GET IT ON, BANG A GONG, PT IBy Howard Davis
Several readers have recently inquired about the significance of the image that accompanies my by-line. While the man-bun is long gone, I still incorporate the sound of the gong in my Kundalini Yoga classes. On the final Sunday of each month those in Wellington who are interested in the healing power of sound to promote our internal powers of recuperation are invited to attend a Gong Bath. This is the first of a two-part description of how and why it is such an effective tool of self-transformation.
The existence of the gong dates back to the Bronze Age, around 3500 BC, when evidence suggests that gongs existed in Mesopotamia. The oldest known gongs are over 5,000 years old and come from Asia Minor. Myth has it that sacred gongs included pieces of meteorites that fell from the heavens. Since the time of Buddha in 600 BC, all sacred Chinese gongs have been inscribed with the two Mandarin characters Tai Loi, which mean “happiness has arrived, sweeping the darkness by bringing in the light".
The gong has been used as an initiation tool for enlightenment, etheric projection, and the exorcism of negative spirits. Tibetan monks and the Chinese have also used gongs for centuries as an aid to meditation, since they can produce all the sounds within our hearing range. In the East, this instrument has been used in many different religious contexts, including yoga meditation. The West, however, is only acquainted with it through its thunderous, yet seldom heard sounds in symphony orchestras and rock bands.
The gong is a portal or stargate from which brings in a vortex of energy, facilitating our connection with the infinite higher self, creating the synergistic effect of bringing the listener to know the oneness of all effortlessly, while simultaneously recharging the body and strengthening the nervous system. By tuning the physical body to its greatest possible resonance, a Gong Bath is like a very deep and lasting massage that moves through the nervous system, opening, clearing, and recharging the mind, body, and spirit and triggering a meditative, contemplative state in which we have the opportunity to relinquish control of the mind. Negativity and chaos are suspended, irregularity and resistance are cleared, and the whole being is reset to a state of synchrony and alignment. The real power of the gong lies in its tremendous potential for healing and rejuvenation. Since the gong covers the full spectrum of sound, it vibrates all the cells, bones and organs of the body, depending upon its pitch. This "musical touch," which effectively turns the body into one big ear, creates a unique feeling of well-being and even ecstasy.
The Gong brings out the sound from which we all originate. When our physical and spiritual bodies are showered with these sounds, they recognize their Mother-Father Creator, the original vibration-sound from which we were born. The parasympathetic system kicks in and we are able to let go of our ego-identities completely, allowing all our systems to recalibrate to the default setting of the creator (the universal sound), helping us to relax and see things from a neutral point of mind, and bringing balance and harmony back into our lives.
The Christian Bible is not the only scared text that states “In the beginning was the word.” According to the ancient Indian texts collectively known as the Vedas, the creation of the Universe and the origin of sound are intimately connected. This is why the Vedanta Sutras use the phrase anavriti shabdat - "liberation by sound". Sound is considered the non-material source of the material manifestation, the key by which we can become free from bondage, providing the most direct link between the material and spiritual realms.
During the previous century, scientists confirmed that every atom in the universe vibrates at a specific frequency, whether it’s part of an animal, vegetable, mineral, or anything else. Everything in this universe is vibrating around us at a certain frequency, the cells of our own bodies included.
The basic structure of the universe is the atom and the basic structure of our bodies is the cell. Each cell is made of billions of atoms and each atom is made of a positive nucleus and negative electrons rotating around it. As a result, an electromagnetic field, commonly known as the aura, is generated, similar to fields generated by an engine.
The secret that makes our brains think is an accurate program inside the brain cells. This program is inside every cell doing its task precisely. The smallest defect in the programming can cause an imbalance and disorder in some part of the body and the best cure is to restore balance by re-programming our brain cells. Scientists have also discovered that various vibrations - such as light waves, radio waves, sound waves, etc - affect the cells of the body.
But what exactly is sound and how does it affect the human body?
We know that the sound is made of waves or vibrations moving in the air in about 340m/sec. Each sound has its own frequency, and human can hear from 20 frequencies per second to 20000 frequencies per second. These waves spread in the air and then get received by the ear, then turn into electrical signals and move along the acoustic nerve towards the acoustic bark in the brain; the cells correspond to the waves and move into the various parts of the brain especially the frontal part; all these parts work together corresponding to the signals and translating them to a language the human understands. Thus, the brain analyses the signals and gives its orders to the various body parts to correspond to these signals.
From here came sound therapy - since sound is a vibration and body cells are vibrate, then sound influences these cells. Researchers at Washington University recently discovered that the job of a brain cell is not just to transfer information. Each cell is actually a small computer working on collecting information, processing it, and giving orders continuously round the clock. Ellen Covey said that this was the first time they had realized that the brain does not work as a big computer, but it contains a huge number of computers working in a cooperative way. There is a small computer in each cell and these computers are affected by the vibrations around them, especially sound.
Thus we can say that the cells of each body part vibrate in a specific frequency and form a complicated and coordinated system that is affected by any sound around it. Any disease affecting any part of the body will cause a change in the vibration of this part's cells and thus causing it to deviate from the general body system affecting the whole body. This is why, when the body is exposed to a specific sound, this sound influences the vibratory system of body, and especially the irregular part, which responds to specific sounds to restore its original vibration system - in other words, to restore its healthy condition.
The scientific research behind sound therapy began with Alfred Tomatis, a French doctor, who made experiments for fifty years on the human senses and concluded that our sense of hearing is the most important sense. He found that the ear controls the whole body, regulates its vital operations and the balance and coordination of its movements; he also found that the ear controls the nervous system. During his experiments, he found that the hearing nerves connect with all body muscles and this is the reason why the balance and flexibility of the body and the sight sense get affected by sounds. The inner ear is connected with all the body parts such as the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, and the intestines, which is why sound frequencies affect the whole body.
In 1960, the Swiss scientist Hans Jenny found that the sound affects the various materials and reform their particulars, and that each cell of the body has its own sound and gets affected by the sounds and rearranges the material inside it. In 1974, the researchers Fabien Maman and Sternheimer made an astonishing discovery; they found that each part of the body has its own vibration system, subject to physics laws. A few years later, Fabien and Grimal discovered that sound affects cells, especially cancer cells, and that certain sounds had stronger effect. The two researchers also discovered that one of the sounds that had the strongest effect on body cells is the human voice.
Fabien, a scientist and musician, put blood cells from a healthy body and exposed them to various sounds; he found that each note of the musical scale affects the electromagnetic field of the cell; when photographing this cell with Kirlian camera, he found out that the shape and value of the electromagnetic field of the cell change according to the sound frequencies and the sound type of the reader. Then he made another experiment taking a blood drop from one of the patients, and monitored the drop with a Kirlian camera, asking the patient to make various notes. After processing the pictures, he found that on a specific note the blood drop changes its electromagnetic field and fully vibrates responding to its owner. He discovered that sound has a powerful and unique influence over body cells and concluded that there are specific notes that affect the cells of the body and make them more vital and active, effectively regenerating them: "The human sound has a special spiritual ring making it the most powerful healing device.” Fabien found that some sounds easily explode the cancerous cell, and at the same time activate the healthy cell. Sounds can affect human blood cells, which transfer the frequencies of the particular sound to the whole body through the circulatory system by the primal pulse of the heart.
It has become increasingly clear to scientists that sound affects everything around us. This is what Masaru Emoto, a Japanese scientist, proved in his experiments on water. He found that the electromagnetic field of water molecules is highly affected by the sound, and that there are specific tones that affect these molecules and make them more regular. If we remember that the human body is 70% water, then the sound the human hears affects the regularity of water molecules in the cells and the way these molecules vibrate, thus affects his healing. Different researchers have confirmed that the human sound can heal many diseases, including cancer. Sound therapists also consider certain sounds to possess greater healing power than others, especially in increasing the efficiency of the immune system. And the single most dynamic sound with the greatest frequency range on planet Earth is the gong.