MANDY’S PRACTICE: Sound Bath vs the Chitta

Tonight I had the amazing opportunity to experience a sound bath led by my dear friend Mokeph. She’s a healer and sound therapist who plays Tibetan singing bowls, gongs, crystal bowls, chimes, and other auditory goodies to create a super restful hour.

Participants laid on mats and blankets, resting as completely as possible while the sound rolled over us. It was magical. I saw color auras for the different instruments and sounds, and even at one point experienced a tactile hallucination that felt like my 3-year-old daughter was snuggled against my chest, fast asleep. I had to open my eyes to be sure she wasn’t actually there. It was that real.

But at first, I wasn’t feeling or seeing anything but my new website, the email blast I’m creating for the studio where I work, and the pile of dishes in my sink.

For the first half of this powerful time my mind was trapped in the mundane. I couldn’t snap out of work mode. I felt the hamster wheel of my brain spinning along at its usual lightning fast pace and couldn’t slow it.

In Sanskrit, the word for the feeling of a runaway mind is chitta. It refers to a chattering monkey who won’t leave you alone. And isn’t that so appropriate? Sometimes I feel like I have two children: a chattering, incessant, loud, overwhelming, demanding presence – always pulling on me, taking up my personal space, making everything 10 times harder than necessary – and my daughter.

But somehow, in the midst of the chitta, the sound broke through. I began to drift, not sleeping, but resting deeply in a practice we call Yoga Nidra (I’ll talk about this amazing type of yoga soon!) There I found colors, peaceful orchestrated parades of purple, red, yellow, and blue, floating through my vision in concert with the sound.

And as I finally felt the chitta release me into the most restful state I’ve experienced in a while, I felt in my arms, as real, as warm, and as heavy as my actual child, the spirit of my baby. It was so beautiful, and almost – almost – as perfect as the real thing.

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