jeudi 6 novembre 2014

The Soundcloud of My Loving Meditations

Every month or so, I participate in a chanting session that makes me deeply happy.

I am sitting on a cushion, with thirty or forty people, accompanied by a few musicians (among whom is the lead singer): for two wonderful hours, we chant Kirtans and other sacred songs from various cultures.

The couple who organize these monthly events is very inspiring, and the whole atmosphere makes me completely at ease to sing my heart out, or to whisper my feelings through the foreign words, in resonance with the unexpected places where the chanting takes me.

To me, this is a complete form of meditation – in which heartbeat and breathing, mind and heart are aligned.

When I sing these simple lines over and over, the meandering river of my breathing becomes deep and wide...

Thoughts loose their reasoning power - they become a state of mind, which in turn is transformed into harmonies, soothed and re-energized by the fact that everyone is joining their voices.

Solutions arise, doubts are dissolved, understandings take place, but all of this happens in a random way – even as you focus on placing your voice correctly, you are really into the vibrations of the song, carried by them, carrying them on.

Of course, I can hum these mantras by myself – and I often do because the melodies have become a part of me – but here, within the loving cloud of sound that you are co-creating, the chanting brings you to another level, on many aspects.

In a way, it is a metaphor of life, since we are all givers and receivers of this sweet magic :o)

At Millesgarden (Stockholm), which I visited with Pierre a few years ago. A quietly blissful place.

My favourite aspect of these chanting sessions is the shifts in rhythms and moods from one song to another: this allows you to really feel the spirit of every mantra, in your whole body. Joy, gratitude and awareness are literally flowing through your bones and muscles.

Simultaneously, your consciousness expands to the whole room, to the world at large; to your past, to your loved ones. 

Often, I get clear, unexpected visions from people who are (or have been) meaningful for me. I greet them into my heart, into the song, into the loving river of living things, where we both belong.

This time, I actually felt the benevolent, knowing presence of a grandmother and great-grandmother of mine, sending peaceful vibrations that reached me in gentle ripples slightly above my head. (Where the crown chakra is located, apparently.)

My great-grandmother Yvonne, on my mother's side.
As shy as she might appear on this picture, she was a truly happy kind of person, whom everyone would refer to as a special lady.

They seemed to be telling me: “You are doing good, Emmanuelle.”

My grandmother Louise, on my father's side.
Always elegant, a wonderful cook and a woman with a flair for design and commerce, she was very affectionate with all of her grandchildren, wrapping us in her arms before devouring us with kisses.

My friend Solenne was sitting close by (we often attend these sessions together), and it was a joy, as always, to hear her soft voice intertwined with the others', and with mine.

At some point, I became particularly aware of the subtle balance you must find and constantly readjust - when you improvise with a group of people – between receptivity and confidence, listening and finding your voice, harmony and inspiration – and I was flooded with the revelation that this process is central in every aspect of our friendships. Or any sincere interaction. 

I learned that if your attention is truly open, if you listen carefully, without any expectations about the voices around you, unexpected notes can rise, and create new harmonies every time. 

It might sound obvious, and you would think I had figured this out before… Finding this balance has indeed been a very real preoccupation of mine – but during that chanting session, its actual meaning was softly imprinted in me.

And tears of gratitude were running down my cheeks.

Have you had similar experiences while chanting, or meditating? 


7 commentaires:

  1. i so love the micro and macro in this post your photos and words. kirtan as a moment, and kirtan as life. your description of your process and experience really imparts the soft open heartedness of not only what you were feeling, but also of YOU.

    i want to reach through those photos of your grandmothers and thank them for helping you come into being, i feel gratitude for them, your ancestors. i'm so glad they visited you.

    and the photo of that lake. i could drink that in all day.

    i've never gone to kirtan, but i have sung the songs, especially during times of strife, and i have found them to be remarkable for calling in support, whether it be from just aligning myself body, heart, soul and mind, or if it is actually the presence of unseen beings, i don't know. but those songs have gotten me through rough times.

    much love to you! happy fall. xo

    1. Oh Mary, your kind and thoughtful comment moves me so much that I am speechless.

      I feel doubly gratified for every hour of pondering and carefully choosing my words and pictures :o)

      And your encouragements do sustain me in my quest for balance and receptivity.

      Also, I felt the same about your own ancestors, when I was reading your post about visiting Maine!


      Happy fall to you and your merry family xo

  2. dear, sweet Emmanuelle. I sometimes wonder the meaning of our paths crossing & now I truly know that it is so I can learn from the deep wisdom within your words & unfurl those parts of myself that I keep hidden for fear of judgement. This may sound heavy but for me it brings an amazing lightness and deep sense of love.

    1. Dear Chontelle, I am so humbled and happy at the same time that my words can have such a positive effect on you! Yet I really feel like a messenger of all this - subtle or strong feelings inspired by the beautiful beings around me, which I can often perceive even through simple glimpses.

      One visit on your blog and I wanted to stay: your photography is infused with a deep love for the world, from nature to humans, birds and other animals. And it has a quality that made me feel as if I knew you, though I had no idea this would be reciprocal. I feel grateful for our paths crossing :o)

  3. Wow, there's so much here, like Mary says, changing currents of focusing close and distant and back in close again. I've definitely had those experiences meditating AND just singing in a group. You put them to words so beautifully. Thank you.

    1. Well thank *you*, Milla, you make me blush :o)

      It's good to know you and Mary having similar experiences each in your own way… My own meditating practice is very tentative, and I am unable to read music and sing at the same time, so these chanting sessions were a revelation. This sense of oneness that I usually get with Nature could be found right there among strangers, all of us brimming with joy!

      But the reason I tried to describe it all in this post was that last Sunday, I really felt I had reached the next step, for me - which was not finding my voice (anymore). It was listening in the right way. And that was something that had eluded me for years, as hard as I tried, as despaired as I was about this elusiveness.


    2. … you and Mary *have* similar experiences… (sorry, not enough sleep!)