The Secret of Playing the GONG
While the Gong is in some ways one of the most welcoming instruments to learn how to play, the secret to playing it well for healing and therapy depends upon our understanding of how the mind works in relation to sound.
The human mind creates an experience of the environment through contrasts: Is it cool or warm? Is it light or dark? Loud or quiet? It is only through the contrast of polarities that the mind can experience variations in the environment and notice the shift in perception.
Similarly, the mind works to create recognizable patterns and to identify recurring themes as it categorizes and builds ways of understanding itself and the outer environment.
This continual organization and reorganization of our inner and outer reality is based upon the ability to recognize patterns and then learn by contrasting the polarities that compose them. In art for example, a pattern of recognition is established through composition and then contrasted through various tones, colors and shades.
For example, a surrealistic painting by an artist like Salvador Dali when viewed for the first time challenges our previous way of patterning, or recognizing, a painting due to its radical new way of contrasting various elements. At the moment that the pattern is “broken,” we are forced to re-create a new sense of the outer reality that is being presented to us. Similarly, a person who has only heard classical music performed undergoes a complete musical re-patterning when they hear jazz for the first time.
In the same way, the gong also challenges our sense of self and our inner reality when the gong player skillfully weaves into a pattern a multiplicity of tones and contrasts that inverts the mind and forces a reorganization of how we experience sound and sound patterns.
Consequently, playing the gong requires an ability to create therapeutic patterns of mallet strikes that are contrasted by varying the rhythm and the volume. It is the playing pattern that holds the mind and it is the contrasts that causes the mind to change and thus therapeutically transform.
Simply put, when you play the gong loudy, you must also play it softly. When you play the gong quickly, you must also play it slowly.
It is in the skillful varying of the volume and the rhythm during a gong session that can create a therapeutic change in the mind and body of the listener.
Playing the gong can be simple, yet it becomes simply wonderful when we learn to play it therapeutically!
Full Moon GONG Relaxation