Why the gong indeed. I suppose 2004/5 was a pivotal time. A drummer/percussionist since my teens, I had also been involved in exploring electronic sound synthesis as far back as the mid-70s when the likes of the Mini Moog and ARP were still quite a novelty. By the turn of the millennium, I was happily ensconced in my studio making music entirely in the digital domain.

Then something quite interesting happened. Life changing, as it turned out. I was invited to spend some time in Sri Lanka, where some friends ran a yoga/meditation retreat deep in the jungle. What musical instrument could I take? With no electricity it was no place for modern electronics so I opted for a little wooden tongue drum, which makes a beautifully mellow sound when struck with small mallets. I wasn't practising yoga at that point but one of the yoga teachers there invited me to play in her class. The little drum proved a real inspiration for the students as the rhythms reverberated through the through the wooden floor, helping them to remain centred and to better hold their postures as the practice unfolded.

And then there was the bird song. Awakening early in my jungle hut I was entranced by the dawn chorus - an amazing natural cacophony of harmonic dissonance that I would later record and incorporate into my music compositions, blending electronics with Buddhist chant, shamanic poetry and other sounds of nature - waves breaking on the Brighton sea shore being a particular favourite.

Gong Healing I made several trips to Sri Lanka during this period, culminating in an awe inspiring visit early in 2005 when, over the course of a few days, I played my tongue drum at dawn on the summit of the holy mountain of Sri Pada - and in the Japanese peace pagoda at the mountain's foot for the head monk (who would each day RUN up the 2,240 metre peak to bless the pilgrims who'd trudged to the top). Then in an audience with the chief of the Veddhas - the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka. And culminating in a truly humbling encounter with child survivors of the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami on the east coast of the island. Playing that little drum in front of more than hundred 3 to 14 year olds - most, if not all, had lost family members in that dreadful disaster - then have them all join in with anything at hand. And on the beach that had brought them so much anguish...

Gong Baths and Meditation On my return to England I was in culture shock - obese kids sitting outside the Churchill shopping centre in Brighton munching on their McDonald's hamburgers is my abiding memory of that time. So, in pretty short order, I took up yoga, gave up smoking, changed my diet, and bought my first gong. Soon after I found myself at Gaunts House, a retreat centre in Dorset, for Gong Camp, a gathering of sound healers and musicians, where I met my teacher to be Don Conreaux, the world's foremost authority on the gong, and experienced my first gong bath. I was hooked!

Don was due to hold a ten day gong study retreat in England in the summer of 2006. It was cancelled for one reason or another and the next one was in November of that year in.. the Patagonian Andes. So I went. And that's when my life really changed as I was gradually immersed in the mysteries of the gong. High in the mountains with 20 or so other devotees I began to explore this extraordinary instrument, in transformational use since the dawn of the Bronze Age more than 5,000 years ago.

Author's Bio: 

Evolve Wellness Centre is innovative and pioneering yoga centre in the heart of london. As well as providing a variety of yoga classes in London, evolve also hosts personal development and self growth talks, workshops and on going events. If you're looking to experience less stress and more balance and peace in your life this yoga centre could be the place for you. Discover gong baths in London, as well as a huge variety of yoga classes and self development programmes and experience increasing levels of bliss and energy. Visit http://www.evolvewellnesscentre.com