Bells and chimes are liminal instruments. Partly in the metallic world of their harmonically complex cousins, the gongs and singing bowls, and partly in the world of percussion instruments, bells and chimes are harbingers of change.
In the Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hahn, bells of mindfulness are rung to wake people up. “When we hear one of these mindfulness bells ring, we stop whatever we are doing and bring our awareness to our breathing. The ringing bell has called out to us:
THIS WONDERFUL SOUND BRINGS ME BACK
TO MY TRUE HOME.”¹
I use bells and chimes as part of the grounding or returning to everyday consciousness sequence at the end of a sound healing session. Tingsha bells, dumbbell chimes, bell shakers, bar chimes, Koshi chimes and Zen bell are an especially effective segue from singing bowls and gongs into more earthy sounds such as seeds, grasses and wooden instruments.
¹ The Community of Interbeing, How to Enjoy Your Practice: The Tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, nd