Andrzej Maria Marczewski “Nieznany świat” in conversation with Tom Soltron Czartoryski
The editors of Nieznany Świat are proud to award Tom Soltron Czartoryski with the NWS (Unknown World Magazin) Certificate for his contribution to portraying Life as Travel through the World of Sound, to the innermost depths of the Soul.
Each of one of us is stamped with a passion. Every human is a creative being. Some dedicate their entire life to the pursuit of creativity, sharing it with others, forging artistic networks; others perhaps merely offer the rest of us the hint of possibility of traveling down that road, which is, after all, available to everyone. Others seize their passions and tap into them to change their life, or at least to glimpse the variety of paths that life lay open for to us to follow.
Ultimately, “I” am only another “you”. This is a concept to which we find it hard to reconcile ourselves; one yet harder to accept if we consider the consequences in which it results. Once we reach deep into ourselves, however, and acknowledge that we exist in a state of universal connectedness, we are soon awash in a rainbow of life’s new colors; we suddenly gain a different view of the landscape of reality and fresh interpretations of ageless truths, even though in the past they may not have felt as our own.
Still, we need someone to spark in us these discoveries at this very moment of our existence when we return to the timeless questions of, “Why are we here? Who are we? What are we destined for?” Since ancient times, art has interpreted such questions for us within the framework and imagery of our consciousness, which in turn dictates how prepared we are to confront them. And when art widens our worldview, expanding our awareness, it also raises our emotional intelligence; thus, with a newly burgeoning sensibility, we are able to experience the process and the forces that allow us to ripen into who we are; we feel our personalities take shape as the potency surrounding and pervading us both enriches and evolves us.
Tom Czartoryski is a creator possessed of an intuitive discernment of which paths ought to be explored and which goal merits our perseverance. He recognizes the right path because it directs him toward goals, and leads him to places of rendezvous with those of us who desperately need his assistance: both for ourselves and our own other selves. This is the way of a world which provides the relief of profound transformation in the souls of those who have yearned for just such transformation, and who are now ready to embrace it.
Tom’s art is the art of life: he uses it to guide him toward the fulfillment of his own divine destiny, and to hold fast to his ultimate goal, all the while embodying the faith to which he is beholden. According to program assumptions, New Art Master Models are designed to portray such visionaries and their art.
Let us take advantage of this exceptional opportunity to listen to our award recipient.
AMM: Dear Tom, let’s talk about life, keeping questions and answers in a sacrosanct order of importance so that our approach remains honest and in earnest. 1. What does the concept of life mean to you?
TOM: Life means experiencing every moment, every conscious point in time. It is the inhale and exhale of each breath, an evolution of consciousness as it travels along the scale of sound and transforms itself from moment to moment. Today, life is a walk suffused with love, a stroll through the woods with your beloved, or children, or friends; yesterday, life endured the tight shackles thrust upon it by the system, filled with pain and struggle for survival; tomorrow, life will simply be; it will be everything it is.
It is hard for me to define life with any measure of precision because whenever I assign it a name, it evolves into something else a moment later. It would be easier to compare life to a river which begins its course – is born, if you will – as a meager stream, and from the quiet shelter of a mountain it launches its descent and rushes down headlong, joining one branch of consciousness after the next; those, in turn, rouse in me forgotten bygones, and bring forth memories of my ancestors, of past experiences and deeds; they give me sustenance to come to accept and even cherish previously rejected and polarized parts of my past so that they no longer hinder my ability to realize the full potential of my soul.
Every subsequent branch expands my horizons further and opens me up to my current experiences, granting me the gift of being present in this very moment. Some take me on a journey into the unknown: a journey to a world I never even knew existed, whose beginning I did not recall, yet with which eventually I became one. Only now I have gained a keener perception and heightened awareness; an awareness, for example, of how multi-dimensional our existence is.
When I was 17 years old, the sense of déjà vu affected me so viscerally that I came to believe that when I went to sleep in this world, I would awake in another. This, I believed, was why I would remember people and places I could not have possibly known. This is life, our beloved life.
AMM: Please forgive my addressing what is an obvious truth, but I would very much like for you to define yourself by declaring and enouncing an appropriate word. You are the number one Gong Master in Poland and hence my next question: What do gongs mean to you?
TOM: Gong is an instrument which helped me awaken within my dream. A metallic disc brought to life by a mallet – the will – from which an ocean of sound gushes forth, it is a cosmic maternal womb, where a tiny seed of intention is able to give birth to experience. Just like a psychedelic plant, it allows me to see and recognize the field of my soul – as well as the socialization patterns that create our experience.
The rising waves of the gong sound pierce and fill the surrounding space with a succession of summation and reduction tones; they help dissolve the sense of my personal identity – sometimes in pain or in fear; sometimes in weariness or joy; embracing rejected personalities or patterns, offended, perhaps born of grief, or sorrow, or anger, but in the end opening my heart and my self to reconciliation; both dying and being born at the same time.
It is a beautiful feeling when you are given awareness of your own existence; yet know that this existence does not require a physical body to just be: to rove, run, fly, and swim; to love, to suffer; to be born – or to die. Equally beautiful is the state of being full of this experience, with no room for reason, which is forever analyzing and judging; when you simply exist, when you simply are – untethered to any idea, thought, or judgment. You are volcanic lava or the phoenix soaring high across the skies; or a cloud; the source of inspiration and creativity. You are!
At times, the gong brings rest – a penetrating, profound relaxation that gives a sense of relief to the body, relaxing it and freeing it of tension as every cell of your anatomy responds to the sound vibrations. The gong may be compared to a multi-dimensional vehicle that gathers everything into it and makes me feel complete. The gong offers the reboot experience, both for your mind and for your body.
Between 2003 and 2007, more than 1,500 of the people who experienced the gong described their experiences following the concerts. I wanted to organize and catalog them, then assign these descriptions “names” corresponding to particular gong type series and patterns; but I never managed to do it and, eventually, I abandoned the idea of trying to circumscribe the gong sound experiences into the framework of a system.
The responses to the concerts as related by the participants helped identify only several groups of experiences which show a varying nature. Despite the circumambient space being filled with sounds, those in the first type of experiences the participants are unable to close their eyes for a significant amount of time, but rather direct their attention toward the performer, or the ceiling, or the people next to them; they are listening to the sound of someone snoring, for instance, or other sounds from their immediate surroundings, rather than the sonance of the gong.
The second type of experiences, describe highly polarized, sometimes quite dramatic experiences from this life, or even from their past lives – in which the person in question may have been of a different gender than now for example, yet perceives without question that those experiences are their own. At times, the relating of such phenomena brings on a strong emotional response, while at other times they are reported as though seen through the lens of a moviegoer who is merely viewing a film about him or herself. It is as though the gong sound resolves conflicts with those dearest to you – it transcends death, invokes birth. In this case the identity of the listener is still engaged.
The third type of experiences involves those of participants who have already undergone a disassociation from their sense of “I”, and are instead in the state of being one with nature: they speak of having become a wave of the ocean; a bird, soaring high across the blue skies; the wind, the rustling of leaves, the northern lights, or simply a complete being united with the sound.
The fourth type of individuals, when called upon to describe their sensations, recalled nothing beyond deep sleep.
Here I have presented the experiences of the participants in a very generalized way: on my website www.toneoflife.com, you will find several dozen descriptions. As an aside, you may find it interesting that neither race nor skin color or belief system of the participants had any effect on what they experienced. I have performed in the Czech Republic, Sweden, Russia, a number of countries in the Baltic region, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, the US, Canada, India, China, Australia, and New Zealand. Depending on the culture of a particular region, there may be differences in the realm of archetypes, yet the experiences reported by all remain very much alike.
We are conducting research into the effects of gong sounds on the human brain. Having already connected dozens of our concertgoers to an EEG device, we were able to observe and record their brain activity during a gong session. These observations resulted in the unequivocal finding that in an individual exposed to a beta frequency sound (12-30 Hz), the neural oscillation will shift into an alpha frequency, followed by a deep alpha state, then theta, with several subjects recorded at the level of delta frequency excitation. During the roughly 45-minute-long exposure, all the participants underwent brainwave frequency sequencing similar to that of a 7-hour-long period of sleep.
Such fluctuations of brain wave frequencies correspond to specific personal experiences, with the highest levels of creative inspiration observed while in alpha and deep alpha (12-8 Hz) states. One might say these frequencies offer the optimal conditions for a healthy individual to reach his or her full creative potential. As the brain is relaxed and not engaged in the process of evaluation of its external circumstances, the body also relaxes into the sensation of lightness or heaviness, and you are open to experiencing love. In theta state (7.83 – 4.0 Hz), although the person falls asleep, his or her personal identity is still engaged; it continues to sense and experience emotions, resolve conflicts, encounter archetypal forms, and sporadically it witnesses its own sleep. Occasionally, in a deep trance, the self learns new behaviors – even new tasks. While in delta state (4.0-0.5 Hz), subjects do not report having had any dreams, but rather the proverbial black hole with nothing within it. Researchers contend that this is a mental state from which our body benefit the most: it grows and performs optimal hormonal management. With the absence of our personal identity, there is no longer tension in the body, our inherent, internal physician – i.e. our immune system – operates freely to its full capacity.
Ultimately, after fifteen years of working with the gong sound, I must admit that the gong is a very valuable instrument, first and foremost due to the role it plays in enhancing the development of human consciousness.
AMM: Let us expand then on this question and delve more deeply into the subject. 3. What does sound represent to you?
TOM: Sound… it is through the medium of sound that I am able to travel, learn, discover… I am able to experience emotions and feelings. Sound is the vehicle that carries me to a multitude of dimensions but it is also a dimension in itself – a land, an experience – the destination to which I travel. The sound of the various instruments and the elemets help me conceive the journey from the subterranean recesses to heavenly heights, from mother to father, for subconsciousness to higher consciousness, from duality to unity.
Many of my experiences are closely related to a specific piece of music which I either heard or composed. Each musical passage additionally serves as an expression of its underlying intention and, naturally, the acompanying words add a very concrete dimension to the experience. I am constantly discovering the significance of words and practice using them in a manner that fosters an affectionate and safe living environment to share with my loved ones, my family, and the entire community.
Do you remember the first sound you uttered after you were brought into the world? While still inside our mother’s womb, we are steeped not just in the sounds coming from our mother’s body, but also in the sounds that affect our mother in her own surroundings. For instance, people frequently describe Himalayan singing bowl water massage as invoking prenatal memories from their mother’s womb.
Later, we assimilate our own sounds – those coming from our body, as well as from the world around us. I traveled a great deal as I was growing up, and I recall hearing the sounds of nature, of the house I lived in, the sounds of my neighborhood, of passing trains, the city, the open farmers’ market, or the bus terminal. If you listen carefully, you will realize that you are always awash in the sound which envelops you from all sides, and when you cover your ears to cut out the noise of the outside world, you will soon hear your inner sound, akin to the hum of the infinite…
In the beginning, we react to all such sounds in an elemental way, and it is only later, in school, when we first encounter the concepts of western music based on duality and a very limited 12-tone scale that the octave offers, that we begin to identify sounds as “pure sound”, “a false note”, “proper”, and “improper”. “Teachers” had classified students into two groups – those who have an ear for music and those who do not – and thus began the process of separation for the majority of people in Europe and beyond: music became a luxury that only a very select few could afford. For the sake of curiosity, let me tell you that the Hindu scale is composed of 24 tones per octave, whereas the Persian scale features 54 tones; other cultures use microtonal scales without any empty spaces between individual tones: the entire range between C and the C of the following octave is filled with sounds, just like in nature.
I once read a saying attributed to Pythagoras (although it might belong to someone else altogether): when people sought his advice, he would ask, “When was the last time you sang?” In my life, I had gone through a period of 15 years of not singing at all, and that period was a very difficult time in my life. I felt this seperation from my inner sound, my voice, my intuition, like a seperation from love; my mind took on the role of a dictator in its dual form, internalized from the system in which I was growing up. At last, it was the sound of the gong that helped me to “dissolve” my mind and hear my own voice again. Something so natural, a gift from our own consciousness, can assist us in expressing ourselves and our emotions, in creating beauty, and composing the world in the manner in which we want to experience it. Sound fills the space unceasingly, and silence is full of sound.
AMM: And so your answer to question number 4. How do you perceive the world?
TOM: I perceive the world as an organism full of experiences, emotions, breaths, and the beauty of nature; it is an organism to which my body is connected as if I were an extension of a tree that began to grow here long before I arrived. The world, to me, is unity and diversity… The nature of my personal experience suggests at times that I am an individual, separate from the earth; in my life and with my actions I forge my own experience, but every now and again I realize that I not only experience my own actions, but also the actions of all other living beings who inhabit this world, as well as worlds beyond this one.
The world and all that is alive in it is interconnected and co-creates it: all the beings, plants, animals, elements, sounds, thoughts, and deeds; are a part and the whole. Each being makes its own, unique contribution to the co-creation of this world, creates its own unique experience, a role to study and play in the proverbial theater of the soul. The music of the world allows my individual experience to disintegrate and become a complete tree. Connecting with my roots to other trees – trees from other eras and other lands – I feel that much of our understanding differs fundamentally from what is supplied to us by the systems governing our world. The world is not a sum of the parts comprising it: of states, political, educational, or financial systems, etc.; these are merely instruments of socialization which, molded my existence – but in reality they mold my ego, my mind. The world is life, the life of every sentient being in functional harmony. The world is a song, the sum of all the sounds produced not only by people, but by all living beings.
AMM: Each of us individually, in the ongoing process of our life, stops to ponder how to create it: should we do so in the image and according to the dimension of our own expectations? How do you create your own World?
TOM: From vision to reality, everything began when I was 6 years old and sitting on a boundary marker not far from my home. I was relishing playing with turbulent winds, listening to and watching the dry thunderstorm and lightning, when I heard a voice telling me that I would accomplish unique things in my life and that I would travel extensively. I felt then as if God himself had spoken to me, and to this day I don’t know whether this was a product of my imagination – or did God indeed speak to me? It may sound somewhat narcissistic, but I trust that we were all created to accomplish great things in life, and that it is only up to us what we decide to do with this potential. Having worked with people throughout my entire adult life, I have come to believe that each of us makes our own decisions and choices, and that we construct our own convictions, which later evolve into agreements with ourselves. It is these agreements that in a large measure shape my – and our – life. Naturally, I take care to practice being a keen observer so that I may be fully aware of my own convictions and the agreements I make with myself; I also want to ensure that certain agreements, internalized subconsciously during childhood and in school, or adopted from the previous generation, do not mold my current existence.
Quite a few of the people who attend my workshops share their beliefs and/or agreements with me: “I can’t sing,” they say, and I answer: “How do you know?” They reply, “Oh, my teacher / parent / someone told me so…” We accept such ‘truths’ as ‘our agreement’ and that is why we feel we cannot sing. Everybody can and is able to sing, it is only our judgemental mind that questions our ability to do so. Have you noticed that a mind or ego that has been judged doubts its own ability more readily and yields more easily to manipulation when told what it can and cannot do; who he or she is and who he or she cannot be, what to do and what not to do; what it should accept as universal truth and what to discard? The system has been using this tool for centuries to detach us from the power of our own intuition. Indeed, this is just a simple example, as we can apply this to every aspect of our life: work, relationships, abundance… the love of self, and the love of life. Many of such agreements are inherited from our families, from our ancestors; we become more and more aware that we cocreate our belief system together with other people. Our children and grandchildren will carry on our “agreements”, and it is therefore crucial to practice being mindful, to be in the here and now, and to not allow our ancestral beliefs to prevail upon us, unless this is our wish and we accept it with full awareness.
We can terminate any agreement at any time and enter into a new one.
The concept of the word represents another aspect of creation: I am learning to use it with care, and it is only as an adult that I have come to understand the power, the significance, and the intrinsic energy it carries. I have an inescapable feeling that due to the growing intellectualization of the society and its component minds caused largely by information overload, but brought about in particular by our system of education, we are beginning to favor the mind and its so-called competence, brilliance, and intellect.
For me, true intelligence means wisdom, which in turn, is the manifestation of the spirit, and not of the mind. Instructions offered by parents and teachers reach the child’s hard drive and sprout – like a plant germinating from a small seed. Words lead to peace, and words lead to wars. Words mirror the state of the mind, as well as the state of emotions and feelings. A number of ancient texts also point to the importance of words: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” And so I focus on the words which lead to peace and tranquility; close relations teach me the importance of words. Prayer, songs feed our soul; every lyric of every song we hear each day creates us continuously, as do prayers. Even those quiet words, spoken only in the mind, even they shape our experience.
I am a Celestial Body
And the smile of Angels
I am the Way and the Destination
Your Best Friend
I am Night and Day
I am Reality and Dream
I am a bud on a tree
The heart which opens to you
I am the painful wound pain
Forgiveness that will set you free
I am the Tear of fulfillment
I am the drop of desire
I am the river of creation
Ocean of destiny
I am the Mystery of Existence
Another significant encounter of my childhood took place when I first stumbled upon the music of Bach: it was in an acoustically wonderful space of a church. It struck me like a powerful gong, one that carried me to an obscure place where I felt like an explorer meeting his destiny. A shudder ran the length of my body, culminating at the top of my head. All aquiver, I suddenly knew in that very moment that music serves as a window to one’s soul. Over the last few years of my work, in the course of discovering music as a platform – a portal to recovery and wellbeing – I have truly realized the importance of intention, of prayer as the first seed, that seed which brimming with faith and love we sow in our soul, waiting for it to emerge from the womb of chaos.
Have you ever pondered the idea that everything you experience in your life takes place according to your intention? Undoubtedly, you will reply that it is not so because many a times you harbored an intention that never came to fruition. And yet, if you pay close attention, you will find living inside you a multitude of other intentions, agreements, and beliefs that hamper the blossoming of the one for which you yearn the most. And who is the one yearning for it? The mind or the heart?
Another aspect is to not anticipate. I feel that anticipation leads to my growing attached to the path and the manner by which my yearning is to come true; in reality, however, I truly have no way of knowing how my intention will be expressed in the great field of consciousness. For many years now, in the presence of both small intentions and great ones, I have watched numerous times how the field can rapidly materialize needs. Five years ago, we were building the Peace Bell Garden at our Center, which was to include a stone circle. Having finally found several large stones I thought suitable in a nearby river some two or three kilometers away, I was deliberating on how I could bring them to our clearing. Resigned to the fact it could not be done, I asked the field for help and – two weeks later – a river engineering team arrived with heavy equipment in took to work on the river. Following a quick conversation, eight huge boulders were transported to our location that very same afternoon.
While working on the Solfeggio Meditation album, where each of the six pieces has its initial intention, I experienced every one of them throughout the entire time I spent on it – all told about three months for each piece. It became a profound, healing moment of my life, almost as if I had prepared for myself a musical medication.
To this day, one of the main objectives of our music workshop is that participants write their own composition, which we later record so that they can listen to it at any time and experience the same intention again. This is a profound creative process for all participants.
Many people ask me today whether the Solfeggio frequencies (396Hz, 417Hz, 528Hz, 636Hz, 741Hz, and 852 Hz) result in a healing effect since the New Age era we currently live in proffers a veritable treasure trove of information about medicinal and healing properties of such frequencies. I cannot confirm those assertions, however, I receive considerable feedback from listeners who say those musical pieces help them with various intentions. I do believe that my intention is the right medicine for me, and that music, or its quality, serves as a matrix for its birth. The more organic and holistic the music, filled with live sounds, summation and reduction tones, the greater its power and support; the rest is simply up to one’s taste in music, individual preferences of the mind, and culturally mediated predispositions.
Be in yourself Here and Now
Swim with the current as a river
Be a star that lights up the night
And the wind that gives thrust to the sails
I co-create the world I inhabit in the silence of my heart, and then I let the sounds pour from my hand, breath, muscles… dancing with every cell of my body.
AMM: 6. How do you perceive the people around you?
TOM: The people who surround me are like live gong sounds. When we strike the gong with the mallet – where the mallet represents to me, will, a father’s masculine energy, idea, intention, and the gong is the mother’s womb, the feminine energy – we propel into space tiny energy particles, or tones which in the sound field – just like people – find the frequencies that they resonate with, giving birth to new tones, like children (overtones and summation tones); and the children in turn look for similar frequencies in the field to create more new tones – new children, etc. Thus, they perpetuate the continuum of existence, until its final resolution. These sounds possess great power; I also call them live or healing sounds because they are endowed with reproductive potential.
Within the same sound field, within the field of life, there are tones or people with similar frequencies who meet but, despite their similarities, do not go on to produce offspring, and – having met – they dissolve. The western concept of music refers to them as reduction tones.
Then, in the same sound field, one finds tones which share no ties with other tones: they avoid one another, and no force attracts them; just as it happens with people. People, even though they have different names and surnames and come from different environments or cultures, are simply other versions of me: they help me experience myself, all my individual parts – both neutral and polarized – and all this comprises the path to loving myself. It seems that every conflict within us awaits its resolution and acceptance, and yet, were it not for another human being, we would not come to know ourselves. It is the others that allow me to explore in the mirror of my awareness my own self, and learn about myself through feelings and emotions that are aroused allegedly by others. For many years of my life, I did believe that it was those “others” who aroused in me one emotion or another – feelings ranging from one of victim to that of the executioner, from a dreamer to one on the verge of suicide, from a failure to a success story; I can list them all. At some point in my journey, I understood that I create all my roles myself, believing them then to be true. Somewhere along the path of existence, experiencing diverse situations, emotions, and feelings, I created my own image based on ignorance, or rather oblivion; forgetting the fact that I am God’s expression of love, and yielding instead to other people’s opinions and manipulation by governments, whether lay or ecclesiastical. I was forgetting that no one does anything because of me or for me, that everyone acts according to his or her own will and capabilities, and I don’t have to take anything personally. I can only take responsibility for my own actions, words, feelings, and thoughts. In fact, I don’t even have to take “responsibility” for all of those: it’s enough that I am mindful and aware of the now, and hold this awareness in the here and now in the simplest way – in my breath – and it will dissolve all the constructs of my mind. Breathe…
AMM: 7. And how do you view art?
TOM: Art puts me in touch with the soul; it brings me in contact with the field of consciousness. Art is an experience of being in the present and aware, be it by the means of theater, music, dance, or painting. For me, every act of will is art: beginning with exercise, cooking, going for a walk, meeting someone. Every single task, activity, or lack thereof, where I am consciously present and experience the mystery of existence, if only for the briefest of moments. Art is not a commodity to be appraised by a juried panel; art is the instrument that dissolves the jury inside our own mind. This is one of the main topics at our workshops: to raise the awareness of a person playing the gong or any other instrument to the level of art so that rather than generate mechanical sounds with his or her mind, they do so with their heart. We design our workshops with the objective of showing that every participant, no matter what opinion he holds with respect to his ability, is capable of dissolving that self-assessment and recalling the pleasure of being able to sing or play an instrument again, without thinking, without evaluating the performance itself. Many students, having discovered these moments of being separated from their voice or creative ability, coming most often from childhood or teenage years, take them in with acceptance and understanding, afresh, only to dissolve the pendulum of duality and, with a neutral mind, contemplate the awareness field from the perspective of art. I sometimes think how wonderful it would be if such art were taught in schools, even if only in music classes… Do music classes even exist anymore? Art does not instruct from the pulpit of authority but rather teaches from direct experience and thus avoids becoming the kind of “dry” information or experience we take for granted only because someone has made this decision for us. Instead, it becomes our own experience: transforming and expanding the participant’s awareness. I do believe art helps to heal man’s soul, to forgive, approve, and accept yourself the way you are, the way that I am, and to lay ourselves open to life and find inspiration to continue our journey.
AMM: 8. What role do you think art plays today?
TOM: The Mayans, whose culture disappeared around the 8th century AD, believed that time equals art. Nowadays, art is taking on a different role and that role changes from country to country. The mainstream system, needless to say, promotes the so-called applauded art, which focuses on celebrities and their fans, and sets new trends for the masses to follow. On the other hand, the last ten years have seen thousands of concerts outside of the mainstream: music and art festivals all over the world where, in the absence of popular celebrities, true artists bring their audience a novel experience: direct contact with the soul.
Now, tens of thousands of people are shareing their sounds with both smaller and larger communities, it has become a kind of medicine for the body and soul of the 21st century, awakening them to a life of awareness, which in turn leads to empathy. With the help of art we can release human potential, creativity, wisdom, and beauty, so that the places we inhabit, our planet Earth, our bodies and our souls may feel liberated, free from restraint, capable of solving conflicts without resorting to violence, but rather by employing mutual understanding and acceptance – in other words, discovering the power of love.
AMM: 9. How do you see yourself in today’s world?
TOM: Every day, more and more people play instruments, sing, and dance, immersing themselves in the contemplation of the field of awareness, each according to their needs and intentions, and in the process they bring peace to other human beings in the storm of their respective existence. The times we live in are more intense, and I consider it absolutely imperative to let yourself go during rituals such as, say, sound baths, if only to slow down the working frequency of your brain and improve the functioning of your endocrine system. Primarily, however, such concerts let you disconnect your mind which, due to information overload, expectations, or various forms of pressure, remains active round the clock and assumes control, pushing us into dualistic analysis, evaluations, and comparisons.
“Life is not a problem to be resolved, but a mystery to be live”
I encourage and inspire people to try innovative forms of creating music unlike any we have known so far, and to use art to pass on the basic values in which everyone finds importance in his or her own way. I don’t offer a ready-made solution; I do not teach; I simply share my experience and provide potential tools that others can use. From time to time, I manage to successfully complete exceptional projects with the assistance of wonderful individuals, who then open the doors for others.
I had the opportunity to play for people in prisons, hospitals, rest homes, schools and kindergartens, in theaters, and in churches; I played for the Maori, the Aborigines, Hindus, Arabs, the Chinese, and native tribes of South and North America; I played at weddings, funerals, and various ceremonies; and for many animals – even for the whales. The sound of the gong always produces similar effects: it dissolves prejudice, barriers, tension, and dualistic mindsets, reminding us that we all want to live in a world of peace, truth, and acceptance, with dignity and respect for ourselves and others. A few days ago, together with our friends and colleagues from a number of different countries and continents, we set up the International Sound Practitioners Research Association (ISPRA). Its objective is to carry out research and disseminate information about the beneficial effect of the gong sounds that reaches beyond its contribution to man’s wellbeing, as well as to promote musical education based on improvisation that combines a variety of models while also taking into account different cultures and approaches to playing with the sound. The world sorely needs it, particularly now, when faced with the brutal onslaught of technology. My 7-year-old son, who is currently in first grade, has no music classes but he does have computer classes.
AMM: 10. What do you consider to be most important to you?
TOM: Truth is important to me; not the truth other people have for me, but rather the truth I discover about myself and the surrounding world. My beloved, my children, and the friends with whom I live are most important to me; but I am also important to myself. I look at myself as an object worthy of exploration. Work, creativity, the act of creating, passions… Of all these music is the one I love most. Pristine nature is where I can live in touch with the Great Spirit.