Singing Chants and Feeling Peaceful

After a long hiatus from singing chants, I’ve been working my way back to a regular schedule.  Decided I’d rather sing a couple than say the lovingkindness chant today and it was so lovely.

Chose to begin with Om Radha Krishnaya Namaha (Joy and Bliss):

and then Om Shanti Om (Peace):

Felt perfect.  Hope you found peace and serenity today!

The music in me

Wikimedia Commons

My experience recently with Deva Premal’s 21 day meditation series, for which I sang chants every day, has me thinking a lot about music and its place in my life.  And possibly provided me with an answer for some long unanswered questions.

As a child my two main interests were music and writing.  The writing just came naturally.  I did it without thinking and had no goals or aspirations. Music I loved and wanted to pursue.  I took piano lessons for 12 years, voice lessons for five.  When I sent away for catalogs from music schools I was told that I couldn’t go to a conservatory; I had to go to a university and study something that would lead to real work.

I wasn’t the kind of kid who could just take off then and find a way to earn my own way through music school (it never even crossed my mind…) so I went to Northwestern, with the promise that I could switch to the music school there if I still wanted to after some unspecified time passed.  The music school allowed only classical music which wasn’t what i wanted to study. I also realized when I met music students that my training seriously lacked theory and I’d have a hard time catching up.

Later, when I was in a band for a while I realized that all the training left me not well suited for the jazz/rock style I favored.  And then that my talents were more suited to local community theater than the kind of unique career I wanted and I gave up the music dream.

In recent years when I contemplate my talents and desires and try to figure out who I’m meant to be and what I’m meant to do I often leave music out — I mean it really doesn’t cross my mind.  And if I do think about it I turn it around and contemplate it from different views.  I feel like I should want to because “they” always talk about how important it is to look at what you wanted to do as a child.  But as far as a life purpose or career pursuit, I just really don’t want to do music any more.

The Deva Premal series gave me a new idea.  I’ve also tried lots of different paths and never had much sense that one was more my path than another.  I like being eclectic.  But I’m now thinking that I would like to pursue the singing chants more.  SInging those chants opened up something in me that nothing else has and created an amazing flow.

I wouldn’t necessarily chant to the exclusion of all else but if I were going to start taking workshops again or look for a teacher, I think it would have to do with singing chants or kirtan.  It feels like a perfect way to express that musical side and at the same time follow my spiritual path — without having to make it a career or purpose.  In the  meantime I have plenty to learn and sing with on Deva’s Mantras for Precarious Times, Moola Mantra, and Gayatri.  And if I can find lyrics for them, I have a small kirtan collection.  So I’ll be singing along with recordings for now.

Sometimes it seems to take me a very long time to work through things like this but when the right moment comes and things start coming together, wow.  I can often see that I needed years of gathering bit and pieces to get to a more complete picture.  Do you have any loves or desires that don’t seem to have a place?  Or could use a re-purposing?

Ego Eradicator and CPS Open for Comment

Peace symbol for CPS

During my Marin visit last spring I realized that Buddhism isn’t for me and that my path is eclectic and leans a lot into New Age/New Thought.  Ever since then synchronicity has been afoot. I found a whole new array of bloggers whose paths are a lot like mine and new practices and ideas keep finding me.

At a time when the unwinding head stuff has seriously interfered with my practices and exercises (all that not sleeping alternating with migraines…) suddenly lots of challenges have popped up that just ask me to spend 10-15 min./day for limited periods of time and I’ve found that perfect in these circumstances.  The latest one came from a heads up in The Daily Love about a Gabrielle Bernstein video on YouTube in which she explains a short meditation called the Ego Eradicator.  The video is:  A Meditation to Bust Through Your Blocks.

It’s just three minutes of a mudra while doing breath of fire, followed by three minutes of quiet meditation (I’ve just been using the Buddhist of practice of breathe in, “I calm the body”, breathe out, “I smile”).  It instantly felt like my next step after completing the Deva Premal meditation series.  Having loved the Deva Premal chants I decided that I wanted to add the chant to destroy obstacles — seemed like the perfect pairing with a meditation to bust blocks.  (see notes below from yoga teacher me for suggestions regarding this practice–if you don’t practice pranayama and/or haven’t done breath of fire I highly recommend that you follow them)

One of the things I learned from the meditation series is that the tradition of chanting 108 times relates to the 108 major nadis in the body.  Nadis are the energy channels through which prana flows.  Chanting 108 times balances the body.  It helps attune you to the vibration of that particular mantra.  All the tracks on Deva’s Mantras for Precarious Times have a mantra chanted 108 times and it includes Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha, the chant to Ganesha, destroyer of obstacles.

Gabby’s video suggests that you do the ego eradicator for 40 days and I’ve committed to that.  I’m going to try to add Om Gum… each time but I’m giving myself permission to do just the three minutes of breath of fire with a quiet time.  I’ve done three days now of the three pieces, which takes a little less than 15 minutes and it feels GREAT!

You can also leave comments about your Sunday prayer, chant, meditation practice here for Collective Prayer Sundays.

Practice suggestions:  Most of my students who haven’t practiced pranayama find breath of fire challenging and if they do too much they experience dizziness/lightheadedness and discomfort.  I generally start them off with Bellows Breath, which is basically breath of fire slowed down.  Take a big inhale while pushing the abdomen out and then a big exhale while squeezing the abs in to release all air.  It sounds a bit like fire-place bellows. It helps to practice the motion of pressing the abdomen out with the inhale and sucking it in on the exhale slowly.  While that’s actually the natural way to breathe, in this country we usually reverse that pattern so this is a struggle for many people. Practice the pattern until it feels easy before trying to speed it up to breath of fire, which Gabby demonstrates on the video.

Once you have the abs motion I suggest you try 10 breaths of fire and stop to see how you feel.  If that’s no problem, try 20.  Do 20 for a few days, then try 40.  When you get to a minute start going up by 30 second increments every few days till you can do three minutes.  Then add the arms-in-the-air mudra.  It is seriously not a great idea to start off trying to do three minutes of breath of fire.  Breath of fire is not recommended for people with high blood pressure, heart disease or risk of strokes — talk to your doctor before trying this.

Ceremony Breakdown: My Chants plus Gayatri event and CPS open

http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00routesdata/bce_500back/vedas/gayatri/gayatri.html

Wikimedia Public Domain

Notes

  1. CPS open for comment; see CPS page for info; pray, chant, etc. minimum 10 min.  Facebook page
  2. Monday, September 30, for the last day of her 21 day meditation series, Deva Premal is inviting the world to participate in the Gayatri Mantra at 7 a.m. and/or 7 p.m. (or help the wave keep going by doing it when you can that day).  Go to this page to register and get access to the chant.  “It is said that this sacred prayer spirals through the entire universe from the heart of the chanter, appealing for peace and divine wisdom for all.”  See this site for more info.

For my ceremony I used others’ chants for the first segment but wrote my own spells for the two main pieces.  I did a lot of hunting but couldn’t find any spells that came close to accomplishing what I wanted and I felt like I wanted it to be mine anyway.  Most of it is self-explanatory (full ceremony script here).

The first one I wrote to call in my guides and ancestors.  Since Robyn’s vision of my ancestor was that she gathered powerful magic to shut down “the sight” for our line, I figured I needed powerful magic to break her spell.  Since I’m something below  a novice at wicca I felt I wanted assistance in bringing enough magic to the ceremony to counteract hers.

In the second chant I felt my two big challenges were to create wording specific enough to create the desired outcome and to write it so that other people in my line could be freed if they wanted to be but not to impact anyone who didn’t desire it and so that the ancestor could stay stuck as she apparently wants to.

When I called in my ancestors I felt the energy in the circle grow powerful and when I chanted to break the spell, I felt a big energy fly up from me.  Otherwise, as I mentioned at the time, no dramatic impact.  It just felt like I did what I set out to do and it felt GREAT!  I highly recommend creating your own ceremony for important issues.

Ceremony Breakdown: The Chants

Ganesha by Kirti Krishna Badkundri on Wikimedia

For a “wiccan” ceremony I suppose some would consider it odd to spend the first half hour saying and singing Tibetan and Sanskrit chants.  But as I’ve pointed out before, I like to put together elements of different traditions that speak to me.  If you’ve not been following along on this journey, I’m going to list some posts below.

The overall reason for chanting, after calling in the four directions to consecrate the circle, arose from my sense that I wanted my vibration to be in the highest and best alignment to the desired outcome.  Ordinarily I would have chanted the lovingkindness chant for myself, but since it was also Collective Prayer Sunday, in this case I chanted for earth (making it a two-fer???).  No matter for whom I chant my heart always opens and fills me with loving energy and that seemed like just the way I wanted to start.

The second chant, which I sang along with Deva Premal (it’s on her Mantras for Precarious Times album) was Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha.  It’s a chant to Ganesha for Removing of Obstacles.  I’ve chanted it off and on for years, originally just speaking it but when I got Deva’s recording I sometimes just played it for hours. Then I began to sing along.  I love its power and it seemed a perfect choice to call upon Ganesha for assistance in destroying an obstacle given that my ceremony aimed to remove the obstacle placed by my ancestor.

The third chant I just learned by participating in Deva’s 21 Day Meditation series.  Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya is a chant for Liberation.  I loved it immediately (really I’ve been loving everything in this series) and liberation also seemed a good theme to add to my ceremony.

By the time I finished chanting my energy had grown and flowed through me.  I felt powerful and full of heart and ready to go.

Some of the posts that have chronicled this story:

The Unwinding Head Saga

Healing Journey: Jaw Connections

Opening to sight: the shaman, the witch and the ancestors

Stern and Stingy Ancestors

Working on Your Ancestors

Healing the Ancestors

Cranio-Sacral, Completion and Challenge

The Witch is Back

Ceremony Plans

Breaking the Ancestor’s Spell