Talking about gong does not do it much justice - it is one of those things that you have to experience. Besides, most people find gong baths to be very different from their initial expectations. But let me give it a try.
In fact most of these thoughts are repetitive, useless and sometimes harmful. However, just becoming aware of the thoughts does not always bring about a lasting quiet - too often we get carried away with that nasty next thought.
There are so many techniques out there helping us to achieve just that. Or at least claiming to do so. I have been practicing TM (Transcendental Meditation) for a couple of years now and find it really helpful in unwinding the mind and giving it deep nourishing rest. From time to time I also practice yoga nidra, which is a type of guided meditation where an instructor helps you to go in an out of the depths of your mind. Some people also like to practice various mindfulness techniques. There are even apps now that walk you through a simple meditation session step-by-step.
In that state one experiences true relaxation - the kind that even sleep does not provide - and all that while your consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness. Coming back from such state one feels a sense of fulfilment - and for some time thereafter the chatter quiets down, allowing you to stay grounded in the present moment.
One of the things I like the most about gong is how effortless and simple it is.
Compared to the other meditation techniques, where you have to get your head around the paradox of “trying to relax”, in a gong class (at least the way it is practiced at the GONG studio) you only have to wrap yourself in a blanket, place a lavender-scented eye pillow on your face and just listen.
As the vibrations of the gong slowly and rhythmically begin to intensify - you find yourself immersed in a mystical outer space-like sound waves of this seemingly simple metal plate. This pleasant sound creates a space in which you become dissociated from your thoughts. It is really as simple as that.
What is more, you can actually feel the sound travel through your body and as the cells in your body start vibrating at this frequency. If you pay enough attention, you can sense how your body starts to loosen up.
I find the idea of having a quick 30-minute pre-lunchtime gong session brilliant - you feel relaxed, uplifted and more energetic - the thoughts are no longer as loud in your head, and there is much more space to deal with the experiences that the rest of the day throws at you. A short yet powerful retreat from the daily office routine - what a way to save on that 5th coffee cup.
The simplicity of gong really resonates with me (pun intended). You could go into a class, completely clueless about what a gong is and still enjoy it a lot - no need to master your lotus pose first.
Now, as one of my co-workers likes to say around lunchtime “boys and girls, let’s hit the gong".