple such as this one many are tuned to particular notes for specific applications.
This bowl has been on our altar for several years. It has a beautiful and sweet tone. We have used it to begin and end periods of silent meditation. It seems to help create a sanctuary or a kind of vestibule no matter where we are. We strike the bell to mark the beginning of the meditation period and again to mark the end of the meditation.
I love to hear the ring erupt from the brass surface at the beginning of the meditation period. With closed eyes I listen. As the ring diminishes, I consciously follow the sound back into the silence. When the time for the meditation is over we ring the bell to leave our silent meditation behind and enter the world with the sound of silence in our hearts.
Do you remember the scene from the movie, Dances With Wolves, when Kevin Costner’s character, John Dunbar, asks the Lakota woman her name? By pantomiming and roughly speaking a little English, she is able to tell him her name is “Stands With a Fist.”
One of my teachers, Matthew Taylor, gave a speech on the interconnectivity of life. During the speech he mentioned that he was a recovered hand clencher. This was my first realization that I, too, had a hand clenching problem.
I now pay attention to my hands. When I drive I hold my hands with “soft hands” instead of gripping the steering wheel. I walk with relaxed fingers and so that my arms can comfortably move at the shoulders. Lastly, when I sit I pay attention to the fingers so that my hands stay relaxed. Slowly the life long practice of hand gripping has almost disappeared. By releasing the tension in my hands my mental, physical and emotional state has improved too.
Tension shows up in the physical body in a variety of places. In me it is my hands but in someone else it may be the jaw, the muscles in the face, the buttock muscles or even the feet. The only way to know is to start paying attention to how you handle day-to-day life by watching and feeling the sensations in your body. I am happy to say that I do not Stand With a Fist anymore.
Below is an audio I made. It is a guided relaxation technique.