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Meditation: A way to be with yourself

The renowned music therapist Vikrampal gives in Palma a training on the 'Gong Baths', by the hand of Sadhana Works.

After devoting 25 years to business management and university teaching, "after a powerful transpersonal experience", in 2012 Vikrampal Singh (Madrid, 1962) turned his life around. He leaves everything behind and trains in India, the United States, Sweden, Poland or France; he studies Rudolph Steiner; he immerses himself in Kundalini Yoga, and specializes in the therapeutic use of the Gong. "It takes courage to take that step, the cost is very high. But you can't transform yourself if you are the same person," expresses the mentor and music therapist, who this weekend gave a training on Gong Baths at Sadhana Works, "a conscious lifestyle company that aims to position the island as a reference in wellness tourism."

A decade ago, his life was very different... - In 2012 I decided to turn my life around. For 25 years I worked as CEO of a group of family companies, and alternated it with university teaching, as a professor of Industrial Marketing at the Pontifical University of Comillas. I feel an inner impulse to stop working with machines, to move away from engineering, and start working with people. I start training in systemic therapy, transpersonal coaching, anthroposophy or social triformation, and then I enter Kundalini Yoga. As I start practicing it with more intensity, I begin a very deep transformation process.

What were the reasons that prompted you to take such a radical turn?— Paraphrasing John of the Cross, it is said that many people begin their transformation from a dark night of the soul. This is not my case. I was very well positioned in the industrial sector and in the university, socially and economically. But internally there was something, like a very strong pulse, a voice telling me: "You can do something different". I thought "I'm a little crazy"; but in the end, a crazy person is the one who dares to do what others don't do. And you also have to have the courage to do it. Because giving up everything...

To renounce everything means to accept the response of your circle... -Sure. For my family, friends and acquaintances I had gone crazy. In fact, I was three years without contact with my family. But seeing the evolution, the growth and the impact, everything that is moving away comes back closer. Sometimes you have to have the courage to take the step, knowing that it has a very important cost. But you cannot transform yourself by being the same person, if your environment, internal and external, does not change. It is part of the necessary detachment to transform yourself.

Did you understand his position?Of course, the basis is respect. For me, this is key: we have to respect each individual's way of being and thinking. It is a serious social problem, today we are polarized with everything. We are eight billion people on the planet; each one sees life in his or her own way. In my path I have always respected all opinions and ways of being, because all the people who have approached me, especially those who see things differently, have taught me something. Something I can do or something I should avoid. Everybody has the ability to teach you something. Our motto is that the Gong embraces everything: embrace everything that comes to you.

Going to the central theme of the interview, meditation does not consist in leaving the mind blank... - That's right. I think it is a translation error of the first books that came from Asia in the 70s. The mind is always in movement, so it is impossible to leave it blank. It only leads to frustration. Meditation is a journey within. "Behold, the kingdom of heaven is within you," said Jesus of Nazareth. There is a barrier between what is within and what is without; between energy and matter. We live very focused on the material, and we forget that we are energy. When we go inward our senses are disconnected from the outside. This journey disconnects us from the outside, from space and time. It is nothing more than a path to be with yourself. The great challenge is to discover who we are: the answer lies within.

So, the Gong is a vehicle to make that inner journey?Sure, because meditating is very difficult. To meditate like a yogi you need a practice of dozens of years. I have been meditating every day since 2010. To go deep in meditation, you need a great ability to concentrate, to observe your mind; you must develop the muscles of the back, to hold the posture; you must control your physical body when your brain sends an itch to your nose... Meditating is not easy: it requires time, discipline and someone to guide you. The great advantage of sound meditation is that all you have to do is lie down, close your eyes and try not to fall asleep. In less than 90 seconds, the Gong takes you to the meditative space that yogis take decades to reach.

What are its particularities as a musical instrument?It is an ideophone, it generates sound by itself. Playing the Gong is like activating a symphony orchestra, with the ability to create binaural sounds and multiple tones. The Gong impacts on the brain, changing the wave pattern and disconnecting the neocortex, which allows us to get in touch with the limbic brain, where the emotional field is located. Here we can connect with a particular emotion, blockage or microtrauma. An emotional release is produced. The sound of the Gong also affects the heart, slowing the heart rate and achieving a slower and deeper breathing. It induces a state of deep relaxation. But it also has another effect: as we lie down with the soles of our feet facing the Gong, the sound waves impact on them, and from there a massage of the organs is produced as a matter of foot reflexology. The vibration also affects the tendons and muscle tissues, producing a relaxation of the musculature.

We start from the premise that we are water...- If we analyze our body composition, more than 60 percent is water. Sound impacts the 72 trillion cells in the body. That is its transforming power: to shake the cells and, by a principle of acoustic resonance, to make us enter into an appropriate vibration.

What does a Gong Bath consist of? It is a methodology that comes from Kundalini Yoga, created by Don Conreaux, following the indications of his Master Yogi Bhajan. For an effect to be produced, 45 minutes of Gong sound are needed. It is linked to the sleep cycles. The bath reproduces one of the stages we go through during sleep, and the effect can remain in us for eleven days. During this time we go on with our normal life, but self-observation is essential: what comes into our life, what leaves and what stays.

Your training is aimed at yoga teachers, therapists, musicians or psychologists and psychiatrists. How is music therapy perceived by the scientific community?The most important thing is to clarify that it is not an alternative, but a complementary therapy. The sound therapist can work as a team with the family doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist in cases of stress, anxiety or depression. We even complement treatments in the postoperative period of cancer. As sound therapists we do not diagnose, but work with the medical diagnosis and in collaboration.

What is the state of music therapy in Spain? It is well recognized. I have a Master's Degree in Music Therapy from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, in the Faculty of Medicine, and it qualifies me to work in hospitals. It has more and more weight, and it has a great impact: both music and sound therapy have a great regenerative and recuperative power in processes of stress, anxiety, insomnia and even depression. It is an important contribution to society and the economy because, for example, a sick leave due to any of these aspects can be reduced for a long time. Now I focus my work on scientific publications, to demonstrate the effect of sound therapy with Gong on the human being.

Is it suitable for skeptics?- It does not work if you have a negative attitude. Thought creates reality. What is needed is a neutral attitude, a willingness to experiment and see what happens. Last year we conducted a scientific study in 16 countries, taking a sample of 1,400 people. We measured the impact of the Gong Bath on this population and the results were incredible: in just 45 minutes you relieve pain, have more vitality, reduce the feeling of being sick, get rid of stress and anxiety, and help you sleep better. We are already preparing the paper. For me it is important that we have a spiritual language, but that when we talk about sound therapy we also do it from the neuroscientific language.

Why do you think so many people today embrace Eastern philosophical and spiritual currents of well-being and self-knowledge?

- It is very simple. Our lifestyle is at the limit of stress. It generates insomnia, so we don't have a clear mind. Then I worry excessively about a future that is very likely not to happen. This generates anxiety and, if I don't know how to manage it, I can end up with depression. But we have a drive to improve our quality of life. What do we look for? Spaces for reconnection and meditation, where we can be with ourselves. Our longing is to discover who we are. These kinds of practices are vehicles that allow us to reach this destination.

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