Let’s be honest, I had no idea what a “singing bowl” was as I stepped through the entrance to the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. I barely knew what a stupa was but I was so intrigued by this new place I was visiting I wanted to see everything and learn as much as I could.
As we made our way in, it was hard not to be overwhelmed by the size of the stupa alone. It was still early but the marketplace was alive with so many people wandering about already. I recall there being a busy energy but it not being loud or dusty like it is elsewhere in the city. It was also then, that I remember hearing a gentle ringing sound that made me feel like I was somewhere I had never been before hearing something I had never heard before.
We followed the soft ringing sound and found ourselves walking into a little shop filled with what looked to be decorative bowls. In the back there was a hum and ringing sound that instantly made this store something more than what it seemed. This is when I was introduced to the singing bowl. I was taught that each singing bowl is unique and the sounds that come from it vary based on many factors including who is holding the bowl. I was instantly in love.
The singing bowl is one of my most valued items that came home with me from Nepal. The process of using it and the sound it makes remind me of all the experiences I had on that trip. But the singing bowl goes far beyond just memories, the sounds are known to reduce stress and anxiety and aid in relaxation.
Upon my return to New York I soon discovered sound baths at our local meditation studio. They use these bowls among other techniques for a rich mediation practice. It is the only corner of NYC I could find that reminded me of the peace I had found in Nepal and whether using the singing bowl in my own home or finding a sound bath in a local studio it has certainly become a technique I use to promote my own self kindness and reconnect myself to the present moment.