Robert Austin trained to be a cook and worked his way up to being a corporate chef of a hotel chain, and later for the banking industry, preparing delectable food for dignitaries from places like Europe, the Caribbean, and Central America. His food created nothing but good vibrations as he satiated the palate of many fortunate enough to taste his culinary creations. But while living and working in Miami, Florida he sensed a calling to trade his mixing and salad bowls, in for Crystal and Tibetan singing bowls and a sound healer was born. He had accomplished everything he wanted to as a chef and it was time to move on.
He switched coasts and moved from Miami on the east coast, to Englewood on the Gulf of Mexico with an eye on a new life. “It was a different coast. I could become anything I wanted,” says Robert. “It was more serene, less populated and people were more respectful of the environment.” He became a Reiki master and while on this journey within, this place of new enlightenment, he attended his first crystal bowl concert at a local “new age” store.
“I was mesmerized. My eyes were popping out of my head as I listened to the sounds of beautiful, spiritual, angelic energies.”
Robert incorporated crystal bowl meditation into his Reiki practice. Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that promotes healing and is administered through laying on of hands and is based on the idea that a “life force energy” flows through us, according to www.Reiki.org. The sounds created by the crystal bowls complemented his healing practice in a non-invasive but powerful way.
“The high vibrations of the crystal bowls will clear any kind of negative energy of a person,” says Robert. “Crystal bowls can relax you and release the stress. People can release stress and release pain. It’s truly amazing. Crystal bowls are like an angelic energy. It’s like the angels are all around you.” Robert began with a set of seven crystal bowls representing the seven chakras and his collection grew into what he calls a “family of bowls.” He adds, “They all have personalities. You must find your own bowl spirit.”
One experience he offers people is to put their feet in an 18" crystal bowl filled with Styrofoam peanuts while he plays the front of the bowl with a suede mallet. His 96 year old mother often plays with him at concerts, when he goes to assisted living facilities and rehabilitation centers. He plays outdoors in community parks, yoga centers and other places conducive to the experience. Pain can be released during a concert and often works well when he places a bowl directly on the body. The vibrations go deep into the organs, muscles, etc.
Tibetan brass bowls are also used in a similar way in his practice and time and again he has seen healing take place through these vibrational healing modalities. The intention of the bowls is to put the body back in harmony. Through listening and integrating the sound into your body, the vibrations help to harmonize the whole person.
“The power of the mind is very potent. When dealing with stagnant energy, like arthritis it’s not necessarily a life sentence. There are things you can do. You can break up that stagnant energy from carpel tunnel, fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s Disease. You can release that pain,” he says.
The crystal bowls were designed for the computer industry back in 1969-1970. The bowls are made of a quartz powder that is fused together not unlike the glass making process. One of the most common is the frosted crystal bowl that has a translucent appearance and is played with a rubber or suede mallet. The bowls have all different notes relating to the seven chakras or energy fields of the body, the root chakra, sacral, solar plexis, heart, throat, third eye and crown chakras, and range in size from 6-28 inches.
“The bowls can also be used with meditation, (yoga or chanting.) There is a spirit being in the bowl whether you want to believe it or not,” says Robert. “It’s almost like a spiritual friend. The bowl is there to help. Crystal bowls clear the auric energy. It goes into the body via a concert, meditation, or resting on the body. Vibrations from Tibetan brass bowls go very deep into the body and are made from precious metals of mother earth. They can effect change creating a subtle sound massage.”
In March Robert attended the 9th Annual Physicians Round Table Conference in Orlando as an alternative healing method that is increasingly being recognized as a valued therapy. This is the fourth year he has been invited to participate in that conference.
Dr. Mitchell Gaynor is a board certified medical oncologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. Dr. Gaynor also served as the medical director and director of medical oncology at the Weill Cornell Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine and has published several books including Sounds of Healing: A Physician Reveals the Therapeutic Power of Sound, Voice, and Music (Broadway Books 1999) and The Healing Power of Sound (Shambhala 2002). Since 1991 Dr. Gaynor has been using complementary healing modalities such as chant, music, meditation and crystal bowls along with traditional medical practices with reported remarkable results lending scientific credibility to the healing power of sound.
When Robert was 16 years old a spirit medium told him he would one day heal people with his hands. With a self-taught, spirit led, 15 year journey toward the power of sound healing, Robert performs bowl concerts along the east coast, often paired with yoga or meditation. With nothing but good vibrations, his bowl concerts involve playing 40-50 bowls, 15 crystal bowls, Tibetan bowls, an Australian didgeridoo, rain sticks and gongs, all played as an offering to heal and put bodies back into their natural harmonious balance.
“They (the bowls) can also be used to honor someone who has passed,” says Robert. “There is so much that the bowls can do. You go on to a journey to listen to your body. We can use the power of the mind to heal ourselves. We have to let go of negative experiences and enjoy positive experiences in life. We can choose to be happy or sad. We can envision healing and release pain and stress. Sound can heal the body or heal a broken heart.”
For more information about Robert Austin visit www.crystalbowlsoundhealer.com and to view one of his concerts visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKqXEI4bJNs#t=48.