Going, Going ...Gong.
As a Sound Practitioner, I often talk about Sound Healing and Sound Baths with my crystal alchemy bowls and I realize I need to give more emphasis to the gong. Indeed, some Sound Practitioners feel called to only use the gong as their healing tool of choice.
Gongs are truly incredible sacred instruments and are worthy of their own sacred space. I tend to play both the bowls and the gongs during a Sound Bath, because I like to incorporate both modalities, but there are times when I feel called to orchestrate and weave only the sounds of the gong in what is commonly called a Gong Bath.
A Gong Bath is an ancient, multi-dimensional form of sound healing meditation that continues to be practiced today.
Predating the Bronze Age, gongs have been used for meditation, healing, and communication purposes for nearly 6,000 years.
The term ‘bath’ signifies being bathed in sound waves but there is no water involved. Fully clothed, clients (sound bathers) are comfortably cocooned in a sonic immersion of gong sound.
As rightfully described by Gong Master Don Conreaux, “The gong is known as an instrument of transformational power” and translates to “an engine of power releasing tone resonance and complex harmonics that are transferred to the recipient.”
A Gong Bath is a totally immersive mind and body experience. Sound doesn’t just enter through your ears, the vibrations travel throughout your whole body whether your ears are consciously listening to it or not. While focusing on the sound of a gong, your mind is automatically decluttered, allowing you to sink into a transcendent mind, body and soul connection. This is the magical space and power of the gong where your mind disengages and the listener is able to connect to their higher, spiritual self.
“The soul has been given its own ears to hear things,
the mind does not understand."
Recently some clients, a married couple, requested a private Gong Bath and afterward they had a hard time explaining their experience-- there simply were no words. They did not know what to expect going in, as instructed, they relaxed into it and followed the rippling sound waves. They described being wrapped in sonic vibration and before they knew it, … they were (((gong))).
The gong is not only a musical instrument, but a mystical vehicle and a profound Sound Healing tool. When a gong is played it produces a strong sound wave, almost tangible to the touch. It produces a combination of overtones and undertones. As the sound ripples, it makes a new set of tones that branch out continued waves of sound. It is much more than the expected sound you think you are going to hear – the sound ripples continuously all around you. You can feel the vibrations in your body as well as in your mind, and they eerily sound like what you would expect to hear in outer space.
The sound stimulates the physical body by influencing the surface of the skin and every cell. The logical, analytical part of the brain can’t figure it out. It allows for that part of the mind to completely disengage and a listener to connect to their spiritually.
It becomes clear that there is something way more profound happening than just listening to some noise. The gong is a sacred and ancient instrument of healing, transformation, and rejuvenation and it is an excellent tool for helping listeners bridge from the physical to the meditative state . It is in this beautiful meditative state that Sound Healing occurs.
“The Gong is the first and last instrument for the human mind, there is only one thing that can supersede and command the human mind, the sound of the Gong. It is the first sound in the universe, the sound that created this universe. It’s the basic creative sound. To the mind, the sound of the gong is like a mother and father that gave it birth. The mind has no power to resist a gong that is well played.”
According to the late physicist, David Bohm, “When metal is being “excited”, electrons become highly charged electromagnetically and form a field of Plasmon. The plasma field is being created off the gong and the listener becomes part of the field. Metal is the only material known where the electrons leave their atoms and join other atoms. When the vibrational activity of the gong ends, the electrons go back to their original atoms. Once the gong comes to rest, the Plasmons and the energy field collapse. When the gong is revved up again the Plasmon field expands and intensifies. Participants are therefore, being electromagnetically charged.”
From a sacred geometry perspective, a circle – the shape of a gong – represents a beginning that has no end. It has ever-expanding potential and represents our connection with the perceived nature of oneness. Throughout many traditions and cultures, it also stands as symbol for heaven, totality, perfection, unity, eternity, completeness and harmony.
The sound of the gong purifies and quiets the mind. Its strong tones cut through the linear mind and clear the clutter from the subconscious mind. As a gong is played, it generates powerful multidimensional ripples of sound that grow into waves and bathe your body in streams of vibration. These sounds have been described as otherworldly, rhythmic, purifying, magical, profound, out-of-body, celestial and cosmic.
Gong Master Don Conreaux, beautifully stated, "Skillfully played, gongs can pull us back from the edge of our thoughts and create a different platform for our existence. The OM tone of a gong creates total silence within and the sustained tone of a gong creates timelessness. The building of its tone combinations create a sense of levitation or lightness."
“The gong is the sound of Creativity itself. One who plays the gong plays the Universe.
The gong is not an ordinary thing to play.
Out of it came all music, all sounds, and all words.
The sound of the gong is the nucleus of the Word. The gong is not a musical instrument, nor a drum. The gong is a beautiful reinforced vibration.
It is like a multitude of strings, as if you played with a million strings.
The gong is the only tool with which you can produce this combination of space vibration.”
Gongs date back to the Bronze Age, about 3500 BC and were found primarily in Mesopotamia, Burma, China, Java and Annam. Since the time of Buddha in 600BC all sacred Chinese gongs have been inscribed with ‘Tai Loi’ meaning ‘happiness has arrived’. Rumor has it that ancient sacred gongs included pieces of meteorites that fell from the heavens, ‘sweeping the darkness by bringing in the light’.
Some of the ancient uses for the gong include meditation, healing, initiation, communication and ceremonies including the ability to rid negative spirits.
Gongs are considered to be a good luck charm, and touching a gong is believed to bring a person happiness, good health, and strength.
In India it is believed that the sound of a gong created the worlds, and when played it produces the primordial and original sound ‘Om’.
“The gong is the spirit song. It is the primal whisper for the soul. Its sound is the echo of the original word that created the universe, the SOUND within all sounds.” Yogi Bhajan
Today, Gong Baths may utilize one or several gongs, in addition to various other ancient and/or new age instruments. Sound Bathers who participate in these sacred sound healing meditations often receive and manifest experiences that vary between the intensely introspective and the extremely cosmic, often fusing the two, while helping you to shed all that no longer serves you.
And that ...is just the beginning.
Joey McCune, a free spirited Seattle Realtor turned Energy Practitioner, has traveled the world in her studies of deeply rooted spiritual traditions and rituals in many forms. She is a Sound Healer/Weaver, Gong Master, a Master Reiki Practitioner, works with Shamanic Energy, and now lives and practices in Tulum, MX.
Her work with clients focuses on achieving a sense of balance, wellness and soul fulfillment and utilizes a combination of crystals, color theory, chakra systems, sacred geometry and Sound Healing principles.
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and are for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.