August 14, 2011

Let’s chant: how sound accelerates our spiritual development

In this lifetime as well as others, I’ve been incarnated into cultures where the sound of music and the pulse of rhythm serve as the prana or life force that flows through my sacred, spiritual self.

The Dance of Shiva

Like the dance of Shiva the destroyer, while my soul DNA clearly recalled the profound indelible mark that chanting the Hindu mantras left behind, my daily grind threatened to erase them – or so I alluded myself into believing.

Since my return from India in early 2009, this was my first time being fully immersed in an environment where two hours of daily meditation and chanting was a welcome core requirement.

I am still awash with gratitude that I was able to share this ashram experience with my beloved kindred spirit. In hindsight, I’m not yet entirely convinced that I would recommend such a trip for just any old couple’s first holiday together. In such a pure setting with virtually no distractions, I was constantly confronted by myself and my stuff. At times when the baggage was too much for me to unload, he was there without judgment to assist.

With the chanting tapping into all of my chakras, especially my heart and throat, being on an emotional roller coaster was in a nutshell, situation normal.

Each passing day, I observed myself, my partner as well as those around us shed layers of cloudy grey auras that were quickly replaced by the various magnificent colors of the rainbow. This is the transcendental effects of invoking our truth through our voice.  There is something deeply authentic in chanting that has absolutely nothing to do with one’s singing abilities or lack thereof.

By at least the third day, one begins to notice that they would be chanting as naturally as they would be breathing. Meals were prepared with the entire kitchen in sacred song. In addition to the wholesome, organic nutrition provided by these healthy meals, as we savored every delectable bite we were mindful of ingesting love and devotion.

There are a myriad of reasons, many of them scientifically proven, on the healing effects and impacts of sound on the body.  Experiencing this first hand however is an entirely different – wonderfully so – matter.

Satsanga, Savasana and Surrender are the key ingredients to leading a healthy, happy and holy life.

Satsanga, the Sanskrit term for when we gather in community of like-minded others is precisely what occurs when people of all nations, ages, races, sexual orientations, etc. unite as human beings in voice.

Bhakti yoga, that which is concerned with the devotional aspects of yoga lives in the chanting of the sacred mantras. Bhakti is concerned with the continuous and bountiful flow of God’s divine and sacred love.

While we may recognize that we need a break, being able to pause long enough to actually take it is an entirely different matter. Yet every day in every moment, we have a chance to pause – if we would only honor ourselves in so doing. Too many of us catapult ourselves into our asana practice – at which point we’re only engaged in some sort of physical exercise – at the end of which an invitation to just die for a few moments in savasana or corpse pose so that we may re-emerge renewed and restored seems too threatening.  Instead, while lying there we check out of that sacred moment of nothingness and into planning errands, outfits, meals and a whole range of other mindless activities.

We needn’t isolate ourselves on some beautiful Caribbean island with crystal clear waters in order to surrender – though it sure does help!  The gift in surrender lives in being able to just be in every moment that life presents us.

Om Namah Shivaya, I honor the Shiva consciousness within.


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