Happy Wednesday everyone. I hope you are all staying warm and enjoying this glorious snow day. I enjoyed it by sleeping till 12:30 p.m. Am I lazy, or was I just rejuvenating myself, hmm? Speaking of rejuvenation, I chanted last night. I am aware that saying I chanted last night sounds super weird and confusing. Let me explain.
My friends Ellen and Elizabeth are in a religions class in which they are required to do a total of two hours of chanting per week. What I mean by chanting is just repeating a phrase or word over and over again for an extended amount of time. Ellen told me about this earlier in the semester, and since then I have been dying to try it. I have never chanted before, but it is something I am definitely interested in and intrigued by, so when Ellen told me she was about to chant, I hopped up on the opportunity and joined her and Elizabeth.
We chanted the phrase, “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,” over and over again for half an hour. Ellen said her teacher said the phrase is basically nonsense, but Google tells me it is a Buddhist chant that means “I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra,” whatever that means. Anyhow, we went into my friend’s room where soft mood lighting set the stage for our chant. I sat criss-cross-applesauce on the floor and closed my eyes. As we started chanting, I noticed myself naturally swaying and bobbing with the beat of our words. At first I focused on the way my mouth felt as it shaped and said the words, but after a while, I honestly wasn’t thinking of anything. I heard the consistent sound our voices made, but other than that, my mind was pretty blank. I was expecting to let it wander and think about whatever, so having no thoughts other than the words I was saying was surprising, but nice. My body felt really heavy, but kind of free and the same time. My head especially seemed heavy. I would release my head periodically, looking up at the ceiling and letting the weight of it fall back. It felt like such a strange combination of heaviness and freeness, it’s hard to explain.
After 30 minutes were up and we stopped, I felt so good. I felt really calm and tired and settled. It honestly felt like we chanted for about 10 minutes, rather than 30. When I walked out of the room we chanted in, I honestly felt like I left a vortex of sorts. I know I sound like a crazy hippie, but it was such an incredible experience, and I will definitely do it again. In fact, I encourage you to chant as well. Hit me up and we can even chant together sometime (I am being totally serious).
Have a great rest of the week, stay warm, and thanks for reading