Gong School

34 days to 50.

I’ve been training with a gongmaster in Orange County. I know this might sound odd. The gong is a large musical instrument similar to a cymbal. They are often used during relaxation in Kundalini Yoga. The premise is that the gong’s noise is so disruptive that the thinking part of the brain- the part that wants to make a list of all the things you need to do at the end of class- go to the grocery store, pick up the dry cleaning, etc.. can’t function properly when the gong is played. This allows the body and the mind to truly relax and go into a meditative state. I have personally had extraordinary out of mind experiences during gong mediation.

A friend of mind from Kundalini Yoga teacher training has been in gong training with this gongmaster for over a year. She introduced me to him and encouraged me to join his program. We meet once a month and talk really diverse topics in spirituality, from numerology to Tantra. Then we each get 5 precious minutes playing one of the gongs. Gongs used for yoga or sound therapy are associated with the planets, they each have a certain frequency and personality.

Last month was our first time playing. We played the largest of all the planet gongs, the Sun. To say I loved it is an understatement. Playing that gong was beyond fun. To sit right in front of it and feel the vibrations running right though you is truly delicious. Our gongmaster says the gong is a mirror, the way you play it reflects the way you handle situations in life. I have a background in mathematics and classical piano. So I tried to find patterns in the gong. Hitting it high, then low, looking for the right rhythm to make it really sing. We all critique each other afterwards, most people had really nice things to say. The gongmaster, however, had a different take. He simply said, “You are really good at manifesting things, but you don’t know what to do when you get them.” Just like that. I was stunned. This is, of course, true.

Today we played Mercury, this gong is geared towards the mind and communication. I took a different take today. I didn’t try to control every movement and every strike, I tried to play from my heart. The gong really responded. So much so that I would stop and let it settle down. I was afraid if I kept going the sound would somehow crack, that it would get too loud. During critique a few people said that the when I stopped it was really disruptive and they didn’t really connect with it. Once again, the gongmaster said that I can make things happen but when I get there I don’t know what to do, where to turn, so I just stop. Basically the same comments as last week. Again, all true.

At the end the gongmaster plays for all of us. Just like me, he also really got the gong going. Very loud, full rounded vibrations. But rather than stopping to let the gong settle down, he just kept going. The gong does not overwhelm itself. The sound does not crack. What happens is that the main slightly scary swell keeps going for awhile but another swell comes up underneath it and eventually takes over. The fear I had of losing control of the sound doesn’t exist.

The gong is a mirror. I’m focused on trying to let go of the fear and just keep going.

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