The Power of the Gong
By Alison Finney
The gong is very simple. It is an inter-vibratory system. It is the sound of Creativity itself. The gong is nothing more, nothing less. 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.
– Yogi Bhajan
The gong has been used for thousands of years as an important a tool for healing and meditation. When you experience a Gong Meditation, you can expect to do a few relaxing breathing exercises to open the body’s chakras (energy centers), and then comfortably recline to your mat or a chair or sit in a meditative posture. The Gong playing begins. At first you hear the soft throaty Gong sounds and as you listen carefully, you become aware of the many tones within one sound. The sounds develop and wash over and around you to vibrate all of the body’s cells. The waves of sound carry your body and mind to a feeling of peace and connectedness.
But how is this possible?
Let’s first look at the gong itself. Typically, a gong is a hammered round metal disk. The surface is usually flat and slightly rounded at the edge. The surface of the gong has three areas and each area produces a different sound when played. The gong is played with a mallet and struck at various percussion points with a variety of rhythms to create specific effects.
One of the significant features of the gong is the sound it produces.
Playing the gong is an art because the gong is not like playing a drum or any other musical instrument. The gong is a vibration. It’s like playing hundreds of notes at the same time. As the gong is played, it produces a note against a background of other notes. Each note interacts with the next note and they change each other. This creates a complex pattern of sounds that you feel in your body when you listen to the gong.
The entire body vibrates and changes as the gong is played. In our body there are 72,000 nerves that send energy throughout our bodies to shape us physically, emotionally and mentally. Specific areas of the body and mind are stimulated by the vibration waves of the gong.
For example, the sound waves can stimulate the glandular system to a higher level of functioning because the vibration causes all of the cells of the body to move and to release blockages.
The gong also has a profound effect on the mind. The gong is the only instrument against which the mind has no defense! The sound waves help to open the subconscious mind to a meditative state. The mind naturally releases with the gong. It takes only 3 to 90 seconds for the gong to have an affect on the mind. Then we have the opportunity to expand our own psyche to new aspects of our selves and the world around us.
The sound of the gong also projects to all of the chakras (energy centers) and can be used as a powerful instrument to open and balance the chakras. Certain areas of the gong relate to different chakras. When these areas are played the chakras become more responsive and therefore opened and balanced. The gong helps the chakras to communicate, coordinate and move more freely. With sensitivity you can feel this in your body when you listen to the gong.
The sound of the gong creates deep relaxation. It releases you from your thoughts. Nothing compares to the gong’s ability to create sound that brings us to a state of harmony.
Alison Finney is a certified Hatha and Kundalini yoga teacher in Ottawa, Canada. She is registered with the Yoga Alliance and the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association and is the founder of PranaShanti, a health and yoga resource. Private gong meditations are also available. For more information, visit www.pranashanti.com.