Gongs change time and locality. Skillfully played, gongs provide the entry point to recovery, self-recovery, they can pull an individual back from “the edge” and create a different platform for their existence. The transformational qualities of gongs were known to ancient cultures such as Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Mongols, and Uighers. The gong is mentioned in writings during the 6th century in the time of the Emperor Hsuan Wu, originating in the country of His Yu in the western area in what was the Jang Kingdom between Tibet and Burma. Evidence suggests that gong making was known as early as 4,000BC and ancient alchemy sources put the gong as far out as 16,000BC.
The Gong is one of man’s most powerful and oldest transformational and therapeutic instruments. It has been used for ritual, ceremony, prayer, and meditation since the Bronze Age. While its sound is relaxing and calming, centering and energizing, transforming and healing, gongs have been used in yoga, sound meditation, and vibrational therapy from the distant past to present.
When metal is being “excited”, electrons become highly charged electromagnetically and form a field of Plasmon (according to the late physicist David Bohm). The plasma field is being created off the gong and the listener becomes part of the field. Metal is the only material known where the electrons leave their atoms and join other atoms. When the activity of the gong ends, the electrons go back to their original atoms. Once the gong comes to rest, the Plasmons and the energy field collapses. When the gong is revved up again the Plasmon field expands and intensifies. The participants are being electromagnetically charged in a positive, benevolent and holistic fashion. Many walk away with a natural buzz that is some case has lasted for a week.
Gongs are useful in resolving emotional and physical dissonance. Magic happens when there is no separation between the gong, the player and the listener. Playing and listening to gongs is about spiritual, physical and emotional resolution – opening of doors and windows to the Universe, moving around energies, Universal energies – to enter a spiritual dimension. The Gong is a psycho-acoustic gateway to heightened states of awareness and consciousness. It is an ideal tool for stress reduction, stimulation of the glandular system, and to break up emotional blockages. When skillfully played, gongs stimulate and resonate all cells in the human body simultaneously and recalibrate the parasympathetic nervous system (heavy arms and legs as well as a regulated heart rate during a gong meditation are a sign of the re-calibration).
The Gong generates powerful multi-dimensional ripples of sound that grow into waves and bathe your entire body in streams of sound. These have been described as otherworldly, rhythmic, generating a sense of being on vacation, unfathomable, purifying, magical, sweet – like rich, rich chocolate cake, profound, out of body, celestial and harmonic…just to name a few.
From a sacred geometry viewpoint, a circle – the gong’s basic shape – represents a beginning that has no end. It is ever-expanding potential and represents our connection with the holographic nature of oneness. Throughout many traditions and cultures, it also stands as symbol for heaven, totality, perfection, unity, eternity, completeness and for inclusive harmony.
Don Conreaux, who is one of the pioneers in the use of the gong for stress reduction, healing and personal transformation best describes “The Magical Inner Space of a Gong Tone”:
“The gong is known as an instrument of transformational power. It is a tool by which we are engulfed in total sound, and through our intuition, we are brought back to optimum health and balance. The gong is a supportive tool for the manifestation of our harmonious physical, mental, and emotional being. The OM tone of a gong creates total silence within. The sustained tone of a gong creates timelessness. The building of its tone combinations create a sense of levitation or lightness. It is the unique quality of a gong’s resonance that integrates diverse elements into a power of synergy, or functional harmony. We also call the tone produced by the gong a “feeling tone,” because we feel it in our body, as well as hear it.
This “musical touch,” of hearing through the ear of the body itself, creates a sense of ecstasy or well-being. The gong experience is an immersion into a spiraling cocoon of total sound. Through gonging, we are able to lose the sense of identity with our body as a physical object. We are no longer limited to a 3rd dimensional material world, but are taken to a fourth dimensional dream body. When we are in a 4th dimensional dream body, there is less interference between our ego consciousness and our more evolved innate intelligence. Our innate intelligence is the consciousness, creating perpetual DNA-repair while we are alive.
Although this repair goes on while we are in the awake state (beta consciousness), it is when our rational mind is asleep that the DNA-repair is better able to achieve maximum efficiency. This process begins in the alpha-theta state and reaches ultimate efficiency in the deep delta state. In delta-sleep, the mind is completely unconscious.
In the completely meditative state of being awake while completely asleep (the 4th dimensional gong experience), we increase the re-youthing potential of the innate intelligence without going into unconsciousness. The personal ego is then able to attain a state of non-judgment or neutrality. This is the state of total body/mind harmony.
The essential key to the gong’s force of resonance, and its effectiveness, is the complete submersion and saturation of a person in layer upon layer of tone-cell multiplication. The universal gong sound is based upon the musical principle that all tones of equal amplitude keep resonating, adding to themselves, to produce cumulative offspring, so to speak. This is a phenomenon unique to gongs and replicates exactly what happens in the building of the human physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies.”
Gongs are percussion instruments of either definite or indefinite pitch, in the form of a metal plate usually made of brass or bronze, and are of two types; hanging (vertical), or resting (horizontal = singing bowls). They are either flat with a clear sound, convex with a supple wall, or convex with a nipple or knob with a strong wall and definite pitch. They may be described as being a wind, chau, tam-tam, nipple, cup, bowl, plate, rin, orchestral, symphonic, whirling, ascending, or descending type of gong. The major gong centers of the world are China, Burma, Java, Indonesia, and Turkey. Communities of gong makers exist in Sumatra, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Tibet, and India.
Today the alloy formula of a gong is called B-20 which means 80% copper and 20% tin. Gongmakers use an alloy recipe, which may contain 70-80% copper and 20-30% tin, with the addition of silver, lead, nickel, iron, zinc, or meteorite depending upon the tradition of the gongmaking. The Zildjian Company of Turkey uses a Bronze Age formula that Avedis the alchemist from Constantinople brought to Istanbul in 1623. Paiste for instance, the well known the cymbal maker from Zurich, Switzerland keeps a Bronze Age formula for gongs, which they still use today. The German company Meinl has its own proprietary formula for making their Symphonic Tam Tam, an exquisite line of gongs.
Gongs are considered to be a good luck charm, and touching a gong is believed to bring a person happiness, good health, and strength. In India it is believed that the sound of a gong created the worlds, and was the primal sound of OM.
Remember that sound shaped into a dazzling tool can make, brake or rearrange molecular structure and levitate objects. Hence, when used in a benevolent fashion the formula is FREQUENCY + INTENT = HEALING.