Stress plays a game of dominos in our bodies by knocking out your nervous system, immune system and on and on until the body can no longer cope! We all know this story pretty much either by experience or the constant research on this topic. This is where we all panic and begin to take the slippery road towards dis-ease in the body and unless you find your “way back” it leads to disease in the body. Chinese Medicine believes that all disease stems from an imbalance in the energy fields of the body, something I firmly believe, from my own experiences.
It is so important to rest and relax! We were designed to have stress in our lives, but if you have stress, it is vital that we have REST after that stress to enable to the body to return to its natural rhythm. Our bodies are NOT designed to run on continual stress modes, even if we believe that we “can manage”. The idea of managing is a sure sign of the ego speaking. It is in this toxic mix of misunderstanding signs from the body and the pressures of our society that we begin to deny the body and selves.
Is it possible to relax in today’s lifestyle? Yes it is possible.
I have found that the most effective, immediate and lasting way to do that is through the sacred science of sound.
As we know when stress becomes a Way of Life - something that we learn to just deal with, it very quickly undermines all our bodies systems. If we don’t pay attention to the rest that the body needs after stress, then we deny ourselves. When we are stressed the parasympathetic (relax mode) of the nervous system becomes stuck in the sympathetic mode (fight or flight). Many of us know the results of these debilitating conditions of insomnia, frustration, anger, feelings of overwhelm, and the list goes on.
Anything you do to help the body relax is a move in the right direction. It will take understanding and patience to bring your body back into a “default” setting of neutral. It is important to know that our bodies are always in a state of flux. We will always go from highs to lows, and back up again. That is the way nature evolves around us, we are all connected, and so we too evolve through this constant construct of polarities.
If we are able to find our way back to a state of calmness then the signals we send our body to relax becomes easier, when we know the path back. Many of the issues we have, revolve around the fact that because our nervous systems are in a state of constant “go”, we now have developed a “groove” or “loop” default that just keeps us in the fast lane of stress. This is where it is very difficult to find our way back to health and healing.
Enter the cause and effect of sound, coherent (is the quality of forming a unified whole) and or dissonant (which is the lack of harmony).
SOUND - MEDICINE OF THE 21ST CENTURY is the “green” light back to health
We live in a sea of energy, energy vibrates… I first became enamoured of sound when I began my Yoga Teacher training in 2007. One of the women doing the yoga course with me, was already a Gongmaster and she would usually bring one of her gongs to training, and we would be lucky enough to receive a gong bath at the end of many a very long day. To be able to lay down after a day filled with study and activities, requiring our full attention, and on the very first strike of the gong to be able to relax, release and for me especially to sleep so well in the evenings was indeed an amazing achievement. I was hooked and vowed I would own a gong some day and use it for healing on my next step on the spiritual path of teaching. Several of the teachers back then also used a gong in their classes.
I did indeed get my first gong and several more after that, and then went through many years of training. During one of the trainings, with Grand Gongmaster, Don Conreaux (USA), there were 40 teachers going through at the time, and we did an all-night puja. That involved bringing our mats, pillows, blankets and all our comforts so we could sleep while the gongs played all night. There were 16 gongs, divided into 8 gongs at one end of the hall and 8 at the other end, but both playing simultaneously. We each of us 40 teachers, got to play throughout the night. You had a schedule, whereby you were awoken by the “next-up” player, and then you would wake the next person who was due after you. Another person would be making sure it all ran smoothly. Those 16 gongs played all night from 9 pm to 6a.m. I have never slept so well, and as luck would have it, I was scheduled to be the last player, which gave me an uninterrupted sleep. The most unexpected side effect was that for 30 some days after, my energy was still running so high that I felt as though I was plugged into an electrical outlet. Also the added bonus of deep peace, deep sleep patterns re-established, and a general tonic of well-being are the side effects of this amazing coherent tone. This is optimal healing at its best. If you get the opportunity to do this I can highly recommend it.
I have seen so many people since my training began, who have had amazing results with gong therapy, gong baths, sound immersions that I know this is indeed a very beautiful nurturing and gentle healing modality where the body is given the opportunity to disconnect, and allow itself to go into the Alpha / Theta stages of sleep, that have become so affected by our stressful lives, that the body no longer has the opportunity of optimal healing anymore. Of course, each and every gong immersion, gong bath etc., is never the same. The body’s needs and energies are always different, and the gongs always play differently. No matter how many times I myself play, or have had the blessing to receive from a fellow Gongmaster, these baths, are unique to that moment and place in time. The gongs play to the individual’s needs at that time, this is the beauty of sound. Sound baths of 45 minutes are and can create optimal healing in that time.
HOW SOUND WORKS within us
As a Sensory Being we vibrate the cosmic energy of the harmonious universe. It is through sound that this cosmic vibration happens. Sound is a frequency of vibration. The entire universe was built on sound, on vibration. It is said, that God spoke, and the world came into being.
The higher the frequency, the less dense, and more etheric (some might call this state “heavenly”) we become. The quality of the vibration we hear & speak affects every aspect of our mind & body systems.
Why are vibrations so important? If we are in LOW frequency, whether that be from external sources, or whether it is coming from our own thoughts and action, (however, the law of what is within, is around you, guides us at all times) Like attracts like creating our daily routine in LOW vibration energy. A little like a battery on low energy, which is exactly what we become. I’m sure many of us have felt those days. Vibration = the electrical charge in your body and cells (the very food of your cells). If you are running on LOW (energy) you have to make a conscious effort to switch your vibrational level so that your thoughts and actions reflect what you need to give yourself to have a HIGH vibrational charged day. Conversely when you vibrate at higher energy levels – that will be reflected in your outer world bringing more high energy or more of the same to you.
There is a vibratory frequency that corresponds to everything in the universe. When you vibrate a particular combination of sounds you tune into various levels of intelligence, or consciousness. Situations, people, and events respond to the signals you send out.
Vibrations directly affect the parasympathetic nervous system. Prolonged low vibrations leave the nervous system switched “ON”, causing the “burn-out” we are so familiar with. When we have high vibrations we actually work directly to turn that switch OFF, thus enabling us to get back to a normal functioning of each of the nervous systems in a balanced way, with immediate effects on the health of the body.
- HIGH frequency vibration = COHERENCE
- LOW frequency vibration = DISSONANCE
WHY THE GONG?
The Gong is the most resonant tone producing instrument known. When it vibrates you can sense musical reverberations within all the cells of the body. It produces long rolling waves of sustained tones called “holistic” that thicken the air around us, like an envelope.
Any instrument that vibrates with each and every element of its being to produce fundamental tones and overtones, is called wholism and it is also called an Idiophonic musical instrument. We are all IDIOPHONES! Because we vibrate with 72,000 strings. These strings or surs are made up of our meridian points within our holistic bodies! When we resonate this way we produce a cooperative effort between mind and spirit for a happy harmonic vibration. We are each our own orchestra. You have your own 72,000 strings plucked by the frequency of your speech and tone, and energy. (Your choice – high or low frequency)
This is how we create our own reality with the frequency of the vibrations we speak, emote and act out. Much of what we do and who we are, are patterns of behaviour we have developed over our lives. These patterns become the default of all our days. Knowing you can change your frequency by changing the vibrations around you by singing, dancing, doing compassionate deeds, loving all that is right and good etc., these are all HIGH vibration frequencies, we allow those vibrations to nourish our cells and systems of our body with healing energy. The anger, frustration, and feelings of overwhelm, all LOW vibration frequencies etc. will gradually change into new positive high vibrational life-long patterns, if we so choose. Learning to flow with life and getting back to our natural rhythms is vital. This is where the sacred Gongs play a huge role. All coherent (whole) sounds will entrain (incorporate and merge), body, mind and soul.
A Gong Immersion is an experience in which the sacred and psychoacoustic healing sounds of the gongs, bathe the participants with sustained waves of sound. A Gong Immersion does not require a specific belief structure or discipline of practice. All one needs to do is to be present, allowing the sound to bathe the body and carry the mind. The sounds of the gongs facilitate the movement of chi, balancing and toning the physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. With their ability to induce a spontaneous meditative space and the quieting of mental chatter, the gongs offer an opportunity for increased vitality, healing, expanded awareness and higher consciousness. The experience will show up in the manner in which it is specifically needed for each person, thus supporting that person’s individual process and healing potential.
What occurs in a total sound field is a beautiful patterned over-tonal chaos, similar to that found in the resonant, 4 cavities of the healthy heart muscle. This is why it is said that true living tones can only be felt in the heart. For a tone to be considered a living being, it must have the power of regeneration within in itself. The gong allows us to feel tactilely within the body, as the sound carries through the air, and travels over and through our skin, into our inner organs bones, nerves and brains. The gong produces a Total Field of Feeling Tones. It is an acoustic ocean sometimes called the healing fields in which holistic resonances are found. The gong is one of the oldest instruments of healing and has been used for thousands of years in meditation, ceremony and rituals. Today they are used in yoga and meditation classes, sound therapy practice, group gong bath meditations and in palliative and cancer treatment centers to promote health and well-being. They are also a wonderful addition at weddings, family celebrations, workshops, and music festivals.
The sounds, vibrations and harmonies produced during a sound session are absorbed and taken up by the water content in your body down to a cellular level restoring balance and helping you to release all the negativity - whatever no longer serves you. (Our bodies are highly crystalline, (and becoming more so), in nature and contain more than 75% water which is why it is so effective). This is why it is important to come to a session well-hydrated. After a gong bath/sound immersion, it is once again important to re-hydrate so that you can ground yourself, but more importantly so that the water helps the electricity in your cells to create higher vibrations.
The sound of these harmonic vibrations stimulates the alpha and theta brain waves associated with deep meditative and peaceful states that are highly conducive to healing. They also slow down the heart and respiratory rate, creating a therapeutic effect upon mind and body. When the brain waves and body are synchronised, balance can be restored and stress released.
Bottom Line is that once the parasympathetic nervous system is once again allowed to bring the body back to calm and peaceful, our immune system can then engage back towards health and vitality, more able to support the body once again. The overall health of our blood system is also enhanced and rejuvenated by gonging.
For example, the sound envelope of wooden blocks, one of the earliest primitive musical instruments, begins with a sharp attack as the blocks are clapped together and declines quickly as the sound dissipates almost immediately producing a characteristic brittle sound. The sound envelope of wind instruments begins with a soft attack as the breath is blown into the instrument and ends with a gradual decay as the breath of the performer fades away. Both types of instruments produce a sound decay that is linear and predictable to the ear.
The sound envelope of a gong, however, is unpredictable, non-linear and indeed trans-spatial. After the strike by the head of the mallet, the gong’s sound swells to an initial peak and begins to decay smoothly. After the first decay, however, the gong’s sound returns of its own accord without any additional attack and builds to a second and even higher sound peak before finally fading away. The gong’s sound envelope is like the delayed action of a wave that falls and then returns to an even higher level. This wave-like movement of peaks and valleys in the gong’s sound carries the listener farther and farther on a journey, much like the swelling tides of the ocean, always returning and building again and again.
EFFECT OF SOUND on Cancer cells
Studies show that that this practice, called “sound bathing,” directly reduces anxiety and depression; both are related to increases in disease. According to one study, “Sixty-two women and men with an average age of 50 reported significantly less tension, anger, fatigue, and depressed mood after sound sessions.”
“Cancer cells cannot maintain their structure when specific sound wave frequencies attack the cytoplasmic and nuclear membranes. When the vibratory rate increases, the cells cannot adapt or stabilise themselves and die by disintegrating and exploding.”
The visionary Rudolf Steiner said that “Pure tones will be used for healing before the end of the [20th] century. There are many, many studies underway today, & it should not be long before sound therapy technology is embraced by mainstream medicine as a powerful complementary therapy.”
Grand Gongmaster Don Conreaux has this to say -
“The secret of the gong is its tremendous potential for healing and rejuvenation. Because the gong covers the full spectrum of sound, it vibrates all the cells and bones and organs, some more than others, depending upon the pitch of the gong. You feel an influx of energy coming from it in your body as well as hear it.”
“The gong is more accurately a force of energy, like a divine engine, affecting the body's meridians. By and large, after it's over, you just feel great,” he says. “You feel like you've been healed by the spirit of nature. And the wonderful thing about it is that the instruments heal the player while the player is playing the instrument."
"We call it the Music of Wholeness,” Don explains. "Whereas a lot of modalities read your symptoms and approach the body according to your illness, holistic sound healing works differently from that. What we do is approach the body as if it were already whole and complete, then we fill that body with vibrations that emphasise wholeness and resonance, and whatever the problem, the sound will go to that place that needs it and the body will pull it in and the cells will begin to regain their highest potential of resonance.”
AUTHOR : Anna Maria Place
Gongmaster & Sound Healer
Sound Immersion & Resonance on the Tamar : 0431 434588
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