Learning To get Out Of The way

I always tell people that what I do is not about me, as I am merely the portal that brings the vibrations through. And in saying so, one of the most difficult things I had to learn was to just get out of the way, and let those vibrations through.

I presented 2 amazing Sound Sessions this past Sunday. They were both extraordinary, as they were at a different, higher level. I think most musicians and Sound Therapists would say that their performances/sessions are all good, but once in a while that special one comes along, where you transcend everything that has come before. This was one (or should I say, 2) of those moments.

I always do a Q&A session afterwards so people can ask questions about what just transpired, ask about the instruments, and most importantly, share their own experiences. Sunday, after both sessions, we had long conversations about everything. And people shared some amazing and deeply moving experiences. Because I'm in the midst of channeling things, I always wonder if the people laying/sitting there are getting what I'm getting. I'm always in the deep end of things, where I've learned to expect anything to happen. For me, it's always a deeply mystical experience. But what about everyone else? Judging by the comments yesterday, most, if not everyone got it, and got it at the same deep level I felt it. 

One of the comments went something like this, “I loved how you took time to build it up. I've been to other Gong sessions where they just jumped right in and started banging.” As I related to them, it took me a long time to reach that level. It's a level of trust—trusting myself, trusting the sounds & silence, and trusting that the people will come along with it all. When I first started doing this, I was much busier. I also didn't leave much room for silence. I think this was from being a drummer. Because as a drummer, you are always playing, always making a sound, and always pushing things forward. So in coming to working with the Gongs/Bowls/Bells, I brought that idea with me. 

Thinking back, my earlier sessions were noisier. I didn't trust enough, so I was always filling the space with sounds—and a lot of big sounds. It took time for me to learn to trust, to just let the sounds be, and let the silence enter into things. This was not easy. I would be thinking, “If I don't play a sound, they will become bored.” But I gradually got over this, little by little, by inviting the silence in. And no one complaimed. In fact, they liked it. So I invited more silence in.


Alan Watts - The Game of Black & White

I'm a big admirer of the late Alan Watts, and he told interesting an story called, The Game of Black and White. To paraphrase it, Watts says that, “without black, how does white know what it is, and vice versa.” In this Universe we need the duality—yin & yang— of all things to allow us to know each side. Thus for me, if all I do is make sounds, after a while it loses its meaning, because it is just sound. But when I introduce silence into the mix, and then play a sound, we can now go, “Oh, there is a sound.” and later, “There is a silence.” So we know each of them and how they compliment each other.

And so I learned to invite the silence in. I will often play a Gong or Bowl and wait until I can barely hear it vibrating (in my close proximity) before I bring forth another sound. And I am doing this slow pacing of things for longer periods of time. Then I will bring in sustained sounds and bigger washes of sounds later, as a sort of climax, and then recede into the silence once again.

But all this didn't just happen at once. It took me years of working with the sounds, and with people, to learn this level of trust. 


If I trust myself and the sounds, others will trust it also.

In conclusion, as I've stated many times previously, when you buy a Gong/Bowl/Bell, you need to work with it. You need to play and play and play. You need to understand how each individual instrument works and responds to your touch. You need to put your time in before you can expect things to happen.

There are no short cuts.

Do the work.

Do your practice.

I still am, and I learn new things everyday.


~ MB


Chop Wood | Carry Water | Play Gongs






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