A Review of GongLab, by Catherine McGlynn

Posted on November 3, 2014

“For some the experience is meditative, blissful and ecstatic. For other’s it’s emotional, even transcendent, but in all circumstances it is a powerful and unforgettable event.” –GongLab Attendee

I didn’t know what to expect when I agreed to attend GongLab.  I had experienced several 15-20 minute gong baths during shavasana at the end of yoga class.  During that time the sound felt like warmth spreading over me and colors danced behind my closed eyelids. But I wondered what more than an hour long gong bath would be like.

I arrived early to the GongLab and observed students entering with sleeping bags and multiple pillows – they were obviously preparing for a very restful class.  Quiet anticipation filled the room.  After a brief introduction we settled on our mats and pillows and covered ourselves with blankets as the rhythm began.

I lay down in the third row with my feet toward the front of the room.  At first I was able to relax and drifted off into a meditative state, but after a period of time tension developed in my toes and spread up past my knees.  Aching set in and I felt the urge to leave.  It seemed that I was experiencing sensory overload.  I repeatedly concentrated on letting go of the sensation of being overwhelmed.  Soon the tension spread to my upper body and when the gong became very loud for the cleansing part at the end of class I had to bring my knees to my chest, hug myself, and rotate my ankles.

As I headed home I wondered what other people had experienced during the class and if my response were unusual?  I noticed that I felt a sense of relief and release.  It was almost as if time had slowed down a little and my clarity and awareness were heightened.  That night I slept until morning without waking – an unusual occurrence for me during the last few months.  I also found myself being extremely productive and quickly making decisions to move my life forward the next day.  I was eagerly waiting to see where else this journey would take me.

ollie-shu-lab-pic-circlesquaresfixed-webThree days after GongLab I was still feeling relatively stress-free and thinking clearly.  In fact, last night I was so energized that I went to bed two hours later than usual and felt rested when I woke the next morning. I have also started clearing out my office at work and tying up loose ends for several projects.  I am even contemplating tackling a complex project that was put on hold nearly two years ago.  Go figure.

It seems that GongLab is a bit of cure for inertia and I am happily making use of it. Thinking back to Saturday night, I realized that if I hadn’t decided to “endure” the discomfort of my experience of the GongLab I might never have discovered its benefits.  How often are we able to maintain perspective on a situation’s impermanence and relative harmlessness to reap rewards in the long term?  Have there been times in our lives that we just weren’t able to stay focused and not jump to conclusions about something we were in the middle of?  There have certainly been those times in my life and they will most likely happen again, but I am grateful that sometimes I can find space to not make snap judgments about a situation and provide myself with unexpected opportunities.  I am looking forward to the next adventure.