Finding Yourself in Los Angeles


As you prepare for your sound bath, there is a little courtyard of hammocks and junkyard art where you can lounge, dream, pant. A statue of the Virgin Mary sits among a cactus grove. I wondered if they purchased her in Downtown Los Angeles, at the shop that sells only Virgin Marys.

When it was finally my turn, I entered the Integratron alongside my fellow sound bathers — hipsters, Mormons, surfers, aliens, a pro basketball player — and lay down on my mat, ears turned heavenward.

The sound hit me like a tsunami. For a moment I couldn’t breath. I wondered if I would have to leave. You don’t often encounter sound that pure, that encompassing. It was loud, but not necessarily in the volume-sense we normally consider. It was not turned up to 11. Rather, it was voluminous all around, inhabiting every pore, burrowing its ways into my bones.

Gradually I relaxed, accepting this sonic intrusion. Then, welcoming it. The bath lasts about 25 minutes; only a dozen or so extended notes are played on the bowls during this time. After it was all done, when I finally managed to extricate myself from the dome’s embrace, I had trouble walking a straight line. My chakras had not been bathed, they had been power washed.

As I was leaving, I overheard a couple arguing whether they could make it back to the city in time to catch their favorite yoga class. The traffic would be “fierce,” said the man. I wanted to tell him about the labyrinth, about festina lente, about the Dictaphone in his glovebox. I couldn’t find the words.

“How do you feel?” a woman in a cowboy hat asked me, spotting my chakral wobble.

“I feel like I’m in a movie,” I said.

“Amen,” she said.

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