The Journey Within: Gongs, Tunnels and Binaural Beats


It began by crawling on all fours inside a tunnel of a mirror-plated cabin.

Let me explain. I recently experienced a traveling, multimedia art installation created by L.A. based artists, Moral Turgeman and Rachel Conant. "The Little House in The Cosmos" started its tour at the MAMA Gallery in Downtown LA. I was lucky enough to explore it with a small group of fellow creative types, convened by art critic Shana Nys Dambrot.

"The Little House" contains miniature dioramas, kinetic sculptures, a crystal shrine, and an anatomical heart, all inside of a kaleidoscopic mirrored wall treatment. You have to pass through a tunnel to enter this other-worldly space, and once inside, you'll experience binaural sound therapy. Turgeman often works with commissioned based, conceptual art pieces and has used binaural sound waves as an aid in her meditation practice for five years.

Before I get to the sound therapy part, I have to admit that I was a little nervous crawling through that tunnel to get to the meditation room. After two cups of morning coffee, my adrenaline was on high and I had just finished re-telling a story about an MRI scan I had on my back a few years ago. (In that case, I'd felt claustrophobic as soon as I'd crawled into the machine, and the only way I got through the scan was by having the receptionist gently place his hand on my shin while I lay in the machine. Seriously. I needed a connection to the outside. Apparently, this is pretty common. (Freaking out, I mean. Shin touching, I'm not sure.)

Pictured: The tunnel leading to the interior of the cabin. Photo courtesy of the artists.

But crawling through the tunnel at "The Little House" was nothing to be alarmed about. It was such an extremely short, easy distance. And I had no choice: The front door to the house does not open so I had to be okay with being a little uncomfortable. It was perfectly unconventional. Somehow it all made sense.

The artists set the sound therapy for our particular group to "evoke creativity." Once I relaxed into the small room with my headphones on, sitting on the soft cushions, I melted away into a trance-like meditative experience. I noticed a visceral urge to slide into a pool, a sensation so strong, I could almost feel my body submerged in water. Others in our group expressed an energetic feeling at the top of their head that lingered even after leaving the cabin.

Pictured: Inside the cabin with a view of the tunnels. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Pictured: Looking through the tiny peephole after the sound therapy. Photo by Shana Nys Dambrot.

Just two days before experiencing at "The Little House," I went to a Kundalini yoga class for the first time in years. I couldn't help but draw a connection between the two.

Kundalini can be uncomfortable, both emotionally and physically. You're doing weird motions, and sometimes for what feels like eternity. During the class, there were a couple moments where I wanted to scream, "Are we going to do this repetitive exercise for the rest of our lives? Is it never going to end? Get me out of here!" I was tired. But somehow it was also funny. We were clapping and moving right, then left, repeating the same thing over and over and over. I laughed out loud a couple times.

But at the end of class, I laid back and heard the glorious sounds of the gong that the instructor played. It is so loud you can't tune it out, so powerful, you must pay attention. The gong vibrates so deeply within me, it feels transformative, if only for a few moments. The binaural beat therapy at "The Little House" brought me back briefly to the sensation of the gong. Forcing me to the present moment when my mind wants to wander elsewhere. Connecting me back to the infinite, a sense of vastness, a feeling of balance.

We are more than our outer being, or in this case, the mirrored reflections, whether it is an exterior of a house or an outer body. The home is not out there, but within. I so appreciated the reminder.

"The Little House in The Cosmos"
is now traveling to New York City, where it will be on display at the Rumney Guggenheim. It eventually may end up at Burning Man.