Category Archives: Healthy Living

Dean Evenson on Meditation

MEDITATION is the pathway to the nectar of the soul, the activator of essence, the process of peace and the place where God speaks to us in a still, small voice.  It is a practice of patiently letting go of the Me to becoming one with the Magnificent.  Breathing with awareness allows the mind to be connected to a peace which fills the body with comfort and well-being.  Hope springs from knowing that all is perfect and we all have our part in this mandala of creation.
Just watch the breath and listen to the rhythm of the quiet heart.  A multitude of thoughts will fly on by while the source of all being swells up to clear out the cobwebs and gift us with a tingling flurry of free form energy.
What path is there that leads to such ecstasy?  It is right inside and knows no boundaries of blessings.  It is the unfolding essence leading us on through the soft summer night into the sweet morning light.  We give thanks for knowing this.
– Dean Evenson

Earth Resonance Frequency

Did you know that we live in a musical universe? Everything is made up of frequency and vibration.

The music of the SOUND HEALING SERIES created by Dean Evenson & the Soundings Ensemble has the added value of including the Earth Resonance Frequency (ERF) within the mix. This sub-audio tone of 7.8 hertz is the vibration of the Earth’s atmospheric cavity and can be felt but not heard. Our brain goes into an alpha state under the influence of this original frequency; our nervous system fires at close to this frequency. Dolphins, whales and crickets use this frequency to communicate with.

Studies have shown that the effect of this frequency on the human system is significant and when we are in the presence of the Earth Resonance Frequency, our human nervous system is triggered back to the basic alpha state, in which a person is awake and alert yet calm and receptive to healing. Soundings of the Planet has included the ERF in its recordings to enhance the peaceful state that the music creates and also to help people get in touch with the earth itself. Through aligning with this original frequency of the planet, we support our own healing as well as that of the Earth.

Music for Health & Relaxation

By Dudley Evenson

“All the tragedy in the world, in the individual and in the multitude, comes from lack of harmony.  And harmony is best given by producing harmony in one’s own life.”

-Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Music of Life

All cultures on every part of the planet, from ancient times to this day, have used music in some way to lift the spirit and to enhance the healing process.  Sound affects us on all levels from the emotional to the physical, and reaches into our very depths, resonating through every cell and molecule of our being.

Music because of its nature is a link between the external and internal worlds, a bridge to the spirit and a doorway to the soul   Sound affects the vibratory rate of every part of the body and has a direct impact on the mental processes, muscles, nervous system, digestive system and circulatory system.  It is no wonder that health care practitioners have discovered the benefits of using music as a support for the healing process.

It is rare to have a healing session these days without the presence of peaceful music in the background.  Why is it that music and bodywork go so well together?  In addition to the pleasant environment that music provides, there are many reasons why music actually supports and extends the benefits of the healing session.  In this article, we will explore a few of them.

It is interesting to note that both healing music and massage began to have a popular acceptance about the same time.  The 1970’s were a time of new innovations and explorations into healing and consciousness so when a few pioneering musicians began to create a more spiritual and meditative form of music, it was natural that the newly blooming massage therapy and bodywork professions would discover its benefits for their practice.  In addition to a good massage table and fragrant massage oils, good music became a must-have part of a massage therapist’s medicine kit.

Surrounded as we are by the monotonous 60 cycle per second hum of machines and consuming urban life, the tendency toward tension and dis-ease has become the byproduct of our modern lifestyle.   Soothing music and the sounds of the nature remind us of the peace we desire.  Clinical research and personal testimonials attest to the effectiveness of music and natural sounds in providing a space for healing to occur.

In his landmark book, The Mozart Effect, Don Campbell states that “by listening to music with longer, slower sounds, one can usually deepen and slow the breath, allowing the mind to calm down….As with breathing rates, a lower heartbeat creates less physical tension and stress, calms the mind, and helps the body heal itself.  Music is a natural pacemaker.”

Stress.  The American Institute for Preventative Medicine cites it as a key role player and contributing factor in both heart disease and cancer, two of the leading causes of death in the United States.  Best-selling author and physician, Dr. Andrew Weil, concurs saying “I am convinced that stress is the primary cause or aggravating cause of the majority of illness.” Tension in the mind translates itself into tension in the body and can cause a state of dis-ease in the body’s organs and systems.

No wonder the many forms of bodywork now prevalent in our society such as massage, Reiki, healing touch, acupuncture, chiropractic, yoga, tai chi and Pilates are resulting in a direct benefit to our health.  Used in combination with peaceful music, the positive effects can even extend the healing experience beyond the hour or two of a session.  Some healthcare practitioners are “prescribing” music for their clients in order to extend the beneficial effects of their work.  If someone has had a positive experience listening to a certain piece of music during a session, being able to play the music at home will allow the effects to continue and cause the “Relaxation Response”  to kick in when the music is played and the memory stimulated.

What is it that makes music healing? Healing music as we have discovered is much more than just slow music with nature sounds.  We have identified multiple reasons why the music has a positive effect.  Some of them are listed below:

• Slow rhythms entrain bodily systems (heartbeat, pulse, digestive system, respiratory, muscles)

• Natural sounds (if present) give sense of peace

• Tones are nurturing, clear, warm and gentle

• Pace is slow but with a sense of joy and beauty

• Music doesn’t have hooks and repeated refrains that engage the mind (not demanding)

• Feeling is more like nature, flowing

• Sub-audio frequencies (if present) entrain brainwaves to alpha or theta state

A relaxed body and sense of inner calm are beneficial to restoring health and maintaining balance in the face of disease.  Often, the mind needs an extra tool to assist it in letting go of disturbing or repetitive thoughts.  Music has the ability to give the mind another focus and helps to lower stress levels, which in turn, helps strengthen the immune system.

Healing is about re-aligning the body with its own divine blueprint.  It is about returning to a dynamic state of balance from a temporary state of imbalance.  A primary way sound heals is through physical and emotional resonance.  Resonance occurs when two energy systems vibrate at the same frequency.  Certain music will cause the body and its systems to resonate with it and return to a state of balance.

Another aspect of healing with sound involves slowing down the brainwaves. Our brains emit a continuous and often varying vibration reflecting the state of our consciousness and attention.  When we are busy, physically and mentally active, or stressed, our brains emit Beta waves (15-21 hertz or cycles per second).  When we are in a peaceful, calm and meditative state, our brains emit Alpha waves (7-14 hertz) and we are more receptive to healing.  Theta brainwaves (4-7 hertz) are emitted in an even deeper and more dreamlike state.  Delta brainwaves (.5-5 hertz) indicate deep sleep, coma, or trance states.  Music with very slow sub-audio frequencies can help entrain the brain to go into the desired states.  Entrainment simply means causing one system to vibrate with another. A sub-audio frequency can be felt but not heard.  (Audible sound is in the range of 20-20,000 cycles per second.)  Music that contains very low frequencies under the mix can extend the healing effect of the practitioner’s work.

The intention of the musician is another aspect to consider when choosing healing music.

Sound is a carrier wave for intention and spiritual energy so the integrity and original intention of the musician are very important.  If music is made by formula and simply for commercial purposes, that is the intention of the artist and the music will have minimal healing effect.  On the other hand, if the musician is coming from a truly spiritual place, the benefits of the music will be all the more effective.

The level of healing gained by any musical piece is a function of the balance between the elements of intention, harmony, resonance, frequency, rhythm, and entrainment.  Because music is a form of art, there are also creative and artistic levels to consider and here we get into areas that are more intuitive and based on individual perception.  Slow music that is morose and moody will not have as positive an effect on the healing process as music that is joyful and uplifting and carries a sense of beauty and spirituality.  The good news is, there is much healing music available today that can assist the body worker to support the healing process and help the individual return to a state of wholeness and harmony with oneself.

Dudley Evenson and her husband, Dean Evenson, are award-winning musicians and co-founders of independent record label Soundings of the Planet, celebrating 30 years of creating Peace Through Music. They are sound healing pioneers and have produced over 60 albums since 1979. Contact Soundings of the Planet, www.soundings.com.

Sounding the Chakras to Bring Balance and Overcome Stress

by Dudley Evenson

Over the past few decades, much has been written and shared about the chakras.  Information drawn from ancient Indian metaphysical teachings has been joined by modern psychological and anatomical awareness to bring about a synthesis of understanding which has practical application in helping us to live healthy, harmonious lives. The chakras are the seven major energy vortices located along the central meridian from the base of the spine to the top of the head which are associated with major organs and glandular systems.  They also have psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects and are important to the harmonious function and integration of body, mind and spirit.

The word chakra means ‘a wheel that spins’ in Sanskrit.  We can imagine them as orbs or spherical balls of vibrational energy.  These subtle energy centers serve as gateways or transfer points between the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of our being.  As we come to a greater understanding of the chakras and how they work, we are better able to bring into balance the various aspects of our being and create a truly fulfilling life. Vibrant, radiant balance among all the chakras is the goal.

In these times of great economic uncertainty, many people are feeling vulnerable and unsure about their ability to pay their bills and cover their basic survival needs.  Issues such as these are very much related to the First Chakra or the Root Chakra as it is known.  This chakra is related to the Earth element and has to do with survival issues, what we do for work, how we feed, clothe, and shelter ourselves. Do we feel supported and well taken care of?  If not, we need to address these concerns by focusing on that chakra and use certain tools and techniques to enhance its function.  When we learn to identify our issues and become aware of which chakra they relate to, we are better able to bring that chakra into greater functionality and allow it to radiate fully the life force as it flows through us.

The first three chakras are related to the physical aspects of our being and are associated with the elements of Earth, Water and Fire relating to our needs for food, water, and energy.  Our Fourth Chakra is the transfer point between the lower physical chakras and the three higher spiritual chakras.  This Heart Chakra relates to the element Air and is about exchanging energy and of course giving and receiving love.  The Fifth Chakra is at the throat level and has to do with communication, relating to the element of Sound or ether.  The Sixth Chakra is our mental and vision center and relates to Light, while our Seventh Chakra is our Crown Chakra and connects us with Consciousness and Spirit.

A helpful tool for bringing the chakras into balance employs using the voice to tone and resonate the chakra.  Since sound is also a subtle energy, it has the ability to alter our state of consciousness.  When sound is coupled with intention, the result is magnified.  Of course, one of the most important aspects of making a sound relates to the breath.  When we focus on breathing deeply and fully, we are in fact bringing in more of the life force.  As we learn to control our breath, we are better able to control our thoughts and our mind.  Breathing that focuses on a short, full inhalation and long extended exhalation will have the greatest effect.  Including a sound with the exhalation can help to slow down the exhalation, creating the desired ratio of in and out breath.  A meditative practice that involves toning can help to resonate the various chakras and bring them into balance.

There are several systems of toning that can be used.  The ancient Sanskrit system of Bija mantras can be quite effective.  The order of the Bija mantras are (from first to seventh) Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham, Sham, Aum.  When done in a meditative state and when possible, using mudras (hand positions), toning the Bija mantras can be a highly effective way to center oneself and resonate all the chakras.

Another system that is helpful uses vowel tones associated with each chakra.  These are longer more open tones and can be very effective in controlling the breath and energizing the chakras.  A system developed by Jonathan Goldman uses these vowels (from root to crown) – uhh, ooo, ohh, ahh, eye, aye, eee.   With the Bija mantras one lets the ‘mmm’ sound resonate, whereas with the vowel toning system, the focus is on the long open sound.  The vowel tones can also be done in a scale from low to high, for example using the notes c-d-e-f-g-a-b.   The rainbow spectrum of colors can also be visualized from the lower chakras to the higher as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

One can also use a short affirmation to sing or state the principle one wants to focus on for each chakra.  It is important that the statement is positive and in the present tense.  Repeating it frequently with high intention or using the toning and color visualizations can help to create healthy chakras that will support the well being of body, mind and spirit.

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Dudley Evenson and her husband, Dean Evenson, are award-winning musicians, multi-media producers and co-founders of independent record label Soundings of the Planet which celebrates 30 years of creating Peace Through Music. They are sound healing pioneers and have produced over 60 albums since 1979.  The Evensons’ inspiring music of flute, harp and natural sounds has been used in hospitals, prisons, schools, and spiritual centers to support people’s healing or life process. The Evensons present multi-media events and teach an online courses at DailyOm.com called A Year of Guided Meditations and Satiama.com called Deepen Your Meditation Using Sound Tools: Toning, Mantra, Chanting and Affirmations.

How to use Positive Affirmations to Create the Life You Desire

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”  – Anonymous

Listening to the radio recently, I couldn’t help but notice how sad and bad the news was.  A real bloody day for people in Gaza, Iraq and even LA, not to mention continuous doom and gloom reports about the failing economy.  I felt a knot of anxiety growing in my stomach as I tried to digest the constant barrage of bad news hitting me.  I realize I’ve been paying too much attention to news lately and it’s having an effect on me.   Bad news affects all of us painting a pessimistic picture of the world, coloring the content of our thoughts.

How do we overcome the tendency toward worry and negative thinking?  How can we manifest our dreams and harness the power of positive affirmations to improve our lives?  Isn’t that what we all want?  A chance to make each day a bit better and hopefully leave a legacy of worth when we are gone.  Beyond these modest impulses, perhaps some may rise to even grander heights of sharing, caring and creative manifestation.

For three decades I have been using spoken word affirmations and guided meditations to bring groups together in a shared communion of visualization and prayer.  With my husband, Dean Evenson, playing flute, along with me on hand harp, we have been able to create deeply meditative experiences for large groups of people, opening for Deepak Chopra, don Miguel Ruiz, Larry Dossey and playing for Joan Borysenko and Iyanla Vanzant’s own meditations.

Recently I decided to put together a CD of guided affirmations.  Rather than start with the basics of taking a deep breath and walking in the forest, I jumped into a huge project of creating 52 weekly meditations on the universal principles that guide all life.  When I sat down to write the script, the words just flowed forth and the practical wisdom that we have gleaned over our many years on earth showed itself on my computer screen.

Needless to say, it came together well and I am pleased that the album, MEDITATION MOMENT, is being very well received.  To support the process of understanding what affirmations are and how to use them to create a fulfilling and successful life, I offer some common sense guidelines that will enhance their effectiveness. I present these simple premises to you in the hopes that you will actually use the suggestions and be blessed by the improvements that show up in your life.

Why do affirmations work?

What is it that makes them so compelling?

An affirmation is a positive statement asserting that the goal to be achieved is already happening.  It is a declaration to manifest a desired outcome.  This desired way of being may seem far from the truth at the moment, but amazingly enough, with repetition and focused intention, it can become reality.  Since the subconscious mind processes affirmations and suggestions as reality, it is important be aware of one’s thoughts and constantly edit out unwanted negative suggestions.

The fact is, we are constantly affirming in our mind what we believe.  When we look honestly at the content of our thoughts, we may be shocked to discover that we have been telling ourselves a ‘load of crock’ as they say.  We can usually tell the quality of our subconscious mind by looking at the quality of the life we are living.  If we are not pleased with our life, we must look at the content of our mind to discover how we have been programming our existence to meet our belief structure.

In the 1950s, Earl Nightingale, cofounder of Nightingale-Conant, recorded a classic motivational record called ‘The Strangest Secret.’  He recognized the ‘strangest secret’ to be that we become what we think about every day.  He emphasized the power of positive self-talk, expectation and belief.  These ideas were ground breaking at the time and today many people use guided affirmations in some way to try to achieve their goals. Affirmations hold great promise for helping improve our lives but like any other tool of transformation, skill and understanding are required that once mastered will enhance their performance.

When we take hold of our thoughts through the repetition of positive affirmations, we can move in the direction of manifesting our highest ideals and vision for our lives.  The word ‘mantra’ in Sanskrit means ‘mind protection’ for it is through the use of a repeated phrase, prayer or affirmation that we can get a grip on the rampant thoughts and tape loops that tend to control us.  By repeating a phrase over and over again, it becomes embedded in our subconscious mind and then the creative forces of the universe are able to rally support to make it happen.

The interesting thing about affirmations is they do require a belief and faith in them even though the actual statement may be different from our current circumstance.  We increase their effectiveness when we put our feelings into them and actually experience the emotions connected with the fulfillment of our desires of love, prosperity, success or whatever it is we are aiming toward.  This may be difficult as first but with perseverance and repetition, the words become a part of us and before long, we look around and realize that we are actually achieving what we may have thought impossible only weeks or months ago.

Affirmations only work when spoken in the present tense.  The subconscious mind takes things very literally so if you say ‘I will be rich’ you will never experience prosperity in the present moment as it will always be just around the corner, in the elusive future.

Another aspect that increases the effectiveness of affirmations is repetition.  In the negative aspect of this principle, we experience inner ‘tape loops’ or ‘monkey mind’ that constantly replay a phrase or thought that is not in our best interests.  This thought may be something a parent or ex partner told us about ourselves long ago (‘You are a mess’ or ‘You’ll never amount to anything.’) and we unconsciously have repeated this idea for years, thus creating for ourselves a messy, unfulfilling life.

When we take hold of our thoughts and use affirmations regularly with an understanding of how they work, positive change will occur.  When we can truly visualize and feel the reality of the spoken word affimations, we enter into a cooperative contract with the universe to make use of this powerful tool for manifesting of highest dreams.

Dudley Evenson and her husband Dean Evenson are award-winning, sound healing pioneers, musicians and media producers.  They are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their record label Soundings of the Planet and have produced over 60 albums of healing and world music.  Dudley’s recent CD is MEDITATION MOMENT: 52 Weekly Guided Affirmations.  These meditations are also on a popular course at DailyOM.com called A YEAR OF GUIDED MEDITATIONS. The Evensons teach meditation, sound healing and chakra workshops nationwide.  For more info visit www.soundings.com or call 800/93 PEACE.