Interview With Sound Healer and Researcher Jonathan Goldman
Lori Thompson continues her interview with Jonathan Goldman, writer, musician, teacher, an authority on sound healing and a pioneer in the field of harmonics and director of the Sound Healers Association.(Jonathan Goldman Interview Part 1)
[Lori Thompson] To take the concept of sonic entrainment and the formula a little farther, I'd like to explain how I approach my practice of photography. Subjects (usually natural landscapes) must "sing" to me. I must feel some "vibrational" connection with the subject in order to feel the urge to snap a picture. Those photographs that are most meaningful to me retain the "feel"-the "vibes"-of the original scene years after the photo was taken. The original scenes and the images on film of those scenes are like "music" to me-they continue to "sing" to me. How closely linked are sound and image? How might images inspire our musical pursuits and how might musical pursuits inspire our literal outlook on the world?
Jonathan Goldman If, as I believe, everything is in a state of vibration, then everything is putting out a sound. Whether or not this is an audible sound is not important, because we can perceive this sound in some way-we might sense it or feel it-these vibes that you're talking about. And indeed you seem to be drawn to subjects that you have a vibrational connection with-I'm sure that true with almost everyone, whether or not they're an artist. We're drawn to things we feel resonance with. This includes people. I'm quite sure that we have a vibratory resonance-that we share a sympathetic frequency with people we get along with. You might say that we're in harmony with them. And people that we don't get along with-well, we're probably out of resonance or harmony with them.
You ask how closely linked sounds and images are-perhaps sound creates the image, or the image is a representation of the sound. And with regard to artists-well, it's simply a matter of us being a conduit for the sound as an image and trying to reproduce that as best we can. We are all unique vibratory beings and thus, these sounds and images will all be slightly different!
[Lori Thompson] How might those who are hearing impaired or deaf benefit from sound/music? Can such individuals "visualize" the vibrations of music? Can the vibrations of music create "imagery" for the deaf and hearing impaired?
Jonathan Goldman One of the most powerful teaching experiences I ever had was with a woman who was born deaf. I taught her how to feel the resonance of her own voice in her own body-something she had never done before. It was incredibly moving because this woman was in tears when she finally realized the power of her own voice-and that despite the fact that she was deaf, her voice-her sound, could be a tool for transformation.
Sound manifests not only as audible frequencies that are carried by the air into our ears and our brain. Our bodies also pick up sounds through bone conduction and skin conduction, and thus someone who is deaf can still pick up the sound vibrations-thus you can have incredible dancers who are hearing impaired or deaf. Also, we all know about Beethoven, who composed incredible music after he was deaf.
In addition, sound manifests on much more subtle levels-as vibrations-and these vibrations, which are not audible, can be picked up by anyone since they transcend the audible bandwidth and move into other sensory realms of perceptions.
[Lori Thompson] On your website, you show the effects of vocalization on the temperature of the body through heat thermography images. Through the thermographic images we can see a real "visual" and physical effect of creating vocal harmonics. How might "performing" affect musicians and singers in similar ways? Similarly, what affect might there be on people attending a concert with thousands of like-minded ("resonating") individuals?
Jonathan Goldman The heat thermography images on my website occurred while I was creating vocal harmonics-projecting these self created sounds to different parts of my head. You can actually see changes in the color of the photographs when the sound is resonating, or vibrating different areas of my head. This is another example of seeing how sound vibrates and effects us. Frequently, we think that sound is just an energy that comes into our ears and goes into our brain and allows us to hear. But in reality, sound is a far more powerful tool than that. It goes into our body-into our cells. Thus people creating sound, and people listening to the sound that's being created, are all having the sound go into their bodies. It's far more than just an auditory response. And of course, people who have some hearing disability can be equally affected by sound resonating their body, though they may not be able to hear the sound as well.
Here's a quote from the Science Section of the New York Times. "Sound shaped in dazzling new tool. Can make, break or rearrange molecular structure and levitate objects!" Now this article was on an ultra-sound beam, but it could have just as easily been talking about sound that we can hear-particularly with the understanding of it having the ability to change molecules. This once again, is part of the idea of sound healing.
[Lori Thompson] You indicate in your book, "Healing Sounds - The Power of Harmonics," that each organ of the human body has its own vibration. Might a person's preference for a particular style of music reflect the way that person's body "tunes into" the music (e.g., like a radio)?
Jonathan Goldman There is certainly some indication that this is true. As discussed before, if we are in resonance and harmony with different objects and even people, then certainly, our own vibratory resonance would be reflected in the music we listen to.
However, I would like to acknowledge that #1, I'm a big believer in what I call "frequency shifting"-that is the ability to change our vibratory rate. And I think this happens all the time-our hormones, our nervous systems-everything about our body changes as we grow, so that someone who is 15 has a very different vibratory level than someone who is 50 years old. And frequently, they listen to different music.
In addition, and this would be #2, I think sometimes people listen to certain music because they don't know any better. Or more likely, because of peer pressure. I'm currently creating a recording called Chakra Dance, which is spiritually uplifting dance music for the dance crowd. This is a combination of sacred sounds-mantras, chants, etc., coupled with techno rhythms. It's quite an extraordinary and important recording because I believe it will expose an entirely new audience to aspects of healing and transformative music.
[Lori Thompson] Is there a difference in the effect of music/sound when it comes directly from an instrument or the human vocal chords than when it comes from a recording? Does "digitizing" sound have any effect on the quality of the original music?
Jonathan Goldman I have little doubt that the purest forms of sounds are the "live" sounds we make-whether from the voice or from an instrument. I have a fellow sound healer who believes that the best instruments are acoustic instruments. This may be true. However, as soon as a voice or an instrument becomes amplified in any way, it becomes changed. And these changes to the sound wave continue, whether they are being broadcast from a stereo or a CD player.
When CDs first came out, there was a lot of controversy about them. I knew of many people who believed that digital was not good. And I tended to agree with this. CDs basically cut off all sound above 22,000 cycles per second because technically, we can't hear above that and therefore won't miss what's not in the sound. We hear from around 16 to around 16,000 cycles per second. That's our frequency hearing range. Children can hear to around 20,000 cycles per second, though that gets less and less the older they get.
However, regardless of whether we can actually "hear" a sound, doesn't mean that the sound does not contain some sort of information that is perceived and is effecting our brain, our nervous system, our energy field. Perhaps, for example, these something with the way music effects us emotionally that is cut off on CDs-higher frequencies that give the music more of something we can't define, but is missing on the music. Digital sound is certainly very clear and clean, but perhaps it doesn't affect us the same way as analog music. I know of some people who believe that digital is artificial and not the most healing of sounds. I'm not sure. I think things may be changing and evolving with regard to digital sound. I certainly know of people who have had extreme transformational and healing experiences with digital sounds-particularly CDs. I receive countless stories of healing from my recordings, like Chakra Chants or Holy Harmony. Part of that, as I explained before, is that before I actually do a recording, I have the intention of creating healing and transformative music. I do invocations to various divine beings to come onto the music and assist the listeners and I really think that happens. It doesn't matter if the music is being recorded analog or digital. The sacred beings will come onto the sound regardless of the format!
[Lori Thompson] In your article, "Projecting Intention," you write, "Dr. John Diamond, MD, worked for many years with behavioral kinesiology, a method of muscle testing. Dr. Diamond spent many years demonstrating that not only would certain substances make us strong or weak, but that music could do the same thing." How might our reaction to different types of music make us "strong or weak" in a physical sense, as Dr. Diamond suggests?
Jonathan Goldman Kinesiology demonstrates that certain substances-food or drink for example-are beneficial for us and good for us and can strengthen us. Certain substances are not good and will weaken us. Let's use beverages for example. Most people will become strong with orange juice and weak with an alcoholic drink. In the same way, certain music will strengthen or weaken us.
However, let's remember that we are all unique vibratory beings-and therefore all quite different in our response to most substances and most sounds. Different vitamins will be good for different people. The same thing with sound.
What I think may be also important about kinesiology, is that it helps demonstrate the importance of intent, which I discussed a while ago with regard to my formula of "Frequency + Intent = Healing".
Years ago, there was an experiment done with a group of people. They sat in a circle by the ocean with a cassette recorder in the middle of the group. The people meditated blissfully (and silently), projecting the energy of love onto the sound of the ocean that was being recorded. Then, a new cassette was put in, the record button pressed and this time the time generated the energy of anger. Not a word was said as the sound of the ocean was once being recorded. Finally, the group of people left the area and the sound of the ocean without anyone being around was also recorded onto a third cassette.
Then the real work begin. A skilled practitioner of kinesiology tested people's muscles as they listened to the sounds of the ocean. Three tests were done for the three tapes that all sounded the same. No one knew which they were listening to-not even the kinesiological tester. It was just the sound of the ocean. But the results were radically different.
First, the results of the ocean without anyone around-well, you would figure that the sounds of nature would be nurturing to our body, mind and spirit. And indeed this is true. The normal ocean sounds made people strong.
Second, what turned out to be the sounds of the ocean with people blissfully projecting the intention of love made people even stronger. It was remarkable how powerful this sound was for the people being tested. They become rock solid while this ocean sound played.
Finally, the results of using kinesiology with the "angry ocean"-the one where people projected the intent of anger. It sounded just like all the other oceans, but the effects of this cassette were radically different. People became weak when they listened to this sound. But how could this be? It was the same sound as the other two cassettes. The difference, of course, being the intention of the people creating the sound.
Thus, you can take the same sound and put two different intentions on that sound and the outcome of that sound will be very different. Or you can take two different sounds and put the same intention on that sound and the outcome can be the same. It is quite amazing. And this also explains how you can have so many different people working with sounds that are very different and yet having similar effects-their intentions are the same.
This of course makes it a bit difficult for people looking for the "magic" frequency which will heal specific problems-since it seems that the frequency is only part of the formula-you've got to take into account the intention as well. But this formula of "Frequency + Intent = Healing" may be one of the most important unified field theories that exists.
Once again, this is why I think it's so important for people creating music to be as much of a conduit for sacred and healing sounds as possible. The energy of those creating the music is on some level received and perceived by those listening to the music.
[Lori Thompson] Given the potential positive and negative impact of sound/music on form-particularly on physical bodies-what should an artist/performer consider when choosing a musical style or song lyrics, etc.? In what "physical" ways might music be medicinal or harmful?
Jonathan Goldman Remember the story of Joshua in the Old Testament? How he and his men went around the walls of Jericho, making sound? And ultimately the walls came "tumbling down"? Well that's an example of the physical way that music could be harmful. Since sound effects not only our hear, (and thus or brain and nervous system), but actually resonates our cells and our body, some sounds can induce stress-and we know how stress can effect our health-impairing our immunological system and making us susceptible to all sorts of illnesses. And conversely, sound can resonate and heal parts of our body that are out of balance. I've seen remarkable conditions cured through sound. Most of this is with sound or music specifically created for healing. However, you never know what might work for you. I even have a friend who was at a Jimi Hendrix concert once with a bad toothache. After the concert he was going to the dentist. He told me that during one song, a note from Hendrix's amplified guitar went into his mouth and cured the toothache he had.
[Lori Thompson] Are there any other insights into the connection between sound and image-between vocalization and manifestation-and the implications for contemporary music and musicians that you would like to offer?
Jonathan Goldman We are very much still in our infancy with regard to understanding the true relationship between sound and image, as well as our ability to manifest through sound. With the later at least, perhaps this is a good thing. The more power we have with regard to using sound as a tool for healing and frequency shifting, the more responsibility we have.
Just imagine if we really did have the ability to manifest form through sound and we could create using sound! Are we really at the level of evolution-of consciousness-to be able to handle such a gift? You know, the word "abracadabra" is from an ancient mid eastern language-Hebrew, and means "I shall create as I make sound." Perhaps this was an ability we once had that was lost due to misuse.
So many people, as they realize the power of sound, become enchanted (a word meaning to put into trance with chant) with finding the "right" sound-looking for the magic frequency that will heal or transform, or give them some sort of power. The relationship between power and responsibility is quite clear. The more knowledge and power we have about sound, the greater our responsibility to use this power and knowledge wisely.
It's extremely important for us to have a consciousness that can work with the energy of sound in a wise and compassionate manner. Remember: "Frequency + Intent = Healing," or "Vocalization + Visualization = Manifestation." We need to be as pure a conduit for sacred and healing energies as is possible so that we can assist this planet. Now, more than ever, we need to be able to make a difference in the world. I believe that we can do that through using sound. Become aware that sound is an energy-a powerful tool that can heal and transform. Sound is a tool that can shift consciousness in a positive and beneficial way. Wisdom and compassion!!! What a combination! Once you are aware of this yourself, be as great a tool for using sound to assist others and the planet itself in achieving higher levels of consciousness. And once you are aware of this, let others know about the power of sound! Through using sound in a positive and beneficial manner, we can make a difference!
I'm really grateful for this opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you and your readers. I invite them to visit my website, read my books, hear my music and you are so drawn, to attend one of my teachings. In particular, every year we have a Healing Sounds Intensive in Loveland, Colorado. It's a nine-day training in sound healing that is unlike anything else on the planet-a step by step process of vibratory activation and initiation using sound. Next summer, it will be July 17 - 25, 2004. It's an incredible experience! Not only is it a lot of fun, but most people tell us it's the most transformational experience they've ever had!
Jonathan Goldman Bio
Jonathan Goldman is a writer, musician and teacher. He is an authority on sound healing and a pioneer in the field of harmonics. Jonathan is the author of "Healing Sounds - The Power Of Harmonics (Inner Traditions)," "Shifting Frequencies (Light Technology)" and The Lost Chord (Spirit Music). He has studied with masters of sound from both the scientific and spiritual traditions, including the Dalai Lama's Chanting Gyuto and Gyume Monks, and has been empowered by the Chant Master of the Drepung Loseling Monastery to teach Tibetan Overtone Chanting.
Jonathan is the director of the Sound Healers Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to education and awareness of sound and music for healing. He is also president of Spirit Music, which produces music for meditation, relaxation and self-transformation. Jonathan has created numerous cutting edge recordings including: Dolphin Dreams, Sacred Gateways: Drumming and Chanting, Trance Tara, Ultimate Om, Holy Harmony, Celestial Reiki Vols. I & II, and Medicine Buddha; created for H.H., the Dalai Lama's teachings in Northern California, May, 2001. His overtone chanting is heard on Kitaro's 2001 Grammy Award winning album. Jonathan's best selling release, Chakra Chants, won the 1999 Visionary Awards for "Best Healing-Meditation Album" and "Album of the Year." Jonathan's highly acclaimed The Lost Chord recently won Runner Up as the 2001 Visionary Award for "Best Healing-Meditation Album." His latest recordings are Celestial Yoga and Chakra Chants 2.
Jonathan has written numerous articles on the therapeutic and transformational uses of sound and music, which have appeared in many national publications. He has also contributed chapters and interviews to many books, including: "Musicmedicine," "Sonic Alchemy," "Music: Physicians For Times To Come" And "Healing Spirits." Jonathan's work has been cited in many books, including Julia Cameron's "Veins Of Gold." The new McGraw-Hill college textbook, "Music In Our World," has a chapter on Jonathan's recording of Dolphin Dreams.
An internationally acknowledge Master Teacher, Jonathan facilitates Healing Sounds Seminars at universities, hospitals, holistic health centers and expos throughout the United States and Europe. He has appeared on national television and radio, including Art Bell's "Coast to Coast AM" and has been featured in many national periodicals including "USA Today." His annual Healing Sounds Intensive attracts participants from throughout the world.
Jonathan Goldman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Film Making from Boston University. He holds a Master's Degree in the Independent Study of Sound Healing from Lesley College. He is a lecturing member of the International Society for Music and Medicine.
Jonathan may be contacted via email: soundheals@ aol.com, telephone: (800) 246-9764, (intl: 303 443-8181), fax: (303) 443-6023 or writing: P.O. Box 2240, Boulder, CO 80306. His website address is: www.healingsounds.com.
Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» Interview With Sound Healer and Researcher Jonathan Goldman - Part 1 (2004-01-06)