You are never going to stop having thoughts during meditation. It can turn and turn the whole time. The question is, are you noticing that? Can you observe the thought, or do you identify with every thought you have? It’s not the absence of thinking that makes you meditate, it’s the observation and detachment from thinking.
If you are suffering from chronic pain, depression, substance abuse issues, or severe anxiety, always speak to a doctor. Singing bowls and singing bowl therapy are often great complementary treatments to your doctor’s regimen.
Next, think about how you play. It’s not just about that aforementioned tension; playing a singing bowl, even a small one, requires the participation of a lot of your upper body. Your arms, shoulders, and core are part of the song. Strike the bowl and proceed to seed the sound by running the striker along the rim. Note what your arms are doing, and aim for consistency as you play.