From Sound Healing for Beginners:
Using Vibration to Harmonize your Health and Wellness
by Joshua Goldman and Alec W. Sims.
© 2015 by Joshua Goldman and Alec W. Sims www.Llewellyn.com
Forward by Jonathan Goldman
Sound is one of the most amazingly important, powerful and interesting subjects imaginable. Sound Healing for Beginners will make this subject fascinating and fun. Alec Sims and Joshua Goldman are two of the most knowledgeable and gifted writers in this field. While this is not the first “Forward” I’ve written, this particular one has a synchronicity that I must share with you.
I’ve been in this field of investigating and teaching the uses of sound and music for healing since the early 1980’s. I’m the author of numerous books and over 25 CDs that focus on therapeutic and transformational nature of sound. With acknowledgement of my credentials, I can tell you that sometime in the mid 1980’s, a gentleman by the name of Carl Llewellyn Weschcke (who was the owner and chairman of Llewellyn Worldwide, the publisher of this outstanding book) and I were in negotiations about my writing a book on the subject of sound healing. I had just finished my thesis for a Master’s Degree from Lesley University. The subject was on using sound and music for healing. Carl was very interested in my turning this into a book. So was I. But other things came up and alas, that particular book with Llewellyn Worldwide never manifested.
Fast forward to 30 years later. I receive an email inviting me to write a book for a company that went by the name of Llewellyn (which by now has become much larger and more prestigious than when I was first contacted but still can claim to be the world’s oldest and largest metaphysical publisher). Due to prior contractual agreements with other companies with which I was engaged, I had to decline the offer. But I found it quite extraordinary that the opportunity to manifest a book for Llewellyn had occurred again—30 years later. This time I did not give thanks and politely hang up the phone because it was not possible. Well, I couldn’t anyway—it was the Internet after all and this was an email. Instead, I wrote back something like: “Though I am unable to take part in such a project, I know of two people that would do an excellent job and that I would highly recommend.”
Thus began the journey of this book, which may have actually had its initial start quite a long time ago in the 1980’s and is now finally manifesting. I truly give thanks to the two people I recommended and who took the ball from there (or whatever euphemism you want to use to describe continuing the process set in motion from my recommendation of them). These people are my son Joshua Goldman and Alec Sims, our Healing Sounds OM (which either stands for Operations Manager or some other equally noteworthy since the first initials of the title spell out the sacred sound OM). He has also been the director of the Healing Sounds Correspondence Course since 2002, which from experience alone, makes him quite an authority on teaching people how to use sound as healing modality, for he has now done hundreds of one on one private consultations with students from a wide range of backgrounds. His extraordinary harmonic overtone chanting is also featured on a number of my most popular CD’s.
Of Joshua Goldman, there’s little I can say other than the fact that since his inception on this planet, he’s been a continued an inspiration for me. In fact, the first original recording I created for Spirit Music was a sonic birthing environment titled “Dolphin Dreams”, and was created for Joshua’s birth. At the time, it was the first commercially released recording which featured the sounds of dolphins (as well as whales, ocean, human heartbeat and much more) and it still is utilized by many for the birthing process as well as for deep relaxation and mediation.
I don’t know how many other infants, toddlers, teen-agers, young adults or even adults who have been exposed to the myriad number of extraordinary and different sounds to which Joshua has experienced. He was playing around with crystal bowls and Tibetan bowls in the early ‘90’s, before he had even learned to walk. I can still see him hitting the bowls with the striker he held and the glee on his face. This is just one of the many memories of I have of Joshua’s involvement in sonic experiences. I won’t embarrass him any further with parental remembrances. The fact that he did not reject sound healing due to his upbringing (despite teen rebellion years, etc.) is an incredible testament to the fact that not only is he a gifted writer, graduating cum laude with a degree in writing, but he has also embodied the experiences of sound with which he was brought up. I give thanks.
I remember the first time I met Alec Sims. It was at a very special workshop I gave in Boulder in 1996 with Lama Tashi, who was then Umzey (or Head Chant Master) of the Drepung Loseling Monastery in India. I do not recall how Tashi came to be in Boulder at the time—I do remember that we gave the workshop together in a very special “Multi-Sensory” Laboratory at the University of Colorado. This was a room designed to give deaf people the ability of experiencing sound. So there were all sorts of strange and unique aspects to the room, including floors that vibrated with speakers underneath them, which allowed those in the room to feel these sounds via the bone conduction. There were also colored lights that flashed on and off whenever sound occurred. It must have been quite a unique experience for those in this workshop (who, incidentally, were not hearing impaired) to feel resonance of the Tibetan “Deep Voice” that both Lama Tashi and I were able to create.
Alec Sims was among those in that workshop—a workshop the likes of which (to my knowledge) has never been repeated. There were a number of other extraordinary beings who also attended that workshop, including my wife Andi. I know because I have on the wall in my office, an 8 x 10 photo of the group as we chanted a Tibetan Mantra that day.
This workshop could well have been a follow up from a previous workshop. Alec and Andi would know better than me about this. Regardless, there was something quite special and precious about this workshop. Among other things, it lead to some extraordinary connections and continuations with others who attended it. Some years later, Lama Tashi would come to teach at the Healing Sounds Intensive, Andi would become my wife, and Alec would become our OM.
Of all the beings I’ve known, Alec has always been among the most knowledgeable about sound and spirituality. We’ve shared many discussion on various aspects of the subject and passing books and the like back and forth with each other. He’s also an exceptional guitarist, and we once performed together at a Music and Health in American Music Conference at the University of Colorado back in 2005 in a presentation called “Blues as Healer”. That’s also another experience that’s never been recreated. At least not yet.
Alec has attended, assisted and ultimately taught at nearly all of the Healing Sounds Intensives. Joshua began doing the same when he had reached an appropriate age to interface with adults at the event. They are like etheric brothers to each other and together have led the Boulder Toning Group for several years now.
Okay—I’ve introduced your writers. Now, onto the subject of sound healing. Except, that you need only go to the Table of Contents to see the depth and clarity of information and material found within this book. It is outstanding. So rather than write on topics already found in Sound Healing for Beginners, I’d like to share a rather personal memory that I trust is relevant to the book and particularly to this forward.
In the mid 1980’s, I remember giving one of my first lectures at the New York Open Center, which was then considered quite an esteemed place to have a presentation. I gave information about the different principles and practices of sound healing throughout the world—for example, how many of the ancient creation myths involve sound, which is something that both our modern quantum physicists as well as the spiritual masters of old agree upon. However, I think that one of the most important concepts that I imparted is something that I’ve only hinted at in a number of my other books. It was actually the first thing that I started out with in this lecture. I know because somehow, I was able to find those notes and they are directly in front of me. It says:
In order to fully research, investigate, understand and use the power of sound and music as therapeutic tools, one would need to be a:
- Physician—to understand the mechanisms of the body (including chiropractic)
- Physicist—to understand the mechanisms of energy
- Psychiatrist—to understand the process of behavior
- Psycho-acoustician—to understand the effects of sound upon the ear and the brain
- Audiologist—to understand the mechanism of the ear
- Mathematician—to understand the mathematics of music
- Linguist—to understand the study of language and speech
- Neurologist—to understand the effects of sound upon the nervous system and the brain
- Electrical Engineer—to be able to build different instruments for creating and measuring sound and music
- Philosopher—to understand concepts behind music’s creation and use
- Acupuncturist—to understand oriental medicine, including meridians, points
- Esoteric Expert— trained in all occult and spiritual subjects.
- Psychic— able to see etheric fields, prophesize and communicate with unseen forces.
- Magickian—to understand the uses of chants and magickal formulas
- Healer— trained in all traditions; chakras, bio-energetics, etheric fields
- Shaman— able to induce and travel to different states of consciousness.
- Vocalist— able to create all techniques of chanting and toning from all traditions.
That was the first page of my outline for the lecture on the workshop I was about to do. I have not edited anything, but still agree with what I wrote more than 30 years ago. I could perhaps come up with some more categories necessary for an individual to be an expert in order to become truly adept in the field of sound healing. But regardless, the major concept of this first page was to indicate to the audience I was talking to that it was literally impossible for one person in one lifetime (or perhaps many people in many lifetimes) to become adept in all these categories. Thus on one level, regardless of how long we have been in this field and at our particular area (or areas) of expertise, we are all still beginners in sound healing.
I thought at the time I first presented at the Open Center that in just a few years, somebody would hold a device like a “tricorder” (the fictional medical analysis instrument on “Star Trek”) over someone and be able to scan and perhaps fix whatever ailed them. In medicine—at least traditional medicine—this has not happened yet. Even some of the most seemingly researched information about the therapeutic power of sound is still practically unknown. The sound work of Alfred Tomatis, MD, which has been utilized for many years in hundreds of centers working with learning disabilities is still considered fringe. It is unlikely that if you asked your doctor about his work that they’d do anything more than scratch their head. The phenomenon of binaural beat frequencies—the ability of slightly out of tune sounds to entrain and synchronize our brainwaves—is not something that most of the scientific community is aware of either. This, despite the fact that binaural beat frequencies have been used therapeutically for nearly 40 years! Regrettably, most of this information has not made it into mainstream medicine.
Please note, you will encounter information about the above material in this book and more. The science of sound is surely important. However, you’ll also encounter those areas of sound which focus on those sound as an energy medicine—these include magickians (with a “k”, indicating true magick and not stage magic), healers, and shamans. From my perspective these are the approaches that really matter for the knowledge and use of sound as an energetic healing modality has gone back many hundreds, if not thousands of years. There’s quite a bit of understanding of sound in these approaches and it’s the kind of information and experiences that Alec and Joshua will also share with you. You’ll find out about the extraordinary energetics of sound and in addition find out about the physical plane attributes of sound—how and why it can heal. These basic principles and practices of sound healing are mandatory for any “beginners” understanding in this subject.
Perhaps most importantly, in this book you’ll gain the experience of the healing nature of sound through practice. Many years ago, when I was doing my initial research at Lesley University on sound healing, I was a virtual walking encyclopedia of sound healing. I could tell you details of multitudinous systems of sound healing—from Tibetan to Ancient Greek to Native American and so on. But it was all theoretical information and not experiences I had received. Ultimately, it was not particularly practical or useful neither for myself, nor for the teaching of others. Over the years, I have dismissed a majority of this data, replacing it with the understanding of experiences with sound that I have received. From my perspective, it is in this understanding that so much of the true healing nature of sound gets lost. If we deal simply with information and not experience, then something is missing. With sound, it is in the experience of sound that we gain true knowledge. Once you have experienced something, it is genuine and it is yours and is the real thing!
This is something that Alec Sims and Joshua Goldman understand and know. And it is something they will share with you. From the effects of listening to the power of producing your own self-created sounds, they will present to you not only data on the how’s and why’s of these subjects, they will also give you easy and truly profound exercises. Through such exercises you will feel the resonance of these sounds in your own body, learning to feel the sound and to control the affect and outcome of it. This is not only important—it is life changing.
Thus, it is my great honor and privilege to present to you this “Beginners Guide to Sound Healing”, sharing the awareness that we are all “beginners” and that Alec Sims and Joshua Goldman are two of the best guides I know. Enjoy this marvelous journey into the world of sound. For many, it may only be a first step, but it may also be a path you will continue on for your entire life. What a blessing! I wish you sound travels!
Boulder, CO 2015