The rich tones of an “ancient technology” lulled members and guests of Unity of Gainesville church into a state of deep relaxation Tuesday night.
“It’s a 4- to 5,000-year-old ancient technology,” said Yogiray Kessler, an Atlanta-based yoga teacher who specializes in the healing gong. “What the gongs do is they create combination tones, overtones and undertones. So it’s a whole range of sound that’s coming at you at once. Other instruments don’t do that.”
Nearly 50 people went to the church Tuesday night to listen to the “gongscapes” created by Kessler and participate in a healing meditation with Tibetan Buddhist Monk and Reiki healer, Tenzin Lama Sherpa. Kessler and Sherpa first visited the church offering their healing practices last year.
Sherpa has been staying at NaMestoy Farm, a retreat and meditation nonprofit center in northwestern Forsyth, for the past month. Since he will return to Tibet on Wednesday, a farewell event will be at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the farm.
Many participants took off their shoes, spread blankets or yoga mats on the church’s floor and some even laid across chairs as Kessler played the gongs.
He said music was used by ancient people as a healing practice and a spiritual tool.
“It’s a benevolent sound,” Kessler said. “The ancients believed that connects you with universal energy. At that time, when these technologies were being evolved, music wasn’t about pretty melodies. Music was about creating a connection with spirit. In modern times, we’ve gotten more sophisticated and our sophistication has trivialized that to a large degree. We don’t hold music in the same regard in terms of healing power as the ancients did. For them, that was its primary connection. It was a connection with source, and it was a way of creating balance, emotionally, physically and spiritually.”
Kessler, who is trained in Kundalini yoga, said the gongs work as a relaxation tool because the mind, which naturally seeks patterns, can’t find one and eventually “gives up the search.”
“In the absence of the mind’s constant chatter, in that quietness, a healing space opens up,” Kessler said. “What happens is the mind is reinforcing our daily shortcomings, that’s a lot of what it’s doing. We’re less than our mind gives us credit for. So when that lessness is quieted, the full healing and self-realization potential comes forward.”
Kessler said listening to the gongs and breathing deeply is a simple way of clearing negative emotions. The sound waves, he said, reconstruct DNA and heals people on a cellular level.
After Kessler finished playing the gongs, he asked the people to shake their arms in the air to wake up. Many people rubbed their eyes and giggled, saying they felt much more relaxed and peaceful than they had before the gongscape.
Prior to the relaxing gongscape, Sherpa spoke to the group and told them about his life in a Tibetan monastery, which he joined at the age of 13.
The people in the group asked him questions about life, death, health and healing.
Sherpa said it is important for people to have a peaceful mind.
“The mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy,” Sherpa told the crowd before guiding them in Reiki meditation.
He instructed the group to close their eyes and breath in deeply as they visualized the suffering and dissatisfaction of humanity and all other sentient beings. He said by focusing on the suffering of others, a person cannot help but feel love and compassion for others. He instructed the group to exhale and release feelings of love, joy and peace with their breath.
Sherpa, who has studied Reiki healing for the past 13 years, has worked to heal more than 5,000 people and taught more than 450 students.
“Every person has a healing skill, a healing power,” Sherpa said. “We naturally have a healing skill. The energy we get comes from the world, from the food you eat, the sun. Our bodies absorb it and we get the energy.”
Sherpa said with a peaceful mind, healers can use their energy to heal others. He explained the energy is everywhere, it is a part of everything at an atomic level. He said if a person has a peaceful mind, they are able to absorb more positive energy. He compared negative energy to a block of ice, it takes up more space than positive energy which is like water.
“We have the power in our body, and we release energy from every part of our body,” Sherpa said. “Especially the palms and eyes. We release a big amount of energy. This is a healing method, it is spiritual and safe.”
He said people can improve their personal health tremendously by taking care of their bodies, eating healthy foods and drinking water.
Sherpa said the most important thing a person can do to have good health and a peaceful mind is to remember to laugh.
“Always laugh,” he said with a grin.