Balinese Gong Meditation

Last week I attended a program at my library on Balinese Gong Meditation. Though I lived in Indonesia and went to Bali several times, I knew nothing about this.

The presenter briefly spoke about how sound healing was becoming better known for its effectiveness and how she’s been using gongs from Bali for a few years at various retreats and library programs. She explained that the gong’s sounds often “bring up” a lot of toxins and emotions.

The lights were dimmed and we were urged to get comfortable. I closed my eyes, but I don’t think that was necessary. The “gongist” began by striking the gong to get deep, long tones, which was rather pleasant to hear. After an interval, she’d make a series of quicker higher pitched sounds. These made me feel like someone was chasing me.  She alternated between these kinds of sounds. The quick sounds always made me a little nervous, while the deep, slow ones calmed me. Perhaps that was the point.

She played for about 40 minutes and some people fell asleep which was fine. The leader did say that 40 minutes of listening to gongs was like 4 hours of sleep as far as relaxation goes. Hmm.

In the end, I thought it was fun to explore this kind of meditation, but yoga or meditation by repeating a mantra was more my style. I tried to find a picture of the sort of gong she used, but no Balinese gong looked like hers. This is in line with my memory of what I’d seen in Bali. It was fun to try, but I’m glad I didn’t pay for the experience.