News and Views from The Chiron
Writing our own story in the universe of sound.
So, there are sound therapists, sound healers, sound practitioners, sound alchemists and a whole host of other sound workers. Across the world, people working with sound have that very human need to label themselves, to belong to a tribe. Together, they offer people relaxation, sound healing, soundscapes, journeys, meditation, sacred sounds and just plain sound to listen too and become immersed in.
We have been working with sound for quite a long time now and since moving into our centre at The Chiron, in Stoke, two years ago we have completed over a thousand sound sessions and that means we`ve gonged somewhere in the region of six thousand participants, that`s an average of more than one session a day! It would be easy and very tempting to try to label what we do and who we are. In fact we still call our sessions `gong baths` because that`s an easy term to use and one that`s beginning to be more widely recognised. However, our sessions have gradually been evolving over time to more fully represent our relationship with the power and potential of sound. However, this makes it even more difficult to categorise ourselves. Whilst we still offer entry level group work purely for relaxation through sound, at the other end of the spectrum our deep themed guided journeys open up a whole new level of possibilities as they take people into inner landscapes of infinite space and beauty. We find that these are the places where an even greater depth of healing in mind, body and spirit can often occur. Each journey has a different focus reflecting our beliefs about the universe and spirituality and to create a deeply healing metaphorical story the subconscious can, and does, work with.
This has thrown up a `categorisation` problem for us, in that every individual who joins us has a unique experience on these journeys, no one session is the same and the experience is for every person each time someone comes reflecting the way sound honours the individual and meets us where we stand. That`s amazing, but it does present us with a problem, it makes it all but impossible to find the vocabulary to explain what people might experience and we certainly don`t want to limit their experience by confining it with a tight description. Words are sound tools too in the same way as the instruments we use so we are constantly trying to use them carefully . Each session starts with a longer or shorter meditation using words in a particular way to prepare for the other sounds. These guided journeys are unique to us and our way of working.
Our collection of instruments and our space are fabulous and powerful, but that`s not all we wish to be defined by. Ego cries out that we have brought together one of the largest and most varied group of sound tools in the world and we are not aware of anywhere in the world with a dedicated space quite like ours. However, it really is the people who matter to us the most, and the wonderfully varied community which is building around us. The anecdotes of spontaneous healing and change are incredible. The experiences people have on a daily basis are amazing and mind-blowing. Just like our guests, the sound vibrations weave their magic for us too and our way of working is also expanding and forging a new path which is exciting, vibrant and dynamic; and this is a much truer demonstration of the power and potential of sound than any `elevator pitch` could ever communicate.
By not labeling ourselves too tightly and by remaining independent of local and global tribes we can remain free to continue developing in ourselves and our work. Our authenticity and commitment to our own beliefs remain more important than fitting into a preformed mold . Helping and supporting people to develop themselves as we develop ourselves on our journey is more important than holding a title on a pedestal and as the saying goes `we are just walking each other home`, for which we are creating a new sound track. At the Chiron, we are writing our own story in the universe of sound, and just like for all of us this is just the beginning of a new chapter.
John and June Shapter, Healing Sound Practitioners and founders of The Chiron Institute UK