The Sound of the Gong
Mehtab is the author of Gong Yoga, Teaching Gong Yoga, and Gong Therapy
The gong has been involved in every kind of human activity, from the earthly to the ethereal. In Buddhist monasteries, gongs call the attention of the gods. In ancient Greece, they open the realm of the dead. In Borneo, they are beaten to frighten away storms. In Ceram, gongs are given as wedding gifts. In Assam, they are used as funeral pyres. During war, gongs intimidate enemies and gather troops. In peace, they celebrate festivals and accompany dances.
The gong has played an important role in ceremonies, rituals, and inner journeys among all the world’s peoples. Deaths, births, marriages, and initiations were all accompanied by the sounding of the gong. More than simply a musical instrument, the gong has been used as an agent of transformation.
From the purely physical, to the emotional and spiritual, the sound of the gong can promote a positive change in the listener. In addition to yogis and yoga teachers, doctors, music therapists, psychotherapists, and researchers have used the gong as an adjunct to their healing modalities and have seen its therapeutic benefits in their students and patients.
The applications for Gong Therapy as part of the complementary healthcare field are limitless. The gong has always been used to mark and ease life transitions, so we are seeing its use by midwives before and during the birthing process and by hospice nurses for end of life patients.
The gong has been used since the early 1970s for treatment of addictions and for those in recovery programs. Psychotherapists are reporting beneficial results for patients who suffer from depression, anxiety and anger. In Sweden the gong is part of a medical yoga program and in Greece there is interest and acceptance of its use in the nursing profession. Children with special needs, disadvantaged youth, and students with learning disabilities have responded favorably to its use in the classroom.
The gong and gong therapy is becoming accepted in Western culture, much like yoga achieved in the late twentieth century, as a benign and affordable way to enhance physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Yet the potential audience for gong therapy exceeds that of yoga and many other alternative healing modalities. Its entry requirements are small – we only have to relax and listen – and its healing power comes from the sound that has awakened the human consciousness throughout the ages – the Sound of the Gong.