Too Much Gong? Maybe!
Can we ever get too much gong? No, no, you cry. We love the gong. Please gong us.
If not too much, then how much gong? Is it like a great meal, a great yoga class, or great sex? Do you really want it to go on for hours? (Well maybe).
But actually there does seem to be an optimum time for extended gong relaxation or therapy sessions when the gong is played, and the answer comes from my teacher Yogi Bhajan, the master of Kundalini Yoga and the Gong.
Yogi-ji (as he is known by his students) had an impeccable sense of timing when it came to teaching Kundalini Yoga (or White Tantra when he taught it in person). He simply taught until the aura of the group energy changed to a royal blue or gold. It might be several minutes (or in the case of the early Tantra practices, more than an hour), but there was a time limit.
And in most of the kriyas taught by Kundalini Yoga teachers, there are suggested maximum times for exercises and meditations.
Did he ever have a maximum time for playing the gong?
If we look at the kriyas he taught with the gong, particularly the Rebirthing classes in which the gong was used extensively throughout the class, the total time of playing the gong for the students never exceeded 35 minutes.
There is one Kundalini kriya in which the gong was to be played for 45 minutes. But I have not been able to locate any other kriyas taught by Yogi Bhajan in which the 45-minute time limit was exceeded or recommended.
Interestingly enough, one of the original students taught by Yogi Bhajan to use the gong related a story in which Yogi-ji said you could heal almost anything if you played the gong for 45 minutes at a loud tone for ten days in a row!
That’s almost 8 hours total of gonging but it was done over a 10-day period and not at once.
Evidently there is something in the human psyche that takes no longer than 45-minutes of gong playing to affect. Can you play longer than that?
As Yogi Bhajan has said about playing the gong, “you can do anything you want.” When a student once asked him, “Can you sleep with the gong?” And again he replied, “you can do anything you want.”
But you should know why you want to do it.
My Favorite 28” Gong … This Month!
Every gong is different and it isn’t easy to say that you have a favorite gong. But for fun, I’d like to use this column to explore (almost every month), my favorite gong based purely on its size. To keep this a manageable column, I’m also going to limit this only to the Paiste gongs which are most commonly used by the students I teach. So please forgive me if your favorite gong is missing as there are dozens of other gong makers who have produced quite amazing gongs in the sizes we are looking at. I have to start somewhere and in several months (or years) we can work around to all the others!
So keeping in mind that we are only looking at 28” size Paiste gongs, which is my favorite?
Here are our three candidates for the 28” Paiste Gong contest: 28” Symphonic, Jupiter Planetary Gong, and Earth Sidereal Day Gong. The 28” Symphonic Gong marks the transition from the smaller to the mid-size symphonic gongs. You can consider it to be the largest of the small Symphonics (20” to 28”) or the smallest of the mid-size range (28” to 34”).
As such, the 28” Symphonic has the best of both size ranges: easy to transport and economical (a great travel gong) yet able to produce the larger sounds associated with the symphonic gongs and also stable enough to be played by beginners. It is a good place to begin with a symphonic if you are considering ease and economy. That leaves us with the two 28” planetary gongs: Jupiter and Earth Sidereal Day gongs. I love everything about Jupiter in general: expansive, prosperous, and spiritual. The planet of the teacher, dharma, and foreign travel, we can all use a little more of the benefic Jupiter energy in our lives. It seems like a no-brainer – get a Jupiter gong.
But… the strangely named Earth Sidereal Day gong has some amazing properties which may be overlooked in the confusion around its name and its purpose. Tuned to the daily rotation of the earth around its axis, it is in some ways the most “mundane” of all the gongs. It rules our daily lives, affairs, and rhythms, from sunrise to sunset to sunrise. It is our “daily gong”, and like our “daily bread,” there is a sustaining energy to this gong for all earthlings. And speaking of sustaining, the Earth Sidereal Day gong is tuned to balancing the energy of the First chakra, keeping us grounded and connected to our home and surroundings.