“Which chakra is this singing bowl for?” is one of the questions I am often asked. What’s a chakra? How does sound relate to a chakra?
Chakras are a concept from Hinduism based in the belief of a spiritual body. In Hindu belief, there is a mirror spiritual body similar to the idea of a soul in the west, and chakras are said to be vortices of energy in that etheric spirit body. Upon death, the spirit body is believed to leave the physical body and enter a new physical body in the process or rebirth. This is the basic Hindu concept of reincarnation, which is very different than the Buddhist concept of reincarnation. Chakras are generally associated with 7 areas of the body: the root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown.
Chakra theories and practices have become popular in the west in recent years due to the New Age and Yoga movements. Today chakra meditations, chakra toning, chakra music, chakra art and more are a big part of spiritual art and yogic practices in the west. Chakra visualizations are key to yoga and meditation practices and enjoyed by many.
How do singing bowls relate to chakras? How does sound relate to chakras? How did all of it start?
In Asia, people will say “it clears your chakras,” meaning the sound and vibration is helpful to your spiritual being. You can feel the vibration of a singing bowl and this is the way some people describe the experience; “I can feel it clearing my chakras.” It means they are feeling something and they like the feeling. Then they are applying their experience through the filter of the belief in chakras and spirit bodies. It’s similar to the western expression “It’s good for your soul,” or “it feeds my soul.” It’s not meant so literally, but people often take it very literally.
When Westerners started selling singing bowls, this nice saying “It’s good for your chakras” morphed into “chakra tones” and became a big marketing tool to sell singing bowls. The belief in chakra tones is so widespread that almost all websites and books talk about it. In fact, I’m one of the few singing bowl sellers that does not make a claim about “chakra tones.”
At this point I will admit that I do not believe in a spiritual being or in chakras. I’m Buddhist and the Buddhist idea of non-self and non-soul is what I believe. I think the concept of a chakra can be a useful support to meditation and visualization, but that is the extent of it. I don’t believe there are any literal chakras. According to my experience and beliefs, our perception is deluded by concepts and chakras are just one more concept invented in the mind. Buddhism teaches freedom from concepts and impositions of the mind, so I tend to think of such concepts as obstacles.
However, the idea is useful to many people and can open the door to new spiritual insight. Meditation tools like chakras tones, colors and mantras can be very useful in our spiritual development. However, they are not the end but only steps on the path. My message here is the same as always: “do not believe your perception is the truth.”