Mental Health Ministries

The Singing Bowl

The Singing BowlI was looking for a bowl. I wasn't exactly sure what kind of bowl I was looking for, but I trusted that when the right bowl crossed my path, I would recognize it. The whole bowl thing got started after reading an article that used the image of a Zen Buddhist monk's begging bowl.

Each day the monk goes out with an empty bowl. Whatever others place in that bowl would be the day's nourishment. I liked the idea of approaching each day as if we had an empty bowl in our hands with the expectation that our bowl would be filled with wonderful and unexpected surprises. And so I was looking for a bowl that would remind me to approach each day with openness, expectation and anticipation. My whole family knew I was looking for a bowl. For several months various people would point out certain bowls thinking that I would appreciate their find. But none of the bowls "spoke to me."

One day my husband and I were visiting a quaint town with a multitude of unusual stores. Leaving him contented in an old bookstore, I wandered in and out of various stores. One of those stores was "eclectic" with all kind of unusual items. I noticed some very dusty brass bowls on a table. They were stacked on top of one another, being of various sizes, but all having the same proportions. A round stick was near the bowls, imprinted with the words, "do not remove from this store. Curious about the bowls, I sorted through the stack until I found one that fit my hand. I tapped the side of the bowl with the wooden stick and it gave out the most enchanting tone

By this time a woman mysteriously emerged from behind the musty carpets and explained that I was holding a Tibetan singing bowl. She politely took the stick and showed me how to run the hardwood stick around the outside edge of the bowl to make it "sing." The bowl vibrated in my hand as it sang to me for the longest time, the tone still soft, yet crystal clear, as I held it to my ear. I knew I had found my bowl! It would be a bowl that must be kept empty in anticipation of God's gifts for me that day. For if I were to fill it with trinkets and treasures, it would cease to sing.