Gong Baths – No Clothes, No Problem?
Why do people call gong healing experiences Gong Baths? In my experience so far, everyone seems to be wearing clothes.
I suppose the “bath” name began with sound healers in the 1970s who coined the term sound bath to describe the “waves of sound” their singing bowls created that “cleansed the listener, much like bathing in water.”
Gong players adopted “sound bath” to “gong bath,” and now we have a widely used term that I fear is misleading to both participants and players.
The word “bath” implies a passive state. All you need to do is show up and lie around and maybe even fall asleep.
And nothing is wrong with doing nothing – but rather than settling for a bath, why don’t we offer and expect more?
A gong relaxation, a gong journey, a gong therapy session, or whatever we wish to call it, can be a profound transformational experience. We all know that.
However, for any transformation to be authentic the participant actually needs to participate. Contrast the “high” obtained after a good yoga class or deep meditation with a drug high and you can understand what I mean.
Similarly, listening to and playing the gong also requires the full engagement and presence of both the player and the participants to realize its transformational results.
Not that I object to anyone who wants to fall asleep – happy you finally get to relax! But listening to the Gong is like listening to music in a concert or watching a movie. It’s so much better when you are awake and involved in the ongoing experience of the sound.
This can happen when preparation can be done before the gong experience – some yoga, breathing, stretching, chanting, prayer, or meditation. In this way, there is an opening of the pranic energy flow throughout the body so healing can more easily occur.
And then, when we are relaxing and the gongs begin to play, a connection with the sound is made by the listener through breath awareness, visualization, affirmation, silent mantra, proper body positions, and mudras.
The idea is that we approach the gong as an instrument of personal transformation that requires a mutual participation that requires directed awareness and consciousness by both the listener and the player.
Words do have power and perhaps we may wish to better describe what we are hoping to accomplish when we play or listen to a gong,
And, if you do want to give me a real gong bath, please fill up the hot tub and I will show up in my swimsuit.
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