Interview with Suren Shrestha – Master and Teacher of Sound Healing, by Amara de Luna
Last fall I was priviledged to be able to spend some time with Suren Shrestha, Master and Teacher of Sound Healing with Himalayan Chakra Singing Bowls (often referred to as Tibetan singing bowls). Despite having just completed four days of workshops, private sessions, and meditation concerts at East West Bookshop in Seattle and Bothell, and preparing to head out to Tacoma where he would be offering more days of concerts, classes and workshops, Suren very graciously carved time enough out of his busy schedule to meet with me for an interview.
I first met Suren in April 2009 when I completed his series of workshops on sound healing with Himalayan singing bowls. I had long been interested in the use of sound and music for healing, but was frustrated in my search for a system that appealed to me. When I came across an announcement of Suren’s workshops at East West Bookshop, I took a deep breath, committed my time and money to a weekend of classes, and prayed that this guy was the real deal!
From the moment I stood in his presence, all doubt and skepticism melted. Suren is definitely the real deal. Since that weekend, he has continued to offer me his guidance and support. He helped me navigate the purchase of my own set of chakra bowls, and unfailingly answers every question I put to him via email. He even once contacted his own teacher in Nepal for clarification on a question I had raised!
What follows is a record of our brief conversation over soup at Whole Foods.
Amara: Thank you for making time for me today. I know you are off to Tacoma tonight, and then continuing around the country with your classes and workshops and meditation concerts. One of the questions I have comes from reading your book, “How to Heal with Singing Bowls: Traditional Tibetan Healing Methods”. You write about growing up in Nepal and seeing many different modalities of healing. Ultimately, what was it that drew you to the bowls as something that you wanted to learn and share with others?
Suren: That’s a good question! There are many forms of healing modalities in Nepal. There are a lot of ways of doing healing, from shamanism, to chanting and mantras, Ayurveda, and rice ceremony. In the medium of singing bowls, with their sound and vibration, I witnessed many people being healed. I saw people becoming relaxed and instantly being healed from stress. I felt personally, it’s very powerful because of actually seeing others receive healing from other ailments. And then I was just drawn to it. I guess Spirit called me to it.
Amara: There is a lot of interest these days in singing bowls. For myself, when I go online I see lots of conflicting information about quality and the bowls. Some people say you can only do healing with antique bowls. Some people say, even the hand-hammered bowls made today aren’t good for healing. I myself have experienced exactly the opposite, but I am wondering your feelings are on this.
Suren: Whether the bowl is antique, whether it is new or old, whether it is five metals or seven metals, according to my teacher it is you, the healer, who is doing the healing by your intention. Some singing bowls are even ten or twelve metals. Still, it is your intention that is most powerful.
As far as healing only with old bowls…my teacher does not do that. As far as healing only with ten or twelve metal bowls…my teacher does not do that. You can work perfectly well with the machine made bowls, as long as you send the energy, the healing intention.
Amara: I’d like to talk more about intention and intuition. In your workshops and your book, you outline traditional healing protocols with the bowls. However, you always assert that the healer should be guided by intuition. For myself, in healing sessions, I sometimes find myself straying from the protocols, but I feel that I am following intuition…
Suren: The protocols that are done in this book…for example, one section deals with stress, depression, anger, and this section tells you what to do with the bowls [for these conditions]. Traditionally, some teachers do that particular protocol for those reasons. But, as a healer, your intuition may call upon you to modify the protocol in a certain way for a particular issue. Many people [that I teach], including Reiki Masters, massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, crystal healers, etc., start their sessions with the bowls to help their clients relax. You can add on to your healing modality. You can bring in responsible intuition, and mold these protocols in certain cases.
Every one of us has the capacity to heal. All of us. Healing ourselves, and facilitating healing in others, is a gift that is given to us from another realm. This is why healers are called “gifted.” But healing is first and foremost for ourselves. First we must recognize that we are gifted – that we have been given the gift of healing. This is all too often denied. We are overwhelmed by self-doubt and fail to believe we have been given this gift. In order for us to be given the gift, we must be willing to open our hearts and receive it. How do we open our hearts? We must believe. In a healing session, both the healer and the healee must open their hearts and receive the gift.
Next, once we have received this gift, we are asked to nurture and develop what has been given to us – to make something of it by developing it. We make it more. The gift then becomes even more fundamentally ours.
Finally, we must pass it on by offering a gift to others, and in doing so we ourselves are healed by giving. We ourselves are healed by healing. I could do healing treatments all day! In fact, [on the road] I am teaching and doing private sessions all day, but I am also healing myself.
When you give a gift to others, you receive healing.
Amara: And speaking of that, of offering the gift to others, you do charitable work in Nepal, correct?
Suren: Yes, all of the proceeds from the book go to helping orphan children [in Nepal] to go to Surya Boarding School. We pay all the fees, as well as school supplies and transport for the orphaned children. But my and my wife’s goal is to build a house for them. Right now they are living in relatives’ houses. Our goal is to build a house for them, and to have a full-time tutor/teacher living with them, and a cook, and to offer healing for these children. The name [of the house] will be Aama, which means mother. Luckily, we have already bought the land. So, this project is moving forward. Hopefully, in 2012 anyone who wants to can come and help us to start building it!
Amara can be contacted at Sound Spirit Healing