Ancient Vocal & Rhythmic Practice to Release Stress & Want to Control Results

tsenatsil1At those times when you’ve done everything you can to make something happen, whether that be towards achieving a goal, communicating something to someone, following through on a project or idea… there is a gap or period of time between your intention, actions and the accomplishment or achievement of results. During that lag time, is when all the doubts, negativity, second guessing come up… It’s usually the time when your stress is most likely to surface. It’s such a human tendency to want to control the results.

While the results aren’t up to us, how we respond during the “gap” time is. What we do during this time can greatly affect our results.  When we succumb to the negativity and react e.g. “doing” more, taking more action to run from the discomfort… that action can actually be the thing that causes us to sabotage the very good we have already achieved, and just need to be patient, still and open as we wait for our good to manifest.

In ancient times, rattles and shakers were used to dissipate negativity… it was a way to shake things up, and calm people down.  One type of ancient shaker is the Sistrum. Today they are still used in Ethiopian and Eastern religious cultures. Another way to dissippate negativity is with a simple use of vocal sound that can shake things up and calm you down like a baby.

The Ethiopian and Egyptian sistrums are probably the oldest and best known idiophone types. Both are made of three or four metal rods that are horizontally drawn through a bow or U- shaped frame with a handle. They are of wood, porcelain, or pottery; the more recent standard type is made of metal. Both are equipped with movable discs, threaded on the rods, which jingle or clash when the instrument is shaken. It is interesting to note here that these ancient sistrums of African origin later spread to Greece, Rome, and other cultures around the Mediterranean as well as to other countries on the African continent.

The sistrum used in Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Churches as well as in the Fellasha Synagogues are known as tsenatsil. Its social function is evidenced by its popularity in many Jewish Communities of North Africa, and the Middle and Near East, where it accompanies exclusively sacred chants. It is also interesting to indicate here that the four jingling metal bars on the sistrum are linked with the elements of nature: fire, water, air, and earth. In most of the cults, the sistrum was identified with votive power. More  on the Ethiopian Sistra here with a great video too.

The ancient use of Hebrew sound can work like magic. You can use your voice in a simple way which has the power of a tremendous instrument. Your voice, in fact IS a most powerful instrument. For example when you feel the stress from wanting to control the results of whatever…. repeat the Hebrew word ZIV – which means glory… as in “beyond all doubt, and glory be… you didn’t succumb to the negative temptation :-)… your teeth closed. It causes a buzzing sensation.  Listen to a sample here:

The mystic Hebrew vocal meditation expresses this in an amazingly powerful way.

Repeat as often as feels good to you. Three, four, five times…there is no right or wrong way to do this exercise. When I teach this in my facilitator trainings, participants frequently come up with new applications. After 25 years of doing this work, I am amazed by the creativity of the human voice. No two are alike.

Try it.  See how it works for you. Share  your experience below.  Can’t wait to hear.

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