WHAT better way to cure a hangover than to have your impurities shaken loose by the healing vibrations of a gong bath? Lying in the candlelight, wrapped in a blanket, Sunday’s gloom seems an eternity away. But so do a lot of things when you shut your eyes and listen to Kat Bumbul’s meditative gong playing.
It all started from my hash cake experience in Amsterdam. I was tripping and I had a message...
Raised in Lithuania, where she is currently building a remote retreat, Kat gives gong baths every other Sunday at Covent Garden’s Buddha on a Bicycle. As well as healing with sound, she also hosts Chinese tea ceremonies – where the casual one mug, two sugars is turned into a detailed multi-sensory ritual.
How did you first learn about gong baths?
It all started from my hash cake experience in Amsterdam. I was tripping and I had a message – I had to do something connected with drums, rhythm, music. I started to read about drums and learn to play them. My first teacher was a tabla teacher – Indian drums, the most difficult to play. I was also looking on the internet for books on how drums affect us, healing with drums. I was always interested in alternative healing therapies.
When did you start that?
My parents liked when I put my hands on them when they had headaches. It was completely intuitive. I helped some people to get rid of fevers and pains. When I was looking for books I noticed a book on healing with gongs. I thought, wow, this must be something. I found a gong meditation in Camden. I knew it was for me. The same day I went to that gong meditation I bought my first gong.
What happens in gong healing?
You are in a deep meditative state. It connects you to something universal. You remember things or you know things that are most important to you. It’s a kind of bliss. For everyone it is completely different. And in different gong baths you have different experiences.
Do you see things?
Yeah. Colourful dreams and visions that are different to normal dreams. It’s also a very physical experience. It’s massaging every cell. It has very strong resonance. Singing bowls resonate as well. Singing bowls massage comes from the properties of the singing bowls themselves.
Do people react very emotionally?
Sometimes. If you have anger or fear somewhere hidden deep inside you it will spill out on the surface. If you want to get rid of something you can’t hide it, you can’t just bury it somewhere. You’ve got to face it. Sometimes you experience that emotion but usually at the end of a gong bath it’s gone.
What else are gongs used for?
They are used for many things… Buddhist or shamanic traditions, meditation. In the shamanic tradition it is secret how they are used. It’s all very strictly guarded and there are many speculations. They’re used as space clearers; this is not a secret. Many practitioners use singing bowls for this purpose.
How did you learn to play gong?
I bought my first gong and I was learning by myself from that little book. I went to a couple of workshops on how to play gong, how to us them in therapy. There are basic playing techniques you’ve got to learn but also there is a lot of intuition. You don’t have to be a musician. You’ve got to let the gong play through you.
How did you start getting people to your classes?
I started offering singing bowls massage. Then I bought a big gong and started to do gong baths in Buddha on a Bicycle. At the moment they’re every other Sunday. My dream is to have a place where I have a tearoom for tea ceremonies and also the gong baths. Chinese tea ceremony is called Gongfu. We appreciate how the tea looks and smells. It connects you with the Earth and the Heaven and with humans, who are in between.
This Wednesday Kat will be hosting a gong bath and tea ceremony for the winter solstice. To find out more visit www.soundmysterium.com
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