Kathleen Calby
Hendersonville, NC
Mysticism & Sound


Exploring sound is an ancient tradition. Nada yoga is based on this. Chant in many traditions both East and West use music and sound for spiritual evolution.

The Sufi mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan wrote a book The Mysticism of Sound and Music. Today, several people have established reputations based on their research and interest in sound. Books to take a look at are recommended on this site.


Sound is relationship. Does it exist if no other consciousness can receive it, absorb it and reflect it back? We are sound and immersed in it because we are living. Livingness is being in continual movement and transformation to the very microcosms of our cells and the universes that reside in them.

Many on the spiritual path stopped at light as being the answer to questions of energy, consciousness and life-giving force. Obviously light is energy: it illuminates, provides warmth, supports life and pervades everything, even that which we call darkness. Perhaps light is the unifying factor. But I do not think that what we call the Divine or our own very essence of life is limited to light or to sound. I am simply more and more aware of a multi-dimensional aspect of Consciousness. I have no direct knowing of this, and so I acknowledge my own limitations and offer that hypothesis for others to explore as well.

What I do know is that sound exists, regardless of whether we initiate it or not, just as light does. Sound is independent of us and yet exquisitely dependent on us, on all consciousness. Since I believe that stones and chairs have consciousness, my interpretation of consciousness is all-inclusive. And since nothing truly dies, it simply transforms, that means sound is infinite and eternal. To me, these qualities reflect the Divine or Source or that which unifies all as Oneness.

As I stated, sound is relationship. I do not believe sound would exist without relationship. When the first sound came forth, it did so to know itself. How could it be otherwise? Sound did not issue to separate itself from itself. Sound breathed or sang itself to hear itself – to reflect itself, transmit itself and absorb itself.

The consciousness that bore sound and birthed sound knew sound, but had not experienced it. That consciousness was so full of its own beingness, perhaps we would call it joy, that it wanted to experience it independently. Some books say that what happened next was separation. I am challenging that theory with a sense that this opportunity offered Consciousness greater reflection and expansion that was far more inclusive than any exclusivity attributed to separation.

While I would term this Consciousness divine, that is only an honorific to the glory of our own livingness and consciousness. We are not separate. We never were. While we feel our isolation, maybe we wanted to and still do desire that to make sure we are individuals with free will. Maybe we have needed to feel our sense of self-importance.

Sound allows us to return to relationship. When sound enters us, no differentiation occurs. We are sound, we absorb it, we reflect it. Then all is sound, all the way into the infinite which is not so far away, but right here with us now. We are sound.


Hearing the singing bowls is about experiencing resonance.

Everything moves, and therefore vibrates, creating resonance and relationship with every other thing in the universe.

Consider how the smallest packet of matter (a quantum particle) moves, engaging electrons and protons in an atom to atoms combining in a molecule of water, then water molecules in an ocean to produce the sound of waves against a shore.

So what if we could hear or at least relate to all of these sounds? Well, we do, whether consciously or not. Think of all the sounds you process in a day, from your car’s motor to a yawn to children’s laughter. They all provide information.

Yet resonance is not limited to the sounds we hear or those we create with our voices. Resonance involves our whole body, our minds and our emotions. Consider how we respond to seeing people we like, or eating food we enjoy. We’re engaged on all levels related to harmony. When things are out of sync or dissonant, we know that too. That’s an opportunity to pay attention and, if we choose, to return to harmony or continue to allow those things to shake us up.

Listening to the bowls offers an opportunity to relax in resonance. There’s no need to focus, no need to analyze the sounds: let yourself drift on these waves. Enjoy!
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