The Art of The Practice

Being one with the sound. Losing yourself in the vibrations. These are noble aspirations, but are they practical and attainable? Yes, you can find a way to merge with the sound. In this blog post, we will look at various steps to deepen your practice of playing Gongs/Bowls/Bells, whether for yourself, or for others.


It all starts with the breath. While breathing is perfectly natural, when we are often trying to do something, it becomes unnatural. I have found that many times when a student is trying to accomplish something new or difficult, the first thing they do is hold their breath, or at least alter their breathing pattern. The minute you hold your breath, you introduce tension into your body. The longer you hold your breath, the more the tension builds up, until you finally have to quickly suck in another breath, and then the whole process starts over.

Before you start your practice, relax and take a deep breath. Let it out fully and then take another. As you let each breath out, let your tensions, worries, and monkey mind go out with the breath. And most importantly, let go of any expectations you may have. Keep breathing like this until you are ready to play.

Letting Go

Goals, expectations, destinations, these are all fine to have, but when you enter your practice, they often become distractions. Monkey mind will be chattering, How far have we gone?, or, How far do we have to go yet? This is living in the past, or living in the future, and neither one of those exist. You live in the moment. Let go of all expectations.

Be Present

The moment. The now. This is all that exists for each of us. While we can yearn for a future, yearn for a goal or destination, we cannot touch it or experience it, we can only experience what is here and now. Don't let yourself get caught up in the past or future at the expense of the now. Let yourself go and be in the moment. Feel your breathing. Feel your heart beat. Feel your surroundings. The more you are in the moment, the more you can experience the vibrations.

Be Open

Along with letting go, be open for whatever presents itself. Again, if you have no expectations, then you allow things to happen. Listen to the sound. Follow the sound. I am often surprised by the sounds that emanate from my instruments. They make me smile and whisper in my ear, “Come with me.” They are sounds that I would not consciously make if I was focused on a specific destination. And because of that, they take me to realms I never would have discovered.

Be Joyful

You play the Gong. No one says, “I work the Gong.” It is a joy to enter the vibrations and lose yourself. It is joyful to play for others and share this feeling. Be joyful, be grateful. 

Keep Breathing

Keep breathing. If you get tired, or stressed, or lose focus, come back to the breath. This has saved me many times. And not just in playing Gongs, but in life. Breathe consciously. Breathe with a focus and clarity. When you are having problems, check your breath. Proper breathing helps align us physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Don't forget to breath.

~ MB

Chop Wood / Carry Water / Play Gongs™


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