‘Visionary’ to Offer Therapy through ‘The Song of the Singing Crystal Bowls’
By Susan Van Dongen Special Writer
MyCentralJersey.com, July 7, 2009
What key is the universe in?
Musician, healer and visionary Jay Schwed has read that Albert Einstein felt the key of the universe was G- flat, which ties in well with a collection of crystal bowls Mr. Schwed has accumulated, the most delightful of which plays the note F-sharp — or G-flat.
It’s called a “Faience Bowl” and is a replica of an ancient Egyptian bowl which was used to “tune people up,” help them achieve a light, “high” heart.
“In ancient Egypt, healers traveled from door to door with a ‘healing’ crystal bowl tuned to the note of F- sharp,” Mr. Schwed says. “The ancients believed the way to facilitate healing is by opening the high heart that connects the hearts of all beings. Today, we refer to this as the thymus gland, the center for the immunity system.”
Following his bliss on what he humorously calls “Jay’s Big Adventure,” Mr. Schwed is pursuing a spiritual call to travel and heal, one out-of-tune heart at a time.
During this summer tour, which has seen him perform at the Chopra Center and Spa in New York City, as well as in Central Park, he’ll be coming to Princeton twice. The Princeton Center for Yoga & Health will host “The Song of the Healing Crystal Bowls” on Saturday, July 11, and Mr. Schwed will also be accompanying Elizabeth Piccard’s Restorative Yoga Class at PCYH on Sunday, July 19.
Much more than a workshop, but also not quite a concert, the healing bowls experience combines the divine sounds of more than a dozen singing crystal bowls, five Tibetan-style bowls and Mr. Schwed’s “sound-infused” aromatherapy mists, sprayed intermittently to stimulate the sense of smell.
There are also these odd things called Oggz, egg-shaped multi-colored lights that morph through the colors of the rainbow and are also said to resonate with the body’s energy centers, or chakras. “I pass out lights to everyone and they place them on their bodies so they have a color healing experience, as well as sound healing,” Mr. Schwed says.
A kind of New Age Pied Piper, the Chicago-born/ California-raised Mr. Schwed describes the human body as a musical instrument. As any musician knows, when you neglect your instrument it gets out of tune. Same with cars. Machines need a tune-up every once in a while so it’s not a stretch to imagine that the magnificent human “body temple” also needs tweaking now and then.
Working on the thymus gland with the celestial F- sharp bowl is especially important, Mr. Schwed says, to coax that gland — and spirit — out from hiding.
“The thymus starts diminishing as soon as we’re born,” he says. “Children are born innocent and as they grow, they become less so. I believe there’s a correlation between the (shrinking) thymus gland and the diminishing of the connection to spirit. By doing this work with the thymus, we open up to spirit, we reconnect with each other and with the earth.”
“The bowls are enchanting,” he adds. “They tone down the ego, turn down the noise that rattles around in the brain and take you to that quiet place.”
Mr. Schwed has seen the bowls work wonders on senior citizens, terminally ill people in hospice, the emotionally ill, as well as men just coming out of prison.
“Whether it’s with seniors or the bipolar or with prisoners, the same thing occurs — harmony,” he says. The 50-something Mr. Schwed had a professional career with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture as an inspector and then a plant breeder’s assistant. However, in the mid-1990s, a workshop in massage at the venerable Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Calif., took him toward a life dedicated to healing. While living in the artists’ community of Ojai, he trained in massage, Reiki and hypnotherapy, all the while teaching himself how to play the bowls.
“Then, on Sept. 11, 2001, I awoke to the news and realized the significance of my work with the bowls,” Mr. Schwed says. “The bowls send out these harmonious waves and that’s my way of helping with planetary healing. Before I knew it, I would be playing at a park and all kinds of people would join me. It just kept getting bigger and expanding.
“It was an amazing evolution because I had no idea what I was doing, no idea that I’d be on the road, teaching people and producing CDs and what-not,” he continues.
It seems almost impossible that Mr. Schwed has been able to sustain himself for more than a year on his “Spirit Moving Moving Spirit” tour (the real name of his tour), during a recession. He attributes his success to faith, trust and putting his intention out there, allowing the bookings and gigs to simply flow through him. It’s a one-man business, too, no booking agents, publicity people or managers. Mr. Schwed has cold-called many of his connections, and seems to have a magical way to tell whether he will be welcome or not.
If someone answers the phone warmly, an invitation to perform seems to follow.
Always a lover of music but not a musician, Mr. Schwed says he spent his life looking for his instrument and finally found it with the bowls.
“I loved chiming them, just experimenting, but it wasn’t until Sept. 11, 2001, that I knew the bowls were part of my way to help people find their own light, compassion, creativity and connection,” he says. “When I play, I’m just allowing spirit to move through me. And as soon as I start playing, I put my seatbelt on.” Jay Schwed will present The Song of the Singing Crystal Bowls at the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, 50 Vreeland Dr., Suite 506, Skillman, July 11, 2009 7 p.m. $30. He will also accompany PCYH’s Restorative Yoga class with Elizabeth Piccard, July 19, 1:30 p.m. $40; $35 if paid by July 11. (609) 924-7294; www.princetonyoga.com. Mr. Schwed on the Web: www.healingcrystalbowls.com