The Myth of the Two Week Master
There's a lot of discussion about alternative therapies, including sound, on Facebook and other places. The value of such practices is often questioned, with many people calling out various sources of energy healing as bogus, because there is no empirical data, or scientific proof that it really works. It doesn't help that there are a lot of people claiming to be trained in various therapies, who are not really trained at all. Unfortunately, this reflects badly on the people who are genuinely gifted and highly trained.
From a friend, Elham Kashefi, in England, who is doing some wonderful work and has a strong background—a PhD in Health Research. She posted this on Facebook:
“This is what's wrong with the 'complementary medicine' field:
"I qualified as a crystal therapist in January 2010 and as a Crystal Master Teacher in November 2011."
How do you become a Master [of] anything in one year? And how do you 'qualify' as a Master?
This is madness. I think we should challenge all such labels and pretensions everywhere we find them.”
I have to agree with Elham. There are a lot of things out there that say you can be "certified" in just one session. How many times have I seen advertisements to become a "Certified Reiki Master Healer" in just one weekend session. What sort of experience can you get in one weekend? How can you be prepared to help others with no practical experience?
The same holds true for people wanting to work with sound, be it Gongs, Singing Bowls, Bells, Drums, Tuning Forks, etc.
Just because you bought a Gong 2 weeks ago, doesn't mean you should be presenting Gong Sessions to the public!
While I do present workshops, and teach privately, I never tell anyone after one session, “Go and heal the world.” That would be irresponsible. I do tell them that this is the start of a lifelong journey. I also give them resources to explore where they can start to learn more. But it is up to them to seek the knowledge, find it, and learn it.
There is a YouTube video I was pointed at a few weeks ago. It is of a woman presenting a Gong session in what appears to be some sort of Buddhist Temple here in the West. The video runs just over 19 minutes. She plays 3 Paiste Gongs. Besides lacking any sort of technique, what she does is just awful—it is noise. Now I usually don't judge what others do, but she is playing to a room full of people and the sounds she makes are horrible. Someone I know of, and have immense respect for, even commented, “This is painful.” I have to agree.
From the National Museum of Finland.
If we look at traditional societies in the past, to become a Shaman, Medicine Wo/Man, or other such healer/seer, you had to spend years of apprenticeship with someone who was already an experienced Shaman, etc. (a good example is the series of books by Carlos Casteneda, about his apprenticeship with the Yaqui Indian Sorcerer, Don Juan). As an apprentice, you had to learn to identify specific plants, know where to find them, and know what ailments they could help. You had to learn about the spirit world and how to travel there. You had to learn about your people, your community. You had to both learn about and participate in rituals, ceremonies, healing, and other activities. And finally, afters years and years of hard work, you had to earn the trust of your people before you could assume your role as Shaman or Medicine Wo/Man. This was no 2 week, 2 month, or even 2 year journey.
So if you are interested in using Gongs or other instruments for sound therapy of some type, please find someone to study with, and do your homework. There is also a lot of good knowledge out there (books, websites, scholarly papers, etc.) that can be found. And realize that it will take years just to get acquainted with things. There is no quick path. You have to be in it for the duration, which is really life long.
Chop Wood | Carry Water | Play Gongs