Chanting: A Communal Experience
Every Sunday morning at the Woodbury Yoga Center in Connecticut, group meditation participants “rock-the-house.” It may not be always pretty or perfect but for joy and enthusiasm, we can’t be beat. On average ten people come to the program although it isn’t always the same ten people every week. Still, every Sunday I watch a magical transformation take place.
We come in as ten separate entities each in our own personal states and gradually we begin to operate as a unit. Although one person is designated as the host for the morning, everyone knows what is needed for set-up and many people pitch-in. As we begin to chant the Divine name we are often ragged and un-unified but as each of us comes into alignment with the resonance of the melody and the words we also come into alignment with each other–all tuning to the same vibration. When this happens, the slightest impulse to increase speed or change the chant in some way will be picked up by the group and the Energy can direct us any way It wants.
This is similar to what highly trained musicians experience when they play together–the ability to detect and respond to the smallest impulses of direction and inspiration within the music. Musicians operate as one unit as a result of their attunement to each other while each person is playing their own individual part.
By the end of the chant we are rocking-out together. I love that we don’t lose our individuality in the process. There are many individual “whoops” and shouts of “bolo!” (sing!) and if someone wants to try something new such as adding a verse or new words, they are free to do so and the group will either follow or hold its own. We allow for each other to be creative and derive energy and inspiration from each other’s creativity.
This little half-hour of chanting is fun and joyful on so many levels. It is a microcosmic experience of what I love about being part of the DYC community. It is the same experience I have in the dance of seva (service)–when the Energy is directing you and you are moving in synchronicity with the other sevites. Or when you are in perfect alignment with the people you are serving and are able to give them just what they need.
I am grateful for these experiences and for the subtle instruction from Ma contained within them. When I let go of having it “my way” I experience the joy of creating in a community. This trade-off is always worth it.
Love to All!
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