It is all consuming and as you lie there, eyes closed. The sensations moved from my whole body feeling almost overwhelmed to this intense thick kind of peace … then I can’t remember anything else until I suddenly felt myself come round.
Ok, let me back up a bit – after spending the day re-living my childhood fear of Loggers Leap at Lego-land I decided to see if I could fit in something that evening that I had heard about a few weeks before – a Gong Bath.
I have always been curious about the impact of sound on our bodies, I find it fascinating that our bodies are fundamentally just energy – vibrating at various frequencies. If you have ever spent time with me, I will have undoubtedly mentioned at some point that the only reason I can’t put my hand through a table is that we vibrate at a different frequencies – mind blowing.
Anyway rewinding a little – I managed to book a place on a Gong Bath nearby. The sun was setting as I drove through the tiny windy roads. Now I am not going to lie – I wasn’t in the best mood, Maps had taken me on some roundabout route along a tiny road in the middle of no-where, full of potholes and only just about wide enough for my car to drive down. I managed to wizzed past the entrance to where I was going to spend the next hour then committed an atrocious 5-point before I arrived at my destination.
I had thought I was late – actually I had misread the time and was 30 mins early. I just sat in the car checking social media feeling very unspiritual.
Half an hour later I grab my yoga mat and towel and made my way to the hall. It was quiet with a few people milling around this huge circular bronze looking plate (aka gong) hanging from a stand in the middle of the space. The gentleman running the session (probably seeing I had absolutely no idea what I was doing) instructed me to lay my mat wherever I wanted at an angle a few meters from the gong either with my head or feet towards the gong.
It sounds weird to describe it but although there were about 20 of us in the room everyone just kind of settled at the same time – lying down and pulling our blankets or towels over us and getting comfy (yes, I did take a few conspiratorial looks sideways to check I wasn’t the only one lying down!)
So when I first think of a gong immersion, I imagine being deafened by someone banging it – really that’s the only way I have heard it played. So as it began I slightly tensed my expecting my eardrums to take a serious battering.
Completely the opposite. The gentleman playing the gong actually stroked it in different areas, which gradually builds up – what I can only describe as – this blanket of undulating sounds that gets more and more intense.
It is all consuming as you lie there with your eyes closed. I moved from my whole body feeling almost overwhelmed to this intense thick kind of peace. I know it sounds strange – but you seriously have to try it to get what I mean! After that I can’t really remember anything else until I suddenly felt myself come round. I had just enough time to wonder if I had been snoring before the sound of the gong slowly faded out and was replaced by a gentle chime which was our ‘alert’ that the session had stopped. I lay there, wiggled my toes and just felt this immense sense of fullness.
Apparently listening to the gong leads our brain into different ‘states’ – from Alpha waves (brainwaves between 8 and 12 Hz) which is the state we are in when we are Daydreaming, using our imagination and associative thinking; through to Theta waves (4 and 7Hz) which occur during dreaming sleep or REM and sometimes to Delta – a deep sleep frequency.
There are different gongs each with different purposes; the gong playing during our meditation was the Earth Gong with a pitch of C#. It is apparently the same tone as that with which the earth rotates around the sun. If your interested in learning more about sound frequency then its worth googling Musica Universalis or thought leaders like Pythagoras, Nicola Tesla and Schumann and looking into their work and thoughts on it – I honestly don’t think I can do justice in this post to the enormity of information out there about it – from energy sources and philosophy through to healing.
All I can honestly and authoritatively say, is that after the hour of my gong bath I drove back down the same tiny-out-of-the-way track and looked over at the beautiful fields in the sunset, wound my windows down and really enjoyed the drive – potholes and all!