Many people ask me about the Sacred Song & Gong experience, how I came up with it, what to expect if they attend, etc... So, I decided to try and formalize my answers to these questions by writing them below.
The idea for the Sacred Song & Gong meditation experience was born out of some powerful personal experiences/encounters with spirit-based musicians, along with my own evolving musical/spiritual evolution.
I always knew there was a magical aspect to certain music from my earliest days of being drawn to it's power. Whether playing or listening, there is this experience of dropping into "the zone", that state where the logical mind steps aside and you find yourself a pure witness-awareness. Time becomes very elastic (hours seem like minutes) and a feeling of deep relaxation/connection/euphoria are typical results. I experience this mostly through music that was improvised (or "Channeled" in New-Age terms), where the music is being created in the moment, requiring the musician to surrender and open to allowing the creative muse to flow through them. On the other of the coin, there is the emotional power of a beautifully crafted song or melody, which can trigger sadness, longing, passion, joy or ecstasy. The practice of allowing and creating in the moment, along with learning the craft of songwriting to create an emotionally moving piece of music, has been invaluable for my understanding of how sound and music can take us to that place of deep stillness and spiritual connection.
"Todd brings an incredible positive energy to all that he does. He has an amazing gift of being able to lead people in a joyful experience of the divine through music. We all get bogged down in the daily details of life. Participating in one of Todd's musical programs is truly a transformative communal experience that helps us remember the joy of life and the healing that is possible through music and sound."
Rev. Cathy Grigsby, Director, Interfaith Ministers of New England
My journey with Sacred Song was crystalized by my first encounter/experience with Deva Premal and Miten. It was at a weekend sacred music retreat at Krupalu Center for Yoga and Health back in 2004, and it was the moment I fully realized my spiritual and musical paths were one in the same. Writing songs not for entertainment, but as vehicles for meditative practice was a wonderful opening that led me to where I am right now. Learning about Kirtan as a simple form of call and response spiritual practice was another big breakthrough which reaffirmed the ideas that simple is better, it is a practice not a performance, and it is an experience co-created in the moment. As I began to open up to my songwriting muse, I found that original melodies and simple lyrics were coming to me on a regular basis, and the "God-Bumbs" (what I call goose-bumps) of approval signaling the arrival of something "true" were (and still are) a regular occurrence. You can hear some examples of my original Sacred Songs here.
I talk about The Gong in greater detail on my Gong Journeywork page, but suffice to say that my 20 plus years of working with these amazing instruments has opened up a powerful pathway to deep transformation, relaxation and healing. People are amazed by the ability of the gong vibrations to affect the body/mind and encourage the small still voice to come forward and be heard.
The Sacred Song & Gong events typically begin with a brief introduction and moment of centering silence. People are invited to join in and sing along with me as they feel comfortable, and after a song is finished we allow space for silence (no applause). The songs are simple tools to help us relax, tune in, and remember who/what we really are........ The last half hour is the gong meditation, people are encouraged to get comfortable and totally relaxed to receive and allow the sound of the gong to take them deeper into that meditative heart of stillness. After the gong is complete we again honor silence, and close with a sung blessing or prayer.
"Todd has complete command of the space. With his calm Presence, he gently guides the whole process with smiling eyes. The vibrations from the Song & Gong experience sent echoes throughout my body that seemed to reverberate the rest of the night, into the next day, and possibly all week long. An awesome experience."
Rev. Carol Gosselin
For me, the combining of these two modalities is a natural next step, and a wonderful opportunity to share my passions and purpose of helping support Life's journey. I hope you will join me at a future event, or contact me with any questions or ideas for presenting a Sacred Song & Gong event at your church, yoga studio, spiritual center, or private residence (I love house concerts!)