author and musician Jonathan Goldman talks about
his life, sound healing & the importance of Healing Sounds
Retailing Insight: How did you get started in the field of sound?
Jonathan Goldman: I had this wonderful experience in 1979 while playing in a rock n’ roll band after I graduated Boston University Film School. I was performing at a seaside bar in Cape Code, Massachusetts. After a break, I came back onstage with my band. I strapped on my guitar and as we began to play, I remember looking out at the audience and realizing that the music we were creating was helping induce an ambience of negativity and violence. Now, no doubt, the alcohol and other intoxicants that were being imbibed was also helping create this. But I had been performing professionally for almost 15 years and this awareness was something new. My next thought was the question: I wonder if music can be used to make people feel good? Over the next week, this thought evolved and became: I wonder if sound and music can be used to heal? That began my journey into the realm of sound healing.
From there, I went on to form the Sound Healers Association, which held monthly meetings and featured presentations by well-known doctors, scientists, spiritual teachers and healers who worked with sound and music. I got quite an education and decided that the subject of sound healing merited some credentials. I pursued a master’s degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts researching the uses of sound and music for healing. A few years later, I was meditating and I literally was shown the outline for a book that needed to be written. A couple of days after, I received a phone call from this couple I had made friends with who had become editors for Element Books in England. They asked if I might have a book that I’d like to submit. I sent them the outline I had received in meditation and it was accepted. Then, I was able to take much of the material used in my master’s thesis and from other sources and manifest my first book, Healing Sounds.
RI: Now, Healing Sounds is getting its 30th Anniversary publication. Can you explain its longevity?
JG: At the time it was first published, Healing Sounds became quite a success—particularly in England. It has continued to stay in print and now with this 30th Anniversary Edition, I believe a continued sonic rebirth may occur. With over half a dozen books and 30 award winning recordings, I seem to have effectively shared a whole lot of positive vibrations in the world. I estimate personally teaching tens of thousands of people about sound and music for healing. What a blessing.
There were a lot of concepts introduced in Healing Sounds that seem to have become mainstays in the sound healing tradition. At the time of its initial release, it was being advertised alongside Deepak Chopra’s books. Thirty years ago, it really took off. I think it really laid the foundation for much of the extraordinary interest in sound healing that has manifested lately. For example, in the book, one of the subjects I focus on is the use of harmonically related vowel sounds to resonate the chakras. This is found in the chapter “Vowels as Mantra” and at the time, it was truly new. When I google “vowels as mantra” now, I find the system I created and pioneered is being utilized all over the internet. And most of the time, it’s just taken for granted and universally accepted. But it came from Healing Sounds. I am honored and grateful that it’s been so widely accepted by so many.
Another example is my understanding of how sound can be used to heal. This premise actually came from one of my mentors, Dr. Peter Guy Manners, creator of Cymatic Therapy which uses direct application of sound on the body for healing. The basic idea is that everything in the universe is in a state of vibration. This is something that our ancient mystics and our quantum physicists agree upon. From the electrons moving around the nucleus of an atom to planets in distant galaxies moving around their suns, everything is in a state of vibration and thus, conceptually at least, creating a sound. This includes our bodies—every organ, bone and tissue is in a state of vibration. When we are in a state of health—sound health—we are like this overall orchestra that’s playing the “Suite of the Self.” But what happens if the 2nd violin player loses their sheet music? The string player begins to play the wrong notes. Soon the string section is off. And then the entire orchestra is affected.
It’s as though a part of our body has lost its natural healthy resonant frequency—it’s vibrating out of harmony, out of balance and out of ease and we say it is diseased. The basic idea of sound healing is to somehow restore the correct resonant frequency back to that part of the body. It’s that simple and that profound. This idea is the basis of many alternative therapies including chiropractic, acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy, chromatherapy and more. These are all different approaches to restoring the correct resonance to what ever is vibrating out of harmony. Healing Sounds presents various aspects of sound to do this, including harmonics.
There are many aspects of sound that continue to be of extraordinary importance to our understanding of how sound can be used to heal and transform. And many unique exercises and techniques in the book that can be embraced by the population of readers interested in sound. This is probably the main reason why the book continues to resonate with so many. And there are so many powerful secrets that have yet to be found and unveiled by new readers.
RI: What are harmonics? What is their importance? Why do you think it’s necessary to bring awareness of harmonics into the world of consciousness and sound healing?
JG: Healing Sounds is subtitled “The Power of Harmonics.” Harmonics are an amazing aspect of sound. Whenever we make or hear a sound that is natural (and not laboratory made), we are actually hearing a composite of different frequencies, called harmonics. This is an astounding phenomenon because it means we are not hearing just single tones, but these many simultaneously created sounds called harmonics. These harmonics are geometric multiples of the fundamental frequency.
Harmonics are responsible for why different instruments sound the way they do. They are also the reason why each of our voices is unique and different. They are responsible for the “timbre” or color of sound. Different combinations of harmonics create this tone color. It’s a bit like holding a prism to white light and seeing the whole bandwidth of colors emerge.
Understanding the concept of harmonic shifts our awareness from thinking of sound healing in terms of single frequencies and brings in a much more complex and evolved understand of the power of sound. As we begin to perceive of harmonics—first to be able to listen to and hear them, and then to be able to create them (a relatively easy ability that’s taught in the book), we are actually able to shift and enhance our ability to perceive reality in a more advanced manner. Through experiencing harmonics, we are able to activate and enhanced one of our major senses—our sense of hearing—and this is life changing. This enhances our neural pathways, releases stress, enhances our immune system and much more.
Harmonics are sounds that display universal principles found throughout nature. This includes chemistry, physics, crystallography, astronomy, architecture, spectroanalysis, botany and the study of other natural sciences. Knowledge of harmonic principles is contained within the teachings of great mystics and scientists.
The harmonics of different sounds—different instruments and our voice—are truly unique. Harmonics may be that aspect of sound that truly has healing elements. We need to explore and investigate this further. The best way to do this is to experience them. I trust that Healing Sounds will help manifest this.
RI: You developed the formula “Frequency + Intent = Healing” that was first featured in your book. Tell us about the power of intent and its importance.
JG: This formula came as a result of my accessing all the information from my master’s thesis at Lesley University. Over the years, I had compiled all these different systems of using sound and music for healing. I was compiling this information, thinking that I would be the first person to ever create a coherent system of which frequencies and sound worked for which organs and chakras.
The only difficulty was that as I looked at these systems (and I literally had piles of paper that were stacked about six inches high with different information), I realized that the systems didn’t align or correlate. Doctor X would be using one set of frequencies for a specific organ while Doctor Y would be using a completely different set of frequencies. Spiritual Master A would be using a particular mantra for a chakra and Spiritual Master B would be using a different mantra for that same chakra. Or the same mantra for a different chakra. It didn’t make sense.
I was in a state of intellectual angst and then I heard an inner voice. This voice said: “It is not only the frequency of the sound that makes its effect. It is also the intention of the person making and receiving this sound. Then, I wrote down the words “Frequency + Intent = Healing.” This was over 40 years ago. This formula first appeared in Healing Sounds.
At the time, when I approached different scientists and doctors about this idea, they dismissed it. It was very difficult when I first shared this formula, but as the years went by, more and more people began to focus on the importance of intention. Bruce Lipton (“Biology of Belief”), Gregg Braden (“The Isiah Effect”), Wayne Dyer (“The Power of Intent”), Joe Dispenza (“You are the Placebo”), Lynne McTaggart (“Intention Experiments”), Masaru Emoto (“Message from the Water”) to name just a few, really gave credence to the importance of intention—belief, visualization—however you want to name it. Now the concept of intention has almost become an accepted phenomenon—particularly as quantum physics continues to manifest in our consciousness and we begin to understand our ability to co-create reality.
While I was not the first person to understand the power of intent, I think that my formula was quite original. I have a couple of other formulas that express basically the same thing, including “Vocalization + Visualization = Manifestation” and “Sound + Belief = Outcome” which have also become very popular. The information on intention is truly profound and importance and has influenced many.
RI: What’s different about this new edition?
JG: Because the information, stories and ideas found in Healing Sounds are so unique and important, I did not find it necessary to change anything. I made additions to different resources, including one of the most extensive sound healing bibliographies available. There’s also a new foreword and afterword, but the original text is the same. It is considered a classic in the field of sound healing and remains so for a reason.
However, there is a major new difference—in the 30th year of its publication, it is now possible to add the element of actual audible sound to this edition of the book. I’ve included over 100 minutes of downloadable music, sounds, audible examples, guided meditations and sonic exercises that will greatly enhance every aspect of the book. This is called “A Celebration of Sound” and includes recordings on teaching the techniques of “Vowels as Mantra” and “Fundamentals of Vocal Harmonics” that were released separately as “Healing Sounds Instructional.” There are also never before released recordings of harmonic tuning forks, overtone singers, Tibetan monks, harmonic chanters and much more that are quite exquisite. These are all downloadable as well. And there’s much written information about these different sonic selections.
Regardless of how well written the book may be, it still was not possible to actually hear the different sounds I describe—until now. This unto itself is an extraordinary gift which includes many different tracks that will truly help enrich the experience of Healing Sounds. Besides some new additions to the book, these audios are a real treasure trove of sonic offerings that really enable you to experience and embody the power of harmonics.
RI: Any last thoughts?
JG: I just want to acknowledge that the field of sound healing is continuing to blossom and grow. More and more people are beginning to understand their own innate ability to use sound as a vehicle for health and wellness. It’s been my great desire and purpose to help empower people with the knowledge and experience of sound to heal and transform. I trust that Healing Sounds will continue to be part of this extraordinary manifestation of light and love through sound that allows this to happen.
JONATHAN GOLDMAN, M.A. is an international authority and pioneer in the field of sound healing. He is author of numerous books including The 7 Secrets of Sound Healing, and the best-selling The Humming Effect (co-authored with his wife Andi Goldman) which won the 2018 Gold Visionary Award for “Health Books.” His classic Healing Sounds has just had a special 30th Anniversary Edition released. Jonathan is director of the Sound Healers Association and president of Spirit Music, Inc. in Boulder, Colorado. A Grammy nominee, he has created over 25 best-selling, award winning recordings including: “Chakra Chants,” “The Divine Name” (with Gregg Braden), “Frequencies: Sounds of Healing” and “Reiki Chants.” Jonathan has been named as one of Watkins’ Mind Body Spirit Magazine’s “100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People.” Visit www.healingsounds.com to learn more.
HEALING SOUNDS: THE POWER OF HARMONICS
Published by Healing Arts Press