This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a Gong Meditation at my local yoga studio. I had never been to such a class, but was intrigued by the summary that was included on the email that I received:
“In this 75-minute meditation we will use sound to regenerate the neurons & their interconnections, create deep relaxation, clear the mind reduce stress related issues such as: depression, fatigue, anger, hostility, fear and loneliness, stimulate the glandular system to a higher level of functioning, & strengthen the immune system.”
So, I thought, “clearing the mind from depression, fatigue, anger, hostility, fear and loneliness” all while I am laying on a mat listening to a gong, this def sounds like something I need to attend! I am all about getting additional benefits from doing simple exercises.
Upon arriving at the class, it was packed… the room is on the smaller size and there was about 30 people squeezed into the room. I felt like one of many sardines trying to fit into their assigned space in the little tin can. I knew no one and I was unsure if I was supposed to talk to my neighbors or just be quiet. I was alone and felt alone. I thought everyone was staring at me. I thought that the room was closing in on me. I wanted to grab my phone and text my partner to let him know what it was like. Like a lifeline to someone I knew because if I could reach out then I would feel less awkward. But no, I did no such thing. I sat there, and I started to participate in deep breathing.
Not long after this little panic attack the session started and yup, we did more deep breathing. Being in a room where all the occupants were participating in deep breathing was an amazing experience. It sounded like hundred of bees buzzing. The room started to warm up just based on the presence of so many people. I began to calm down.
After the breathing exercises, the main event started. I laid on my mat and struggled to get comfortable. I ended up laying half on my stomach with my right side of my face to the ground in a sort of fetal position. And the gong started…
The instructor started speaking in a different language. I was at first taken aback as earlier in the month when I was manic, I heard the instructors speak in a different language, but it was a hallucination and not actually happening. But I was for sure that this time the instructor was speaking in another language and this go around it did not make me paranoid, but relaxed.
With the gong started, I was scared. It was a loud, heavy sound. I felt it pressing me down into the floor. I felt fear and anxiety and I wanted to leave. I was completely overwhelmed by what was happening. But, the rules of this studio are once you enter, you remain in the room. So, I laid there. With my eyes closed I saw the colors of white and black vibrating before my eyelids and they were clashing into each other in rhythm with the sounds of the gong. I thought I was tripping out on some major psychedelic drugs!
After a few minutes, my mind decided that it was going to go into overdrive. I was thinking about what my family might be doing, what was I going to make for dinner, did I do all my homework, is anyone looking at me while I am laying in this weird position. I kept telling my brain to focus, and focus, to go back to the radiating colors of white and black, feel the emotions, feel the sounds, let my body release. But it was a tremendous struggle. It did not help that there was a person snoring a few mats over and that was totally distracting me. I was deciding whether I should refer them to my sleep doctor, so they can get assistance with their obstructed sleep issues and potential sleep apnea.
I laid there thinking about the mindfulness class that I am scheduled to take in May and how am I going to be able to release my mind, so I can learn the techniques that are part of the cirriculum. I was thinking why does my brain constantly have to go, go, go? I also reverted to the Gretchen Rubin book, Better than Before, that I am reading about habits and breaking of habits. I was thinking about which habits I want to break and how am I going to go about it and most importantly when?
Before I knew it, the class was over.
It was quite an experience, one that I am still mentally processing. I am not sure what physical changes I experienced since taking the class, although I am not sure I feel better, I know I do not feel worse. I plan to take the class again when offered next. I hope that I will be able to disconnect and go to an emptier space in my head (if there is one) the next time that I attend a class.
Photo Credit: https://gongs-unlimited.com/