Into The Silence…

Trust. Trust is important, but not always easy. It takes years of both work and practice, to reach a point where you trust yourself, trust your instruments, trust the sounds. We live in a society that values both instant gratification, and constant change. In dealing with the Gongs/Bowls/Bells, that sort of attitude is against what I do. There is a learning curve that needs to be followed.

Silence. It used to be a way of life. You lived off the land, out in the middle of the country, and the sounds you heard were the wind blowing through the trees, birds and animals, the water of a river or lake moving, thunder and storms. Much of the time there was very little sound, or at least very quiet, minimal background noises. Today, things are so much different. There is a constant barrage of sounds, mostly from our devices. They beep, hum, ring, and create all types of sounds. We hear the ongoing traffic, the AC, the TV & radio, all of our appliances. Even when we sleep, there are still machines operating that make sounds. Unless we live far away from any city, in near isolation, we can't get away from these sounds.

And this has changed us, changed the way we hear things and react to our world. For some of us, the thought of actual, real, deep silence is frightening. 

What will we do without our sounds? 

They surround us and give us comfort. How many of you have put the TV or radio on, just to have some sound in the background, so the house or office doesn't feel so empty? This is our modern society—a fear of silence, a fear of being alone.

                            This space of time                  is organized
                                       We need not fear these silences,—
                            we may love them
                            ~ John Cage 

But if you embrace the silence, you will find something extraordinary. You will find yourself. You are never alone. You are always with yourself. But we have been lured away from entering into this silence, this state of being with oneself.

When you are playing the Gong, you need to embrace the silence. You need to trust it, and yourself. Because on the other side of silence is a chance to experience so much more. So play your Gong (or Bowl, or Bell), let it ring out, let it fade away. And resist the temptation to jump right in and strike it again! Wait. Wait a little longer. Go with the uncomfortable feeling that something, some sound, should be happening. Go with it and look inside yourself. Wait a little longer, then play another note. And if you are playing for others, and they trust you, they will follow you into the silence.

Embrace the silence…

~ MB

Chop Wood | Carry Water | Play Gongs

Photo © 2014 Michael Bettine


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