There is a saying in Buddhist teachings that when we chant, we are polishing the ego. That is to say, we are rubbing away the fears that keep us from living in joy, every moment of every day. The Buddha spent his life sharing the message that we ALL have the power to live in peace and happiness. It is not something that we must struggle to attain. Rather it is our natural state...and we can make our way back to that state with a bit of devotion and a bit of focus. When we take time to spend with our true Self, honoring that Self and listening to it's message of Love, we find this happiness in an instant. The tricky part?...spending the time to actually DO IT.
For all the many philosophies I've studied along my path, there are two that really resonate with me. They're both so similar in their teachings, and the rituals are also very closely related. Not surprisingly, both are also considered "pagan" philosophies (I hesitate to use the word "religion" because they aren't really. Although, many use that word to define them, it's not quite accurate. But I digress...)
In both Buddhist and Native American teachings, the focus is on harmony. Rather than "praying" to some god, both traditions honor Universal Law or The Great Mystery. There is a common thread that reminds us to cherish all Living Beings, stand in Truth, and practice Kindness at all times. Instead of "asking" for help from some All-Powerful Entity, we are urged to embrace our own Power and tap into the Source to co-create our lives. Instead of fear there is joy. Instead of helplessness there is empowerment. Instead of waiting to live, we ARE living.
I suppose one of the (many) reasons I love these philosophies is that they both use sound to raise energy. The Native Americans have those incredibly powerful chants that make me want to dance around with feathers in my hair. Then there are the drums. The heart beat of Mother Earth. The rhythms of the Universe. Oh, how I love those sounds!
In Buddhism, there is the monotone chant. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo...over and over and over. At first, that sound can be a bit maddening (depending on who you are and how averse to 'droning' you may be) But the magick of this chant is in the resonance. It takes on a rhythm that vibrates through the entire body...and on out into the Cosmos. It can be a most electrifying experience. I used to be strongly opposed to this chant...because it made me feel like I was going to lose my mind. But something happened along the way...and now it's an entirely different feeling. One that grounds me like nothing ever has. Between the two (Native American & Buddhist), each has it's own marvelous way of bringing me to some altered state where there is no fear, no pain, no thought whatsoever. A state of BEING.
I suppose I'm sharing all this right now because I'm feeling immense appreciation. I'm feeling like there's nothing in the world that could disrupt this knowing...that all is well and I am 'safe'. The fear and anger that were once the mainstays of my life have all but disappeared. Not entirely (yet!)...but vastly diminished. It's a beautiful thang!
And, because there have been some strong messages from people I love who are pained and struggling, I thought it might be helpful to put this out there...for anyone who might need it. The short of it is:
It doesn't matter HOW you do it. Just find a way and MAKE the time to spend with your Self. A half hour a day will transform your life. Whether it's to meditate or chant or dance or play in the park...spending time with You is far more important than racing around to "get more stuff". If you will commit to spending this time each day, you will see the proof for yourself. In my world, proof is the fuel that keeps my Spirit coming back for more.
But that's just Me.