This will probably make it into a drawing some day.

September 21, 2008 at 11:45 am (culture, interesting, personal, Uncategorized)

Originally uploaded by amywilson

For about a dozen reasons, yesterday was one of the weirdest days on record.

To just focus on one: Around midnight, a friend of mine and I were at Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, waiting on line for our chance to lay in a chair while two guys struck gongs on either side of us. The sight of this performance/experience/whatever-you-want-to-call it was so instantly captivating that it carried us through a half-hour wait; you knew just by looking at it that this was going to be an experience worth having.

It would be nice if this video had sound to more clearly communicate what it was like, but I’ll try to do it in words: You lay down on this chair, hands by your side and holding two crystals (the gong guy told me, “These crystals have been held by over 2,000 people!” which actually grossed me out more than it connected me to the cosmic energy of all those people… but still, I get his point), with a sensory deprivation mask blocking out all light. The two guys start striking their gongs on either side of you as you lay there. Eventually, one of them comes out with a singing bowl and plays it close to your face, and then the experience is over.

Of course, what it felt like was another thing entirely. Somehow these two gongs form this sort of cone of sound around you – it feels like you’re going into an actual physical tunnel, and the rest of the world just sort of melts away. You fall into this in between space, but at the same time you’re zooming through it. As mundane as it sounds, the best I could really equate it to would be riding through the Lincoln Tunnel on a motorcycle (sans car fumes) – you can feel the space whoosh around you while you also have the sense of being enclosed in this other, larger space.

It was incredibly relaxing and reminded me of the last five minutes of yoga class, where you’re just laying there and breathing. Except of course, with the gongs that state just comes upon you immediately – you just drift from your everyday state of mind to this very relaxed one, without an hour of yoga in between. Laying there with my eyes closed, I felt a sensation that I often feel at the end of yoga class – that of this strange, constant movement in my body (not like breathing or my blood rushing, but more like frenetic dancing or lashing around, but a more pleasant version of that than you might think).

This sort of frenetic energy is something I’ve tried to capture in drawings before but have been unable to; it’s actually something I think of a lot of when I try and position myself in my work – the sensation is that of almost (but not quite) having two selves, one which is in constant motion.

I’m still ruminating on this and not quite sure what to think.


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