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Meditation Gong

Meditation can be a journey inwards or a pushing of the spirit outwards, but usually there is some visualization of travel. Certainly, it can feel as though a great distance has been traversed in the space of an hour, while sitting still in your living room. A meditation gong can provide a great deal of support, accent and anchor to your meditation and it is possible to make this ancient technique work for you!

Gongs have been used since prehistoric times and are found all over the world, though the term we use is Malay-Javanese in origin. While there are many types of gongs, the kind that is most often used in relation to meditation and contemplation is the suspended gong, usually flat circular discs of metal suspended vertically by cords from a freestanding frame.

Playing a gong for meditation involves a great deal more than just banging the disc with a stick. A skilled musician or devotee can coax a wide range of sounds from a gong that can have amazing effects on a listener's state of mind. During an intense reflection, the mind enters a state where it is very open to thought and consideration, and in that state, the sound from a gong can penetrate and support the thoughts, so to speak.

There is also a tangible physical component when a gong is used during meditation. The different pitches from a single gong can create a resonance that vibrates through the whole body, leading to a unique experience of altered consciousness. If you are listening to a gong being struck, think about how it feels when you hear the tones. Where do the pulses start and stop? How do you feel immediately afterwards? Is comfortable or uncomfortable? Despite the possibly loud sound of the gong, the sound can be extremely smooth and relaxing, helping you gather your thoughts rather than scattering them.

There are many ways to engage in gong meditation, where the sounds of a gong accent your ruminations. One easy way to make use of this incredibly versatile tool is to purchase a tape of a gong sounds. You would use this as you would any other tape or CD for meditation. It might be wise to preview it prior to purchase. It is important to find a tape or CD that matches your style and doesn't prove jarring!

Another possibility is to find a gong meditation group in your area. Depending on the venue, these sessions will usually require a donation or have a flat fee, but you will be able to meditate to a live gong. This is possibly the best way to experience the altered states that can be bought on by a gong.

You may also wish to strike a gong yourself, seeing how it feels when you use it to bookend your own meditations. It could be a valuable way for you to organize your own practice.

There are many excellent tools to improve your meditations. With a little bit of research, perhaps gong meditation is for you!

By Harriet Base

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