How the gong changed my life
Regular exposure to the sound waves of this ancient instrument – the mighty gong – heals mind, emotion and body, and raises consciousness.
Some synchronicities are just too glaring not to perceive as fate unfolding. This is the case with my introduction to and relationship with the great gong – the ancient sound instrument that cannot be resisted if you are in its presence while it’s being played. It will change you whether you like it or not.
I am Canadian-born though spent 10 years living in London, UK teaching awareness seminars, and running meditation groups. I awoke one morning with a strange feeling to return to Vancouver, concerned about my daughter, who was 22 years at the time. I did not yet know what the problem was, only that there was a problem. My gut instinct led me to pack up, put my apartment belongings into storage and leave, literally in less than a week.
Her general state of mind and physical health was an obvious scare to me when I saw her. Her temperament was aggressive and she didn’t seem like the ‘real her’. Communicating with her was difficult, and her aggressiveness led me to step back and distance myself. I knew drugs were involved.My son and I drove south for a hiking trip to the mountains, to deal with my pain and fear for her well-being. I returned to Vancouver still feeling sick with worry not knowing where she was or what was happening. Again I felt drawn to go away, and took my troubled heart down the Pacific Coast Highway from Vancouver to Los Angeles, and rented an apartment for a month to try to sort myself out.
Within a few days of arriving thoughts of the gong kept coming into my mind. I had only recently seen a notice for a ‘gong meditation’ class shortly before I left London, at the same studio where I taught my meditation classes. I was obviously curious, given my passion for meditation. I also thought it might help me shift my energy, though I had never experienced it before. I googled ‘gong sound meditation’ to see what I could find, located a gong event at a Kundalini Yoga studio in West Hollywood, and went along to the session. About 30 minutes into my process I felt an incredible jolt of energy shoot up the centre of my body as I processed myself psychologically, much the same as I would do when guiding a client through a healing session. My energy was freed from the tension completely and I was in awe of what had happened and how it had happened.
I attended another class, and another and another etc. with different practitioners that had different styles of presentation, though the gong experience was the same. Just amazing. I knew intuitively that I had been guided to experience this amazing instrument, and that I would be integrating it into my healing and teaching practice. I bought a beautiful 36 inch Chinese Chau gong when I returned to Vancouver a month later and began to play around with it and do some gonging with small groups in private homes to get used to it.
I also researched on the Internet what was happening with the gong in other places and found a two-week gong and sound healing course in New York City, which gave me the confidence to get up and running with my gong therapy.
Within a week of launching my public gong sound bath meditation sessions in Vancouver, I heard from my daughter. It was three and a half months since I had seen her. When we met her energy was very different; no signs of aggression whatsoever, though she looked very sickly, under-nourished and in poor health. For over two and a half years she had been suffering with a host of ovarian cysts, a cancerous tumour, and had two ovarian surgeries. She said she was taking painkillers, which I thought nothing of. My goal was to help her get proper nutrition and healing.
Another two weeks later I got a phone call from her one evening in a terrible panic. She was fearful and in great pain. She said that her legs, thighs and lower back were going numb. She told me that she had recently been hospitalized (while I was away) for over a month with what was believed to have been a blood infection, which is a high-risk condition. The hospital doctors told her that they did not know the cause and that their only available solution was antibiotics, and she had a lot of them, along with high doses of morphine and methadone for the pain. They told her that she would likely die within weeks. She left the hospital and continued with regular hospital visits for treatment. When the symptoms of the condition subsided they warned her that they knew it would return. And it did on that night she called me. She was rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital. They did blood tests and stated that she would have to go home and wait for three days for the blood culture results to come back. We were both afraid and in a panic. I took her home with me, and not knowing what else to do, said “lets try gonging”. From my training and personal experience I knew it had healing benefits, I just didn’t know much about what it could do specifically.
I positioned the gong at the end of my bed and had her lie down. By the end of 45 minutes she was experiencing significant relief. She said that the first 10 minutes felt intense and uncomfortable, and then the energy shifted. She reported a significant alleviation of the numbing sensations in her body. The sound vibrations had effectively reduced the inflammation to allow the feeling in her body to return. When she said to me, “I can feel my legs now,” I wanted to cry. I kept gonging. I knew that being led to the gong was more than coincidence. It was a synchronicity of profound import.
The next day I went to see an alternative health practitioner I knew who recommended I take her to one of his associates who was an EAV practitioner; which stands for Electro-Acupuncture according to Voll, also known as Electro-Dermal Screening. After seven daily 20-minute treatments, all symptoms completely cleared up, never to return. Again, another energy treatment, that is non-invasive like the gong, and finally gaining in popularity. Of course, we kept gonging every day as well, and she kept asking for it. She didn’t even need to return to the hospital. It was at this point that I established my first gong research group to discover what else it could do. I immediately gathered a group of 10 participants with a range of ailments: emotional, psychological, chronic diseases and physical injuries. I offered 8 sessions, which were given over a five-week period.
The worse news I received about my daughter’s health was a few weeks later when I discovered the reality that her painkiller was Heroin. When hospitalized for her ovarian surgeries she became addicted to morphine. When released from the hospital she found illegal prescription painkillers Oxycontin and Fentanyl (on the street, through her boyfriend) and began taking them for the pain. (For those who do not know, as I did not know, the class of drugs known as ‘opioids’ is used for pain relief. The active substance is derived from the opium poppy plant. Heroin is simply the pure form of this drug. It is the same substance used to make a whole host of pharmaceutical painkillers. When she was hospitalized with the blood condition she detoxed from the illegal prescriptions, and the aggressiveness disappeared with it. She had allergies to other pain medications such as Tylenol and said she could not live with the constant throbbing and pain. Her choice was heroin.
I began to research opioid addiction and discovered that many people were becoming addicted to pain medication, and that these various forms of opioids, with extended usage, could create what is called phantom pain; where the brain creates the illusion of pain when the source of the pain has been healed or greatly minimized. I pleaded with her to stop using the drug. As an adult I could not control her, only offer ways to help. All I could do was keep gonging her, which I started to do along with deep tissue massage, and getting proper nutrition into her body. She kept asking for the gong and came to rely on how it made her feel. We both acknowledged that is was lifting her energy and noticeably improving her general mental, emotional and physical health. What was most pleasing to me was how it was helping to heal and lift her sense of self-esteem. Any parent who has had a child addicted to an opioid, knows the chaos and emotional instability that go along with this type of dependency. It’s a nightmare; a constant state of crisis.
I watched in increments how the gong sound waves were giving her back her will to live. I loved that she kept asking for it, and how much better she felt after every session.
It was also doing wonders for my stress levels and sleepless nights. What was also profound was that when I began offering gong classes about three months before she told me about her choice of painkiller, I had printed up promo cards to give out at my classes. I also had a description on the cards of some of the things the gong could do – as I had learned about in my training. It included recovery from heroin addiction. It was printed right there on my gong card. A deep sense of fate swept over me again when I learned my daughter had this addiction and that I had a tool that could help her.
One of the difficulties to getting off heroin, and any opioid dependency, is the excruciating pain of withdrawal symptoms. This prevents many from even trying. It is that bad. Withdrawal symptoms intensify between 8-12 hours after the last dose, and can take anywhere from 2 days to a week or longer to be cleared (with some exceptions lasting longer). The gong sound waves relieve withdrawal symptoms while the gong is being played. She went online to research other solutions for getting clean with the hope that the pain would be bearable without the painkiller, and discovered a substance called Ibogaine. It is made from a central African root (plant) called Iboga. Ibogaine claimed to reset the receptors in the brain associated with opioid withdrawal for 2-3 days, allowing someone who is addicted to get through the worse of the withdrawal symptoms and recover. Our plan was to use the gong and Ibogaine to get her through.
I discovered it was legal in Canada (not in the U.S.) though I couldn’t find any. There were a few opioid treatment centres using it in Canada, though she was not interested in going to any of them. I found IbogaWorld out of Holland online, who ship it from Africa. They asked for her height and weight, and told me their recommended dosage specifically for heroin withdrawal. It finally arrived eight weeks later, in powder form. I got a scale to weigh the dosage, given in three intervals, and mixed it in juice for her to drink. I hired a shaman and her assistant to work with me. I also had her get various tests recommended from well-sourced documents I found online. She had to wait at least 12-14 hours, without the opioid, before taking it, for safety reasons, so the withdrawal symptoms came on in full force, and there was a lot of resistance, though once she got it into her system she was down – rest in a dark room for three days while the substance did its work. Iboga, much like Ayahuasca, is also a deep psychological journey. Much like what I described in the psychedelics section in chapter 7, it was taking her outside of the ego realm to help her see herself with greater clarity. She reported this to be a powerful process for her also.
She was AMAZED to have bypassed all that pain. I didn’t even need to use the gong over that initial three-day period. She just stayed quietly in bed with no physical discomfort whatsoever. The unfortunate part was that the cysts and the pain were still present several days later, and she went back on small doses of the drug to cope. I asked a friend, an alternative healer, if she thought I should take her to Mexico for stem-cell replacement therapy, and she said to me “Jain, that’s not what she needs. It’s emotional.” This hit me like a brick in the head. Of course it was. All the pain and trauma of her life—a product of divorced parents, broken education, abusive relationships, and now drug addiction and a host of health issues that also spring from that unresolved inner pain. By the time I learned to accept responsibility for myself in my early 30s and begin the path of healing, only then could I start to pass that healing and consciousness information to my children – which I did relentlessly. When I told her she had to go into her pain and process it through to heal the cysts – she knew what to do, and also acknowledged to me that she had been trying to avoid looking at it. I figured the drug and anti-anxiety medication were being used for those reasons too.
Four months later, every fluid-filled cyst had dried up and the hard tumour was literally breaking apart and releasing itself as well. I had given her one of my gongs (a 28 inch Paiste Mercury Gong) and she led her entire emotional healing process by herself at her apartment – gonging for hours she told me, crying her pain out, and gradually reducing her opioid dosage along with it. She said she felt something very subtle change inside the tumour one day, and knew the cyst growth process had reversed itself. During the heroin withdrawal process she used the anti-anxiety medication, marijuana (widely used for pain relief) with cannabinoids THC and CBD – smoking it and high dosages of CBD in oil form (found in healthy supply in Vancouver) and hours of gonging during the withdrawal process which takes away the withdrawal symptoms while the gong is being played, to get herself clean. She has now joined the ranks of the gong players and knows, as good as any experienced player, what it can do.
In her words…
“Prior to experiencing gong vibrations, I was completely sceptical of it being anything more than a nice sound. It has helped me get my life back, and made me feel immediately better after every session. For the opioid withdrawal process, the gong vibrations affected me within about 5-10 minutes, in the areas typically affected by withdrawal symptoms, including the lower back and legs. This is known as known as restless leg syndrome. The gong completely balanced the fever and the chills so they were under control. The racing thoughts of wanting the drug to make the symptoms go away had subsided. About thirty minutes into the gong session I was thinking about wanting more of the gong and not more of the drug, and just wanted to be in that gong state.”
Within a few days of hearing that she was addicted to heroin, I wrote a song for her called We All Say Goodbye Sometime (on my YouTube channel ‘Jain Wells’) to express my grief, and to give her hope. When she got through the addiction I made it into a music video, to share some of the scary statistics of opioid addiction (prescription painkillers and heroin) with others, as well as offering holistic solutions to the problem. Please tell others you know who are suffering from opioid dependency, and their loved ones, about these solutions…this is where the power of the people lies, in awareness and education.
This blog is ‘chapter 8’ from the second edition of my book Meditation: The Incredible Gateway to an Abundant Life. To be released on Amazon November 1st, 2017. The gong induces a meditative state – where brainwave frequencies are significantly slowed down to allow the practitioner to experience deep levels of mental stillness and heightened awareness. It also opens the body to accelerated healing and consciousness. It is a wonderful healing instrument that affects every level of being – emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual – with regular exposure to the sound waves. For a minimal cost, individuals can buy and use a small gong (22-24 inches) for home use and significantly affect their health, awareness and well-being. It’s also ideal for the office, particularly high stress work environments.
Find out more about The Gong