Transforming Difficult Emotions Through Singing

“The Name repeated with either good or evil intentions, in an angry mood or even while yawning, diffuses joy in all the ten directions.”
~ Tulsidas (1532–1623), Indian poet-saint. (Quote shared by Krishna Das in the jacket cover of his CD, “Greatest Hits of the Kali Yuga.”)

Chanting (singing) has been one of my daily practices for more than fifteen years, and I have been chanting a forty-verse prayer called the Hanuman Chalisa for more than ten years. Each day when I sit down to sing along with a CD by Krishna Das, I acknowledge whatever is present in me in that moment, and then ask for help as needed.

One morning last month I got really triggered by something right before I was going to do my chanting practice. I was in an utterly reactive state, so I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to do the practice, but I sat down anyway, feeling angry and depressed. I said a prayer, asking that my difficult emotions could be transformed into love…

Well, it took the entire forty verses for that transformation to happen! This was the first time I had this experience: I chanted the forty verses in a gruff angry non-singing voice with clenched teeth, and felt like I was possessed. And in fact, I was possessed, by my own toxic angry reaction… After chanting the forty verses that way, as I began the after prayers, suddenly I was singing in my normal singing voice! The healing, transformative power of the chants is so miraculous! I felt so incredibly grateful to be softened into love again.

Sometimes when we get angry we have to do the mental work of searching for the root cause and then consciously transforming and releasing the anger through understanding… But sometimes we can just simply sit and sing, allowing the healing sound vibrations to melt the anger into love and joy.

Can you relate to this experience? Have you ever dissolved anger through singing?

May All Beings Be Free of Suffering.
May All Beings Be Happy.

May our singing diffuse joy in all directions!

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

 

Three Hours Left

Dear readers, the intention of this post is not to induce fear, but rather to impart feelings of awe, appreciation, positivity, connectivity, and rootedness in the priorities dwelling in the ground of your being.

Imagine that we humans discovered that in three hours time, some natural force was going to cause planet Earth to explode and entirely disintegrate.

What were your first thoughts when you read that?

When I imagine that there are only three hours left, my first thoughts go towards trying to grok what would happen to everything and everyone… Where would all of our souls go? What would happen to all the memories and experiences and energies?

All of the stories would just be done. All of the histories, cultures, art, music, inventions, and creations would be gone. It is mind-blowing to even consider the ramifications of such an explosion. All of the mountains, oceans, rivers, deserts, canyons, forests, flowers, birds, butterflies, cows, and bears would be gone. And what would happen next?

After considering all of that, my next thoughts go towards deciding how to spend the last three hours. I decided I would spend the first hour calling loved ones and saying good-byes, and the last two hours praying and chanting (singing sacred mantras). My intention would be to die consciously while feeling connected to the Divine Source. To me, that would be the ultimate Surrender to God. I am not sure what happens to us after we die, but I know that when I am singing spiritual songs, I feel connected with Something Greater, and I feel calmed by that Force from beyond this realm. So, I feel that chanting at the time of death would be a way to die peacefully.

I began chanting as a daily spiritual practice more than fifteen years ago. I usually sing along with CDs by my favorite chant artist, Krishna Das. One day in 2008, I was evaluating my priorities in life, and I suddenly found myself saying out loud, “I want to live inside the chant.” Well, at that time my sons were 8 and 11, and I was busy with many worldly responsibilities, so it was not possible to live inside the chant all the time!

Now I’m in a new nun phase, but still there are many things to do each day beyond chanting. So when I think about my priorities if there were three hours left, versus what is happening in my life now, it makes me wonder if I could somehow commit to chanting more each day… But, then I also think that if you knew you were about to die, and you wanted to die a peaceful, conscious death, then of course you would drop everything and just focus on that. Whereas, if you are still in the midst of full-on living, you can’t just drop everything and do your top passion all the time.

What do you think about all that? What would you do if there were only three hours left, and how would those priorities line up with how you live your daily life now?

I hope this post inspires you to feel awe and appreciation for this sacred planet Earth, as well as rootedness in the priorities dwelling in the ground of your being.

May you feel positively connected to everyone and everything!

 

 

image Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech