I write a lot about gong baths – as a practitioner I am asked a lot of questions, and I love digging deeper to understand how gong sound baths are capable to facilitate such profound changes, from pain and emotional relief, or better sleep and fewer wrinkles to deepest meditation and spiritual awakenings.
I love it even more when I can share stories of those who have found sound therapy of gong baths healing. Seeing familiar faces, in their favorite spots, is always so reassuring for me as a gong player, as we all know each session will bring new energy and fabric of sound, with every interaction of notes being unique, even if all the same people are present. The beauty and pain of impermanence!
I always tell gong bath session participants (also known as gongstasJ): make sure to practice relaxation every day, in whichever shape or form it comes. Meditation and relaxation are not just states – they are actions, practices. We schedule exercise sessions to allow the body to adapt to running a marathon, to stand on our hands or to master perfect calligraphy strokes, yet I heard many a human say “I can’t meditate, my mind is too busy!”, or “I have difficulty being still for long periods of time”. The habits of stillness and relaxation are cultivated through practice, practice, practice, just like violin or gymnastics. Some training days are drenched in sweat, and some are effortless and breezy. It’s all SUCCESSFUL practice, because practice is about repeatedly showing up.
Sarah have made gong baths her weekly relaxation ritual for 10 (!!!) straight months. That is about 40 consecutive sessions. Some weeks we had lively chats the moment she arrived, and some it felt more natural to let her settle in and have a moment to herself before the session. I always extend invitations to share experiences after the session is over, but they are strictly voluntary and most people choose to wake up slowly and digest their journey in silence. Some don’t know what to share, some want to keep it private – it is my approach to give people space to figure it out.
I carefully asked, a few months after things settled for her, if she would be willing to share her unique experience, and she graciously agreed! Word to Sarah now:
“Cleansing, healing, mind-opening, clarity, memories of hurt and anger, and wholeness. These are my experiences with the gongs.
I was going through a break-up and was desperately seeking some form of peace and healing. A friend had invited me to go to a gong bath and I remember thinking that it sounded super cool and needed, but at the same I thought with uncertainty, “Will I have to get undressed for this?”
The first couple of times I had gone to the gong bath, I was restless and didn’t know how to truly relax and let the gongs do its magic. Though, even within my restlessness I could feel the cleansing micro massages doing their thing within body, all the while, my mind was racing within its turbulent thoughts. Then one day I finally fell asleep. During that sleep, my mind raced with images and loud voices. I could feel my heart pounding rapidly even as I slept. Those images and loud voices were memories of hurt and anger. When I awoke to the calming wind chimes and to the refreshing sound of rain water my heart continued to pound, but I had clarity! I had better understanding of the things I had kept hidden deep away from myself.
As time went on, I became dedicated to the gong baths, I went every Sunday for almost a year. There were times I would come to the gongs with a seriously heavy heart and I would sometimes fall asleep and snore a little bit, and would awake with not having clarity or a cleansing feeling. But, later in the week, the calm, the peace and the clarity would arrive to my seeking soul.
My dedication to the gongs gave me a feeling of inner tranquility that would carry on within my being from week to week, it was wonderful. I believe it enabled me to understand myself and my emotions better. I also believe it opened me up to better understand and interpret the energy of others.
Then my time with the gongs came to an end. It came during the end of my almost one-year dedication. I remember that day clearly, when the gong bath was over, I knew within my heart that what I had come for, I had received. I felt that something had healed within my being. I can’t name what the something is, but it was a feeling of wholeness. Yes, I was still heartbroken over my break-up but something deeper and more profound within my being had healed. And I felt more secure and stronger within myself. This is my experience with the gongs.
Sarah writes about her dedication to gongs – I believe it was first a dedication to herself that happened to be facilitated by my gong baths. Scheduling time to attend a session, to claim an evening to relax, settle down, to ramble with hidden emotions – that requires a lot of self-love and self-compassion, and water-tight boundaries regarding one’s personal right to downtime.What a beautiful way to take care of yourself in this crazy beautiful city that we love and live in!Read about gong baths, what to expect post-session and frequently asked questions in my previous articles, and join one of my weekly sessions in Shanghai to discover your own bliss!