My name is Wayne Marto, and I'm an artist, musician and sound healer.
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and I’m a member of the American Sound Healers Association.
I come from an extended family of musicians and have been blessed with the gift of rhythm and an ear for music. My first instrument was the drums but I settled upon the bass guitar in my early twenties after becoming captivated by the powerful deep tones of the instrument.
Since my teenage years, friends and confidants have often told me that I should be a counselor. It seems that people feel comfortable telling me their problems, and I take a genuine interest in trying to solve the riddles that perplex them. I have always been passionate about helping others and care deeply for my fellow man.
After finishing college, one thing led to another, and I found myself working in corporate America in hot pursuit of the American dream – collecting and consuming all that I could afford (and even much that I couldn’t).
That all changed in my forties when I began questioning myself about the meaning of life, and what purpose my life might serve.
I was standing in front of a mirror, having just returned from a typical business trip the night before. As I looked at my bloated face, I realized how the "good life" had taken a toll on my physical shape. I was 40 pounds overweight and had developed the physic of an egg! Something had to change.
Conveniently, Lent was right around the corner, so in a move of pure vanity, I decided to give up anything that didn’t "empower" me. So I gave up alcohol, cigarettes, TV, not exercising, overeating, and anything else I could add to the list.
As a cradle Catholic, I had attended Catholic elementary school, gone to Mass regularly, and was even an altar boy, but I couldn’t say that I was very spiritual. I remember a profound moment during my First Communion Mass, when I was overcome by intense feelings of peace and joy, in a way that seemed, at the time, exclusive to me.
However, as I aged, like so many of us in the West, I placed my priorities on peer acceptance, entertainment and the pursuit of material possessions. Looking back, I see that over the years, I developed a habit of being the life of the party and filling my idle time with entertainment of one sort or another. I continued to hone these social skills with great gusto right up to the Lenten period in February 2011.
During this time of reflection and withdrawal (both figurative and literal), I found I had the time and mental fortitude to ask myself some of the heavy questions about life.
It was at this time that I took an audio course titled The Lost Christianities - a fascinating study of the early formation of the Catholic Church. This was a significant turning point in my spiritual journey, as I was more open to exploring other religions and traditions after having realized the fundamental differences of opinion between what Jesus taught and how those teachings were interpreted.
Over the next year, I took courses and read books ranging from The Nag Hammadi Library and early Gnosticism, to Hinduism and Buddhism. I cried over the fate of the Cathars and marveled over the Zen-like teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas.
I visited Hindu and Sikh temples and learned about the five pillars of Islam and the four noble truths of Buddhism. I was a sponge absorbing and questioning everything.
At about this time I was introduced to the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, the great Indian yogi and guru who initiated millions of Westerners to the teachings of yoga and meditation. Perhaps more so than any other author, the words of Yoganada deeply resonated with me.
I have since read many of his books and consider his classic work, The Second Coming of Christ, to be a lifelong companion on my spiritual quest. Ultimately, I learned from his teachings that a daily practice of yoga and meditation is an essential part of well-balanced spiritual development.
The next signpost along my journey was the discovery of Eckhart Tolle and his transforming book The Power of Now. His teachings - that present moment awareness holds the key to liberation - rang true to me in a very profound way, and I constantly refer to his teachings as a way to remain grounded and "in the moment".
It was right at this same time that I heard the gong for the first time and was deeply moved by the resonating, vibrational healing qualities of the sound. It was an instrument like no other. I was swept away by a reflective sense of renewal, a releasing of unwanted emotions and a powerful sense of strong new beginnings.
With great zeal I explored gong meditation at Kundalini Yoga studios and on various meditation CDs and DVDs. I rushed out and purchased a Paiste 36” Pluto planetary gong and began pounding on it regularly.
I have enjoyed the distinct pleasure of studying under Kundalini Gong Master, Mehtab Benton, a direct disciple of Kundalini Yoga founder, Yogi Bhajan.
His insightful teachings on style and technique have been invaluable in helping me develop my unique intuitive style of playing.
As I began to play more regularly, I noticed some significant and interesting changes in my life.
In general, I seemed more relaxed and at ease with myself and the world around me. I was not getting bogged down in circumstance but rather was rising to the challenge of living, and in fact, thriving in an increasingly stressful work environment. My relationships improved greatly, as I was more tuned in to those around me.
One of the big surprises for me was an explosion in creativity as I started painting for the first time in my life.
The gong has put fire and passion back into my life, and I seem to be more balanced, assured and able to make clear decisions and distinctions.
After about a year of regular gong meditation, I realized what would be most helpful to me (and anyone new to gong healing meditation) would be a simple chakra balancing guided meditation that was not too long on words and that incorporated exceptional gong playing. My inability to find what I was looking for was the catalyst I needed to create the Soul to Spirit Meditation CD.
The content for the meditations comes from various books, lectures, online courses, personal insights and Divine intuition.
After listening to the CD regularly for several months, it became clear to me that I had created something that was extremely powerful and that I needed to share what I'd learned hoping that others on similar soul-searching life trajectories might also benefit from their use.
Spiritual exploration is like peeling an onion (not just because you will tear up at times) but because one new revelation brings another, and yet another. Over the course of my spiritual “deep dive”, I have come to have a decent understanding of most major religions through the filter of Western and Eastern traditions – that is, the revelation of God to men from outside the human spirit vs. the finding of God by men from within the human spirit.
As I look back on that fateful moment standing in front of the mirror in 2011, concerned only with my physical shape, I realize now that I need to be concerned with my overall shape; my physical, spiritual and emotional shape, rather than just my physical appearance.
During this spirit quest of the last several years, I have uncovered some simple truths by which I try to live my life. Playing with the "shape" theme, I developed an acrostic poem that keeps me on track:
M-Meditation (improves mental clarity and intuition)
Y-Yoga (increases flexibility and strength)
S-Surrender (acceptance promotes the ability to deal with adversity)
H-Humility (simplicity focuses our hearts on God and others)
A-Appreciation (gratitude for the miracle of life and all that we have)
P-Prayer (for guidance, strength and courage)
E-Exercise (for an oxygenated body full of vitality and energy)
Honoring each of these simple truths keeps me headed in the right direction. Of course there are other key variables at play to staying balanced and on point - a healthy diet, limiting alcohol and intoxicants that cloud the mind, and reading scriptures and case studies on self-actualized individuals, for instance.
But inevitably, if I am feeling that something is not quite right in my life, feeling sluggish or uncertain, usually I am falling short in one of MY SHAPE areas.
The gong has forever changed me, leading me on a journey of awakening, and uncovering a life passion: to share these healing sounds with all those willing to listen.
I hope Beneficial Sound gong bath meditations become a regular part of your personal "wellness program" and that they help you to heal physically and emotionally and deepen your spiritual awareness by adding vitality, creativity and peace to your life.