GONGS and meditation

“The gong is very simple. It is an inter-vibratory system. It is the sound of Creativity itself. The gong is nothing more, nothing less. One who plays the gong plays the universe. The gong is not an ordinary thing to play. Out of it came all music, all sounds, and all words. The sound of the gong is the nucleus of the Word”.

By Yogi Bhajan

The gong has been used for thousands of years as an important a tool for healing and meditation. When you experience a Gong Meditation, you can expect to do a few relaxing breathing exercises to open the body’s chakras (energy centers), and then comfortably recline to your mat or a chair or sit in a meditative posture. The Gong playing begins. At first you hear the soft throaty Gong sounds and as you listen carefully, you become aware of the many tones within one sound. The sounds develop and wash over and around you to vibrate all of the body’s cells. The waves of sound carry your body and mind to a feeling of peace and connectedness.

But how is this possible?

Let’s first look at the gong itself. Typically, a gong is a hammered round metal disk. The surface is usually flat and slightly rounded at the edge. The surface of the gong has 3 areas and each area produces a different sound when played. The gong is played with a mallet and struck at various percussion points with a variety of rhythms to create specific effects.

One of the significant features of the gong is the sound it produces. Playing the gong is an art because the gong is not like playing a drum or any other musical instrument. The gong is a vibration. It is like playing hundreds of notes at the same time. As the gong is played it produces a note against a background of other notes. Each note interacts with the next note and they change each other. This creates a complex pattern of sounds that you feel in your body when you listen to the gong.

The entire body vibrates and changes as the gong is played. In our body there are 72,000 nerves that send energy throughout our bodies to shape us physically, emotionally and mentally. Specific areas of the body and mind are stimulated by the vibration waves of the gong. For example, the sound waves can stimulate the glandular system to a higher level of functioning because the vibration causes all of the cells of the body to move and to release blockages.

The gong also has an effect on the mind. The sound waves help to open the subconscious mind to a meditative state. The mind naturally releases with the gong. It takes only 3 to 90 seconds for the gong to have an affect on the mind. Then we have the opportunity to expand our own psyche to new aspects of our selves and the world around us.

The sound of the gong also projects to all of the chakras (energy centres) and can be used as a powerful instrument to open and balance them. Certain areas of the gong relate to different chakras. When these areas are played the chakras become more responsive and therefore opened and balanced. The gong helps the chakras to coordinate and move more freely. With sensitivity you can feel this in your body when you listen to the gong.

The sound of the gong creates deep relaxation; it releases you from your thoughts. Nothing compares to the gong’s ability to create sound that brings us to a state of harmony.

The sound of the gong creates deep relaxation, freeing us from the flood of thoughts our mind releases, and stimulates the glandular system to a higher level of functioning.

During the gong meditation emotional transformation is produced as it reduces tension, releases blocks and stimulates circulation. The result is a reorganization of the emotional energy and feelings that are tied into the body structure. The gong changes feelings that are blocked by cutting the thoughts that sustain and recreate the feelings.

The gong meditation clears the nerve endings and regenerates the parasympathetic system which is ruled by sound. The parasympathetic system sends “relax” messages to all the organs. It regulates the rebuilding functions of the body and it is vital for handling stress since it coordinates the recovery period from stress. To regenerate the parasympathetic system, nothing is more powerful than the gong.

On gongs, Yogi Bhajan said, “The gong is very simple.  It is an inter-vibratory system.  It is the sound of Creativity itself.  One who plays the gong plays the Universe.  The gong is not an ordinary thing to play.  Out of it came all music, all sounds, and all words.   The sound of the gong is the nucleus of the Word.  The gong is not a musical instrument, nor a drum.  The gong is a beautiful reinforced vibration.  It is like a multitude of strings, as if you played a million strings.  The gong is the only tool with which you can produce this combination of space vibrations.”

Heartaries

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Decided to start oil painting again!  It has always been a good release in my life but I don’t think I’ve really finished a painting in over 5 years.  Almost 10.  I missed the feeling of mixing the paints; the blending of colors.  The best way for others to see from your point of view; or how you see the world.

A month and a half into my new job in the cardiac cath lab, this picture was an appropriate outlet for my stressful transition and need to share the underlying beauty of the human heart.

Let’s Discuss: Amygdala

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Just something that I saw somewhere and had on some scrap paper.  Not a very in depth post, but I still think it is useful information for anyone interested.  Feel free to keep a discussion open in the comments.

Stress increases right frontal lobe activity.

A calm and harmonious state of mind will increase left frontal lobe activity.

By meditating often, left brain will grow stronger and remain that way at times when not meditating.

The Amygdala is active when stressed or processing negative emotions (anger, rage, fear).

Amygdala activity decreases when meditating regularly.

Cortisol also decreases when using mindfulness.  Such as, meditating or actively putting full attention into a task at hand.

Epsom Salt and Its Many Uses

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  1. Add to olive oil to exfoliate skin and add to shampoo for rejuvenating the scalp. Let  the mixture absorb for a few minutes and then rinse.
  2. For blackheads, boil ½ cup of water, 3 drops of iodine, and 1 tsp. of Epsom salt.  Let the solution cool enough to touch and bottle; use with a cotton ball and apply to  blackheads. Reheat and cool if solution separates.
  3. Increase Magnesium levels in your body by soaking three times a week; Magnesium is difficult to get through diet, but it readily absorbs through the skin (consult practitioner if you have kidney issues). Mg is useful in treating migraine and tension headaches, fatigue, kidney stones, COPD, asthma, fibromyalgia, ADD/ADHD, complications during pregnancy and premenstrual syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. It also assists the body’s use of serotonin which aids in well-being and relaxation.
  4. A 20 minute soak once a week with a handful of Epsom Salt, 10 drops of lavender essential oil, and half a cup of baking soda will draw out toxins, lower stress hormones, and balance pH levels.
  5. Soak feet in warm water and Epsom Salt to soften and smooth.
  6. Add 2 tbsp. of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and spray for a lush, green lawn.
  7. For healthier roses, tomatoes, and peppers, mix 1 tsp. with 4 cups of warm water and spray plants every couple of weeks. This will strengthen plant cell walls, aid seed germination, photosynthesis, and formation of fruits.
  8. Sprinkle Epsom Salt on the garbage cans to keep raccoons away.
  9. Use Epsom Salt in liquid dish detergent to whiten floor tiles and dissolve dirt.

Benefits of Brahmi!

I know the effects of this herb because I have used it myself, but I understand many people still have their doubts. Besides the fact that many cultures have used it for thousands of years there have been a number of recent studies to document the benefits, and I only included a handful.

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Gotu Kola, Centella asiatica, also know as Brahmi “the greatest of great”

This ancient, traditional herb contains the triterpenoids: asiaticoside, centelloside, and madecassoside. These powerful components make this medicinal herb useful in a range of complications and prevention of further damage.

  • promote cell apoptosis; cytotoxic towards many different cancer cells
  • increases the tone of connective tissue
  • accelerate healing process of burns, keloids, and wounds (enhance collagen production and reduces scar tissue)
  • lowers blood pressure and reduce leg edema (keep blood vessels strong, maintains resistance of the veins, and enhances blood flow)
  • mild adaptogen (enhances the body’s ability to resist a stressor)
  • fatigue, depression, anxiety (assist in producing neurotransmitters)
  • protects against neurodegeneration
  • mild diuretic
  • anti-inflammatory
  • heightens mental function; improves memory and learning capabilities (useful for ADD/ADHD)
  • restore some of the memory loss of Alzheimer’s disease
  • nourish, support, and rejuvenate the liver and kidneys
  • Himalayan yogis used Brahmi to aid in meditation and yoga by calming and awakening the mind for a clear, steady practice.
In 2006, the Biomaterials Science and Engineering Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that Asiatic acid (found in Gotu Kola) caused cell death in common glioblastoma cells. They also documented the inhibition of nitric oxide synthesis, leading to reduced inflammation and increased healing of gastric ulcers.

In 2009, the Department of Infection Biology documented that Asiatic acid inhibits cancer cell proliferation and apoptosis of human colon cancer cells; leading to irreversible tumor cell death.

The National Drug Screening Center did a study of rats which showed that Gotu Kola reduced blood glucose levels and increased serum insulin. The most interesting aspect of the study is that this herb also showed beta cell preservation in the pancreatic islets; the cells that produce insulin.

A study published in a French medical journal from 1966 concluded that women treated with Gotu Kola after an episiotomy healed more rapidly than those given standard treatment.

And in case these studies weren’t convincing, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended this herb as one of the most important medicinal plant species to be conserved and cultivated.

Gotu Kola’s underlying mechanism is modulation of dopamine and norepinephrine in the prefrontal cortex, acetylcholine and serotonin in the hippocampus, and increasing the dendritic length and branches of the neurons in the amygdala. This has a great effect on learning and memory, attention, and mood regulation.

This herb comes in the form of: tincture, ointment, dried herb/tea, and capsule. Recommended dose is 60 mg of extract three times a day and 600 mg dried leaf three times a day.

Now, anything this powerful must be taken in moderation. The correct dose is regarded as safe but it is important to begin taking slowly to avoid allergies and individual sensitivities. No research has been done on safety for young children or pregnant/lactating women; this herb has been shown to reduce fertility in women trying to conceive. Some sensitive individuals can get contact dermatitis from topical use. Excess levels over the recommended dose can increase blood sugar, raise cholesterol, and non-fatal hepatitis. You should avoid this herb if you have liver disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Also, do not take with other CNS depressants or hepatotoxic drugs.

“The Master Key” by Charles Haanel – part 1

1. That much gathers more is true on every plane of existence and that loss leads to greater loss is equally true.

2. Mind is creative, and conditions, environment and all experiences in life are the result of our habitual or predominant mental attitude.

3. The attitude of mind necessarily depends upon what we think. Therefore, the secret of all power, all achievement and all possession depends upon our method of thinking.

4. This is true because we must “be” before we can “do,” and we can “do” only to the extent which we “are,” and what we “are” depends upon what we “think.”

5. We cannot express powers that we do not possess. The only way by which we may secure possession of power is to become conscious of power, and we can never become conscious of power until we learn that all power is from within.

6. There is a world within – a world of thought and feeling and power; of light and life and beauty and, although invisible, its forces are mighty.

 

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