Richard G. Petty, MD

The Amazing Power of Your Voice

I have always considered myself to be musically challenged: I love listening to music of all kinds of different genres, but as for producing it? No.

I was kicked out of the kindergarten choir during a particularly painful attempt to sing "Ring a ring o’ roses." I used to worry that I might be responsible for the collapse of the mental health of a succession of music teachers….

I always thought it a bit of a pity that I had no ability to sing because four events have convinced me of the power of the human voice.

The first was a demonstration by Zoroastrian priests who could split a pane of glass in two simply by chanting. This is quite different from the tales of champagne glasses shattering as they resonate with the sound of a soprano’s voice. This was precise and done to order.

The second occurred one Sunday morning, when I was sitting with a number of friends as we were waiting to enjoy our Sunday lunch together. We were having a pleasant discussion, when I heard one of the most beautiful and ethereal sounds imaginable coming from the kitchen. The sound was emanating from Jill Purce , the wife of one of the other guests, the biologist Rupert Sheldrake. She was demonstrating Tibetan overtone chanting. This is something that can be learned by anyone who can speak. Our voices naturally contain a spectrum of sounds, and the technique of overtone chanting makes some of these harmonics audible. There is great power in the sound produced and the dual actions of liberating your voice and concentrating on learning a new way of using your body can have profound effects on your mind, body and subtle systems. In Tibet and Mongolia these techniques are used for raising consciousness and gaining spiritual insights.

The third event that convinced me of the power of the voice was trying a series of mantras and chanting exercises and finding just how quickly each could change my state of consciousness and even produce profound physical effects. Just taking a deep breath and repeating the sound AAAHHH on each slow exhalation quickly showed me the power of just one sound. Another one is to place your right hand over your heart and softly repeat HAWWW, while imagining red light flowing from your hand into your heart can have an amazing calming effect, though some people also find that it cause an emotional release. Doing it for just a minute or so can sometimes have people crying with the release of some of the emotional tension that they were holding in.

The fourth event was being made aware of the effects produced by some of the sub-harmonics produced by own voice when speaking both when woking with individuals and when speaking to large audiences. I’d never been even vaguely aware of them until a sound engineer did a demonstration for me. I’ve since learned that several other speakers produce similar sub-harmonics that can have profound effects on listeners: the best known that I can think of are Caroline Myss (you can download a free meditation by Myss from this site), Deepak Chopra and Ken Wilber (you can actually download a free podcast from this link– "God is a Blogger" is my favorite!). When you listen to all three of them in person, or listen to their tapes or CDs, your will often learn things really deep down, that go way beyond the actual words being spoken. I was once delivering a speech and I didn’t feel that it had flowed as well as usual in terms of the content. Yet at the end I had a line of people wanting to tell me of the profound effect that I had upon them. And then the organizer immediately asked me to return, telling me that there was “something about your voice,” that had drawn everyone in. I must admit that at the time I was completely oblivious to all this.

For years now I have been interested to learn everything that I could about the therapeutic effects of sound: in particular, music, chants, mantras and sacred language. So I was extremely excited to read a new book by James D’Angelo on the Healing Power of the Human Voice, and it exceeded all my expectations. It is a book crammed with practical exercises and there is an accompanying CD. Taken together, they should be enough to convince the most hardened skeptic. And there is a wealth of wonderful material for the open-minded experimenter.

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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