World Observatory

The Gongs are very much like antennas: they both transmit and receive energy/information. Even when they are not being played, they are receiving vibrations from the world around them. They can also pick up on the intent of the player, be it positive or negative. That is why I always take care as to who can play my Gongs. Out of respect, I also don't just play another's Gongs without knowing them and receiving permission.

Think of them also as portals to other realms. Those of you who play them know what I mean, know how yourself, and others, can be transported to different places. Much like a Shaman's drum, they can take us through the various layers of existence. Time can also be shifted to the point where it does not exist. How many people have remarked at the end of a Meditation or healing session that they thought you had just started!

It is also possible to energize your Gongs with Reiki and other such energy practices. This can change both how they sound, and how they react to your touch.

Where have your Gongs taken you, and what have they told you?

~ MB

Chop Wood | Carry Water | Play Gongs


  1. Last year I attended Dr. Mitch Nur's Gong Camp. Well I need to back up a bit and really start from the beginning... I have been following him loosely over the years trying to find time to attend one of his many workshops. So in July of 2013, I attended part one of his 12 day Singing Bowl Mastery Workshop. But this discussion is not about the bowls or the workshop, what it is about is Gongs!

    At the Workshop there was a series of custom, handmade Antique Singing Bowl Gongs. What this mean is the gongs were made from re-purposed damaged/ broken singing bowls of various ages (16th-19/20th century). The ghuli or metal formula was not a modern day standard. The bowls came from all over the Himalaya's and ended up in a "secret" factory in Nepal.

    In addition, these special gongs were commissioned from a leading sacred statuary maker in Nepal. He forged these gongs in his "spare time" between making statues for the various temples around the country. So in short it took several years for these gongs to appear on the market.

    Dr. Mitch had six of them at the workshop (4) 28" Chau (Tam-Tam) style and (2) 40" Chau (Tam-Tam). One 40" was sold before we even attended the workshop, the other still there was beyond my price range. The (4) 28" gongs still were no cheap, but with some doing could be gotten (new credit cards always help).

    So now you have the background of where I am going with this. So for 8 days I would late at night and very early in the morning I would go down to the studio to play these gongs. I was staying upstairs on an apartment during my time there. Now other people were sleeping in the other apartments so I was very quiet or as quiet as you can be playing a gong. I was using various mallets mostly the Mike Balter Marimba mallets. The about the fifth day the gongs started to speak to me.

    It seems they were waiting to be woken up. Waiting for the right person or situation to fully open up. There were two gongs that i focused on. One had an etching of a Conch shell in the center. The other was a Mandala. The conch shell gong on that morning started to open up. I was playing softly with the harder of the mallets I was using.

    All of a sudden it started to growl at me. So I backed off a bit because I was a bit startled. Then I leaned into it, my face was within inches of the gong and I was tapping slowly and lightly. It growled some more. Then I had this vision of an ancient Bengal Tiger leaping out of the gong and standing there on all fours snarling and hungry, looking for something to eat. I wasn't sure if it wanted me or I was controlling it but there it was.

    I stopped playing sat back and I guess meditated a bit. Then I went back to the gong again, this time after a few minutes a large snake or dragon like snake uncoiled from the gong and started to warp itself around me. It gave me a gentle squeeze but nothing that hurt. It was fascinating.

  2. Part 2:

    I had to stop shortly after that because morning meditation/ singing bowl playing was about to start. So I left the gong in the stand and waited till later... Later on I replaced that gong with the Mandala gong. Now this one was very much different. Again I started to play slowly and lightly using the Mike Balter mallets.

    This time it took a little longer before the gong spoke to me but when it did he is what I saw (vision). At first I saw these enormous wooden doors like old temple doors with huge iron hinges and handles. The doors had the large metal band across the top and bottom to hold the door together. They were at least 20 feet tall and they were closed.
    As I played, the doors opened up, but not to a temple, but to the outside world, to a forest lush, dense and green. I could smell the dampness and hear the dripping of the water off the leaves. I could see a path which I started to follow, no guides no one else but me. So I took the path.
    I could feel the leaves brush against my face as I worked my way through the forest. I continued playing the gong. The gong was now my guide. As I played, I looked down. I saw that the path was moss covered cobblestones. It started to lead me up a mountain (to the left). I remember slipping a bit and looking down. There was no guard rail, just a long, long way down, no limits, and no end in sight. I kept going.
    Again as before with the other gong, I was playing low and steady. My head was almost right on top of the gong surface. I was feeling it more than hearing it. It was taking me with it; it was showing me the way. It was not going to let me stay behind, it wanted me to go forward. I pressed on.
    I kept climbing that mountain, that forest winding around and around till I reached the top. When I got there I found a door, but not in the side of the mountain, more like in the air. I can’t really describe the door except I knew it was another door. So I opened it, I stepped in though it and then I saw blackness, an emptiness I have never seen or felt before.

  3. Frank, thanks for sharing your experience. I'm familiar with those Gongs Mitch had made. I think reusing the old metal is a great idea. The Gamelan makers in Java/Indonesia will often recast the metal from old, broken Gongs into new ones.

    "It seems they were waiting to be woken up. Waiting for the right person or situation to fully open up." Yes, I have found this with all new Gongs I get. They need to be played. You need to learn how they respond. They need to learn your touch. You need to bond with the Gong's Spirit. The Gong in the photo up above is one such Gong. This was made for me by Michael Paiste in Switzerland. While I liked it upon receiving it, I struggled with it. Sometimes I didn't like it very much, but I kept playing it. Then while on a concert tour, it opened up and the sound became magical. I was so amazed I actually called Michael up after the performance to tell him how much I loved the Gong!

    ~ MB


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