The Gong Bath: what happens, common experiences
Many people do not know what to expect during a Gong Bath. It can be difficult to explain so what follows are some of my observations and the experiences of those who have taken part.
Firstly, some participants become so relaxed that they fall asleep, and the body uses this time to re-balance, restore and nurture itself. Most people however, flit in and out of consciousness and notice their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual responses during the Gong Bath. This opens the possibility of becoming aware of the ‘chattering mind’, your mood or emotional state, visual experiences, physical sensations, intuitive insights, inner wisdom, or spiritual encounters. By keeping your eyes closed and not falling asleep, people can often have a far richer experience.
The busy mind
As the beautiful sounds of the Gongs, Himalayan Bowls and Crystal Bowls encourage participants to drift in and out of consciousness everyone is likely to notice ‘mind chatter’. Just as when you try to meditate, the mind will not stop its conversations. It will continue to bring up memories from the past, worry about the future, comment, and make judgements about what is happening in the present.
You could use this opportunity to notice the mind at work and observe it with a sense of calm, with compassion and without judgement. It is natural for the mind to chatter but the Gong Bath provides the space in which you may come into the present, the ‘here and now’, to be an objective and calm observer. This will help to bring a sense of peace and balance into your life, to begin to enjoy the experience of being in the present moment rather than fretting about the past or worrying about the future.
Mood and emotions
The sounds of the Gong Bath may encourage feelings of peace and tranquillity. You may become aware of emotions or feeling arising such as sadness, anger, joy, or bliss; some people are moved to tears. On the other hand, you may realise that you are angry, fearful, or anxious.
After one session a lady sat up with a broad smile on her face and commented that she could not remember when she last ‘felt this level of joy’. Another participant noticed anger rising within her when the Chao Gong played. Other clients report feeling a deep sense of calm and peace. Emotions need to be acknowledged; they play a vital role in our lives. Sometimes we forget what it feels like to really experience them.
Imagery, patterns and ‘movies’
Imagery can be triggered by the sounds of a Gong Bath. Even though your eyes remain closed you may ‘see’ abstract patterns and/or colours or experience movie scenes. Psychedelic patterns and colours are often described, sometimes as kaleidoscopic or floating or merging fluid shapes. One lady experienced seeing enormous snowflakes floating in and out of focus others see specific colours. Some participants find themselves in familiar or unexpected locations.
Garden or woodland settings are quite popular as are the beach or seaside. One gentleman had the impression of flying over the Himalayas when hearing the Tibetan Singing Bowls and later in the session found himself deep under the ocean.
Others have seen animals or birds; one lady encountered a beautiful white owl. It can be useful to follow up on the experience by reading about the symbolic significance of the images and colours you ‘see’. You may find these prove to be important subconscious messages.
As the sound frequencies travel through you, high pitches will create tingling on the skin and low sounds will be felt travelling through you and vibrating deep within the tissues of your body. Areas of your body may feel hot or cold.
Clients sometimes notice that some sound frequencies ‘tune in’ around old or recent wounds and these stronger sensations create some discomfort. This probably increases blood flow and may promote healing.
As you move deep into relaxation muscles will relax and, as tension drains aways, this may give pain relief. One participant suffering from arthritis experience more flexibility in her fingers and needed to take less medication for a few of days after a Gong Bath.
Right hemisphere stimulation
As the Gong Bath progresses the deeper sound of the gongs begin to stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain. Our usual state of being in everyday life relies heavily of the left hemisphere way of seeing the world as it focuses on details, analyses, processes and categorises, using judgement and logic, and is very time orientated. However, right-brain hemisphere way of experiencing the world is very different in terms of intuition and creativity, sense of time, spatial awareness and spiritual connection to the universe.
Insight, intuition, and creativity
When the right hemisphere becomes more activated intuition, imagination, and creativity may be awakened. Ideas may occur in unusual or unexpected combinations, freed more habitual ways of solving issues or problems. One gentleman suddenly knew how to resolve a structural building problem he had been struggling with for days. Others are often inspired to make changes in their lives. Some have changed jobs, retired, or changed relationships.
Time and space
Time is experienced very differently in a Gong bath. It makes no sense to talk of time in the same way – linear time becomes spatial time, just ‘here and now’ in the moment. People are often amazed that the fifty-minute Gong Bath seems like five minutes. They have experienced life in the moment, in a timeless zone.
There can often be a feeling of interconnectedness, feeling at one with everything and everyone. Separation no longer exists. People ‘lose’ their edges’ – one lady described how she could no longer feel her body on the mat but instead floated and merged with the space above it. Sounds may appear to come from unexpected directions as spatial awareness is affected.
Often there is a feeling of being at one with the universe or spiritual realms. Some of the experiences may be difficult to describe or make any sense of. You may meet a spirit guide, entity, or angel or have a religious, mystical, or spiritual experience. Others sense that energy centres have been activated – the Chakras. Common experiences include coughing, a sign that the Throat Chakra has been stimulated and sighing, the Sacral Chakra is being affected.
If you would like to experience a Gong Bath and explore some of the possibilities outlined in this blog, please contact Sue to book a session.
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Please contact Sue to find out more or book an event or session.
You too could benefit from the kind of experiences described above.