I stand next to it, 32″ of metal, hand pounded to perfection/imperfection. As I raise my arm, I breathe in. A deep, widening, expansive, connected inhale. As I breathe out, my arm moves with my breath, rides the wave, flows towards the Gong, and gently, ever so gently, brushes its surface. The mallet follows the wave of sound then rides off the gong, moves forward and out in a large flowing arc.
It begins. I am in.
I stay connected to my breath, to my body, to movement, to the flow, to the chi, to whatever it is that comes. I stay grounded solidly, through the soles of my feet, through my core. Occasionally I look out over the group. I take notice. Someone is sniffling. Someone else is restless. Someone is snoring. I breathe in this information, ground again, and follow the flow of the Gong. I watch. I pray. I respond.
It is not something I can articulate or tell you about that easily. It has been years, lifetimes, of work of being of paying deep attention of noticing everything of consciousness of clarity of discernment. There can be no triggers, no fears, no doubts. There can be no anger, no ‘sides’, no need to be right. What is required is absolute neutrality. I have worked my whole life for this that I was born to do.
In my neutral zone I see it all. I become the Gong. No expectations, no judgements. I see and feel and hear as the Gong.
Its not particularly pretty this time. Dark nasty things float to the surface. They reach out, like disembodied hands, pulling on me. They try to pull me down with them. They are desperate.
But in the darkness of the sound, I hear a tone. A single perfect clear radiant tone. Through the crash and boom, this tone sounds like a bell. A bell being rung in the midst of the chaotic noise. I focus here on this bell, this note, and I watch as the darkness begins to dance.
Yes, Dance. Dark shapes shift from groping to undulating. From desperate to relieved. “I see you”, I whisper. “Its OK”, I re-assure. And then a song, and another, and another. Piling one on top of the other, a backlog of songs needing to be heard. They are coming down a line. A grandmother line. The line of an Elder. She speaks, she chants, she is holding the bell. She is sitting in the center of it all. She is directing the dark, the light. She is bringing them to an understanding. A mutual place of respect, love, commonality, hope and humanity. Her eyes glow blue, her skin warm earth, her hands withered. She holds both light and dark, she sings sweet lullabies to them both. This native voice will not be silenced. She is the water, the earth, the fire, the sky. She weaves the world, through time and space, through light and dark. Within seeming opposition and division, she creates bridges, pathways for understanding. And she has come to be heard.
At times I feel the heaviness almost pushing me down. Almost. And in my breath I once again connect to my stability and find the lightness from this grounded place.
At times I get so hot I think I must be on fire, literally. And again my breath comes back to me, cooling me with its long exhale.
Each element, in turn, tests me. Pushes, pushes harder, and harder still. And I remain solid. Grandmother smiles with her eyes upon me. As I conclude the Gong event, I step out to fan all the participants, and she pushes me again to sing. Her voice (oh I know it well) moves through me, creaky, old. My fans turn into wings. Flaming wings of light. Mothers are pouring in now. Women from many traditions, many paths, many lifetimes. Singing, sharing, landing. Songs shift as I move from person to person. I breathe, pray, fan, move. Somewhere, someone is sobbing. “let it go” I whisper to the wind and blow it away.
As we close our evening, we bring our voices together, we listen to the sound of our own unique vibration, our signature, our frequency. Through the collective “om-ing” I wait for it…… My voice fades away, and the collective voice comes together. There it is. Home. It is breathtakingly beautiful. My work is done here.
Beneath the gong lies my altar. 2 candles, burning. A shell. Sand. A bowl of water. 4 crystals representing the 4 elements. The Sri Yantra. Blessings in all directions.
“Thank you Grandmother”, I offer. And I ask her for her name. Who is this being I feel so present with, this helper, this guide, this goddess, I wonder?
“Silly child” she laughs
“I am You”.