Walking The Path
The Myth of the Two Week Master - Part 3 - Walking The Path
You start where you are.
Please realize that you don't have to be into Yoga, or Pilates, or religion, or have a guru, or meditate, or chant, or believe in any sort of new age woo woo stuff. You just have to be you and have a desire to both learn and communicate—and you have to realize there is no easy, or short, path to follow.
First thing: Sit in a quiet room and just play your Gong/Bowl/Bell. That's it. No expectations. No agenda. Just play it and listen to the sound. Listen to how the sound affects you, both on a physical level, and on a spiritual level. When you play it, what does it do to you? Ask yourself this question. Also listen to how the sound affects the room. Play in one place, then move to another. Play in the corner. Play in the center of the room. Play sitting by the floor. Play standing holding your instrument higher. Listen. Listen again. Listen to how the sound changes and how the changing sound affects you in different ways. Is there a particular spot in the room that resonates with you, where you feel the vibrations the best? This is the sweet spot. You may like to make it the place you use all the time for playing/listening/feeling.
Second: Keep doing this every day for weeks, for months, for years. Realize that you don't have to play loudly, or fast. Find a natural rhythm, like striking again after the sounds fades away, and keep going.
Play. Listen. Feel. Repeat.
Pay attention how the sound changes over time (and it will). Pay attention to how you feel and respond to the vibrations over time (you most definitely will). Pay attention to how you develop a relationship with your instrument/s as you become more proficient at playing them. There is a spirit inside each instrument that you will learn to release. You might even want to keep a journal to record your experiences.
It's important to realize, and remember, that you are creating a Sacred Space with your vibrations. You should feel comfortable, safe, relaxed—this is the type of environment you will want others to feel. Again, don't have any expectations or agenda for something to happen other than creating a Sacred Space. Once this environment is present, things can happen. As the Gong/Bowl/Bell player, all you are doing is creating this space so that people can have their own experiences.
This also holds true if you are playing for Yoga, Reiki, massage, guided meditation, or Yoga Nidra—you are creating a Sacred Space for these other activities to be in.
Third: Do your home work! You need to seek out information and learn all you can. I would heartily recommend starting with Frank Perry's excellent book, Himalayan Sound Revelations. Frank is one of the true Masters of the Singing Bowls, as well as Bells and Gongs. He's been working with them for over 40 years. Also check out his many wonderful YouTube videos at Mountain Bell Music. He has both performance and instructional ones.
Here are some other great books to search for:
- The Healing Power of the Gong by Johannes Heimrath (Out of print, but pops up on Ebay and used book stores).
- Fire and Steel by Steve Hubback. Steve is a Gong maker and a Shamanic musician. This is his story.
- The Cosmic Octave by Hans Cousto. Hans came up with the Planetary tunings that are used for both Tuning Forks & Gongs.
- Healing Sounds: The Power of Harmonics by Jonathan Goldman. He is one of the pioneers in using vocal toning for sound healing. Check out his other books & recordings.
- Cymatics: A Study of Wave Phenomena & Vibration by Hans Jenny. He pioneered studying the visual side of sound by developing a series of experiments using powders and liquids that were activated by sound waves to produce the beautiful patterns of their vibrations.
- by Joachim-Ernst Berendt. A European jazz musician travels the world exploring the effects of sound.
This is just a sample of the many books out there. These will refer and lead you to others. It is up to you to follow the path and find your own way.
The internet, and You Tube in particular, are a great resource for learning. The only thing to watch for is that as many excellent videos as are posted, there seems to be as many bad videos. Besides the afore mentioned Frank Perry, here are some people/videos to check out:
- Steve Hubback
- Jonathan Goldman
- Don Conreaux
- Mitch Nur
- Kimberlee Moore
- Jens Zygar
- Sheila Whittaker
- Aidan McIntyre
Again, this is just a starting place. These videos will lead you to others by people who have worked with, or trained with everyone listed.
You can even check out my various videos at GONGTOPIA.
Next week, Part 4 - Walking The Path, Experiencing The Path
Chop Wood | Carry Water | Play Gongs