This Is A Lifelong Evolution

Instant gratification

We admittedly live in an era of instant gratification. With the internet, we have an instant connection to more information than anytime in history. Cell phones, tablets, computers—they all contact us to the world at large.

One of the advantages of this global communication is that we can take a lot of short cuts to get to where we want to be. If something breaks in my house, I can usually find a video on YouTube™ that will show me how to repair it. I don't have to study for years to become some sort of mechanic to fix it. But this also means that because I can watch and follow YouTube™ videos, that I'm NOT a qualified mechanic or repairman. 

Yes, I can follow a video for simple repairs. 

No, I can't just open something up, know what's wrong with it, and fix it.

Amateur vs Professional

As with anything in life, there is a process of learning you need to follow.

I see this in the Gong/Singing Bowl/Sound Healing area. Many people watch a few videos, play their Gongs, and think they have it down. But it's so much more than that. Let's look at a few examples of what we need to learn over time:
  • I've been studying and playing percussion for 50 years. I bet I can hear subtleties of sound and vibrations that you probably can't. I have worked to develop my ears and brain to tune into all the little sounds/vibrations, all the harmonics and overtones, all the different shades of sound that 99% of the people probably don't hear, or don't notice.
  • I've worked on my facility and technique with a wide array of instruments and mallets/sticks/strikers. I know what mallet to pick up to get whatever sound I have in my mind on all of my instruments.
  • When working with other instruments, I can match my unpitched (not tuned to the Western scale) instruments with their tuned instruments. No, I don't have perfect pitch, but I know all the sounds/pitches of my instruments, and I have a very strong sense of relative pitch, so I can match what notes other musicians are playing. I also have a very strong intuitive sense that helps me know what instrument/sound to pick at any given moment.
  • I'm always working to improve what I know and what I do. I push myself. I put myself in situations where I need to be on the top of my game. I work with other musicians who challenge me and my abilities. 
If I look back over my career—5, 10, 20 or more years—I can see an evolution of what I know and what I do. Even 5 years ago I wasn't doing what I am doing today. It's not just a technique thing, but it's also an idea thing. I think differently today than in the past. My accumulated knowledge and experience allows me to see what I do differently than in my past. But again, this is a continual evolution. And 5, 10 years from now, I'll be in a whole new space, making new music I've yet to think of.

But none of this is instant. It's taken my whole life to reach this point and to know what I know. A big part of this is the journey. I've enjoyed the journey to get here. If you take shortcuts, you miss the journey and miss gaining the lasting experience. 

So don't be in a hurry. 
Put in your time.
Work hard.
But savor the journey.

~ MB

Chop Wood / Carry Water / Play Gongs™


  1. Michael, this is the post I've been looking for! I am Gong Journeys Meditation I truly see all this as a journey and I love it!
    I'm putting in the time with Kenny Kolter every month. By the way I call myself a gong journeyman always a student.
    Thanks so much
    Osten Aune


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