Have you ever tried chanting to learn its hidden powers as a channel for disarming obsessive thought, calming the mind, and preparing the ground for Nibbana to arise?
From ancient times, sacred chants have invoked higher energies, adorned rituals, and expressed faith, homage, healing and celebration. More potently, chanting is a leavening agent, an internal cleansing that divests the mind of toxins and impurities, freeing it from its insatiable habit of feeding on thought.
We chant not to remember words or conform to rituals but to unify our attention through repetition. Whether silently observing the breath or intoning mantras, verses and words of reverence and praise for the highest, the mind is trained to stay present. With sound, we enter the selfless vibration of it – not the doer ‘doing’ it. We open to being what we truly are, rather than what we think we are.
When we chant pure sounds, the body becomes an instrument. We viscerally interact with our environment through vibrations – sound energies reverberating within and flowing out again. More practice yields more pure sound until we are silent, for silence is the ground of being – and of sound.
One way animals restore themselves after an attack and regain equilibrium is through the trembling of the body. We too, as humans, can intone rhythmic vibrational waves that relieve us of locked-in fears, grief, anger, or regrets and restore us to profound inner peace. The senses unify and soak in the sound of the breath itself. Trusting the heart’s innate goodness, we feel uplifted and restored. We connect in the same chord of pure presence born from our purity of intention.
In village India, I learned from local women how to remove debris from their raw rice using a flat basket ‘plate’. They toss the rice up and down in the basket so that any grains of sand, small stones or other detritus separate to one side while the cleaned rice remains on its own.
Chanting does just that for our mental health, removing debris from the mind and tuning us to the pure resonance within us. As we chant to that frequency, we balance inwardly – as if we were grains of rice bounced up and down until all the detritus of life’s painful memories and past traumas are evacuated from our system.
These intonations are both fathomless and timeless. Indeed, our life is a spiritual chant, from the cry of a newborn to the last ebbing of consciousness into the arms of our karmic unfolding. And if the heart is pure, we shall hear the sound of silence at the dawn of its awakening.
So may you chant with all your heart and bless the moment.
© Ayyā Medhānandī 2023