Would you consider 90 minutes of loud, clashing, gongs and metal bowls ringing in your ears a soothing meditative experience? My most recent attempt at seeking inner peace or more accurately tagging along for the ride involved those items plus scented oils, rain sticks, and a drum beat. If you think I attended a Grateful Dead concert, you’re surprisingly incorrect.
I had never heard of “Gong Meditation” when my friend casually suggested we try it out one evening. She seemed to think my accompanying her to the psychic, meditation class and hot yoga meant I was cruising on her path to enlightenment. For me, I was just tagging along for the ride. Anyway, she dragged me out on a cold, rainy Sunday to try a new class her yoga studio offered monthly. What can I say? I had no clue Gong Meditation would be relaxing, but it had its moments. It was a lot like attending the
space and drums portion of a Grateful Dead concert without the twirling or drugs.
A middle aged lady walked around barefoot wearing loose yoga pants and a tank top and instructed us to lay down on our mats. She placed small metal bowls around our bodies and a pillow under our knees. My friend, a guy and I were the only people in the class, and the guy didn’t last more than 30 minutes. Perhaps he reached his karmic max for the day. The lights were off and she instructed us to relax and allow ourselves to absorb the noise and not fight it. If loud noises scared us as children, then we should allow our inner child to accept it and heal. I never had an issue with noise. I only wished I popped a couple Advil beforehand.
We began with deep breathing as this was the only quiet portion of the show. I wished I brought earplugs if only to mute what was going to be something close to standing on train tracks for 90 min as a train screeched by. Deep low ominous sounds began to whirl as the reverberations never ended before another smack into a bowl or whack of the gong began. It reminded me of a space documentary I saw on Nova narrated by Alec Baldwin.
I lay still, eyes closed as crescendos of gong vibrations echoed in the room. I no longer heard others breathe and wondered if they too were wincing instead. I let my mind wander and imagined myself standing barefoot on train tracks as sound throbbed from my feet to then suddenly imagining flying over endless rows of church bells. No drugs, no twirling, no crowds, but this was a concert nonetheless. I would not let the gong lady cause me to wince because it was so freaking loud!
As she beat drums and tapped other random objects, her space sounds reminded me of 2001 Space Odyssey. I waited for Hal to call out from behind the gong in front of the room, “Dave, are you there?”
She placed a bowl on my torso and hit it with a small mallet. No changing positions after that. No yawning either! Good God, I thought. This was not relaxing! This is like trying to cook dinner while falling over my kids as they were banging on pots and pans when they were toddlers!
No way was I going to allow this chaotic mess grab MY chakras! No siree!
I would ground with the universe if it killed me. I was sure the only thing that required healing was the throb over my right eye.
Towards the end, she rubbed scented oils on my feet. Since I have running toes, that have yet to be polished, I was embarrassed. There I went again, losing my focus! The lilac oil on my hands smelled nice, but this experience was more Grateful Dead than Blossoming Lotus. Oh well. One day I’ll evolve and start taking my meditative workouts more seriously!