I love that a powerful gong bath only happens in the 3D world.
Of course there are plenty of gong bath recordings and also players giving online gong baths, but you won’t find me doing that. I just don’t think it is possible or even desirable. I love how to truly experience a gong bath, you need to be there! The connection between player and audience, the feeling of the vibrations, the physicality of the gongs themselves, the silence after the session, the sharing after the session, even the space in which the gong bath happens. All these can only happen in person. As it should be 🙂
I love that I must teach myself how to play.
There are plenty of gong teachers out there where you can become a ‘certified gong master,’ but really it is a very new development which means there is so much room for discovery. I love how this ‘wild west’ of meditation and music allows me to create my own direction, expression, art. For this reason, it requires me to access all the skills I have learned in other areas of my life and apply them to the task of becoming a better gong player.
I love how music, art, sculpture, film and even food inspires my playing.
I get my inspiration and ideas from every kind of music from around the world. My initial composition structure came from Indian music. Now, I am drawing from Korean shamanic music. Rothko paintings inspired how I develop layers of overtones while maintaining a minimal approach to rhythm and melody. Food has inspired how I prepare a gong bath; how I set up the mallets, how I place the gongs, etc. Film has inspired how I create a story based on the arch of energy/intensity. These are just a few examples off the top of my mind.
I love how no two gong baths are alike.
This is something you hear from jazz musicians or classical Indian musicians all the time, how no two songs are played the same, but I feel with the gongs, it is like that times a million. Even when I play the same exact sequence of mallets and gongs, just hitting the gong slightly from a different angle creates a different sound which then changes all subsequent sounds. Even a change the temperature of the room will change the sound. From the participants perspective, people are never the same when they come to a gong bath, so it ends up being a unique journey every time. The people who come regularly know this very well.
I love that playing requires all of me and it’s still not enough…
You can’t just play the gongs by habit, like saying hello to a passerby, without even thinking about it. A gong bath is only as good as the attention and sensitivity with which I approach it. If I am distracted, it shows up in the sound. If I am not sensitive, I miss the subtle suggestions offered to me by the sound, or even worse, I overplay and turn it into sour milk. The thing is, even if I am fully present, the next moment, I must do it again, all the way through. This is a marathon meditation that includes a million small and large decisions.
I love how it affects people…
This one may seem obvious, but it really isn’t obvious. I am always surprised and delighted when I hear people talk about their journeys. The truth is, I am so wrapped up in creating the sound journey, that I have little to no ideas of how it is being received. I just have to trust that if I am being real and playing 100% my best, I can be at peace with how it affects the participant. Still, it is a joy to see the open joyous faces emerge from their own private paradise. To hear how their voices became deeper because they are speaking from a deeper part of themselves, to notice how they wish to stay quiet, or how they can’t find words to describe their journey or how they can’t believe it was a whole hour. These kinds of things delight me.
I love how it brings people into a meditative state, without having to do a lot of talking.
I taught meditation for years and years. I actually got tired of being a ‘teacher.’ I got tired of all the talk. It blows me away that I can accomplish the same thing with an hour of gongs as a 6 hour meditation workshop, filled with questions and answers. Don’t get me wrong, I think the questions and answers are important, but where I am personally, I need more time just being super quiet. Playing the gongs allows me to help people as before, but also honoring where I am in my journey.
I love the people I am getting to connect with and become friends with at gong baths.
Gong baths are not for everybody. Those who do come are a very special breed. For me, offering gong baths is like having a passport into all kinds of amazing spaces and worlds. I have met incredible people doing incredible work. The gongs attract a unique person. A musical person, if I may say so. Living a musical life doesn’t mean that one is a musician, necessarily. It means that their life is like a song. Their days are populated with a lyrical beauty. That is how I understand them, these participants of the gong baths. Just that look of deep appreciation when they don’t know they are being watched by me, makes it worth the whole adventure.