Chanting in the Heart

     I find that sounding meditation, or chanting, is useful and interesting. Chanting often leads to an altered state of consciousness. It is in altered states that deep healing happens. 

     I was first introduced to sound healing by my good friends, Cynthia and Fabian Maman, founders of the Tama Do Academy, in 1998. We met through our sons, who were best friends in grade school.

    In 2001, I learned sounding meditations from the Kundalini Yoga tradition from Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa PhD, of the Guru Ram Das Center in New Mexico, at the “Therapeutic Applications of Yoga,” conference in Estes Park CO. It was the day after 9/11, and we chanted the healing light mantra, “RA MA DA SA SA SAY SO HUNG,” into the world. 

    Vibrational sound therapy is found throughout many cultures and traditions. What I find fascinating are the commonalities in diverse traditions. For example, the sound “AH” seems to be common ground as a sounding for the heart- to awaken the heart, to open the heart, to return the heart to God or love, or fill the heart with love. 

     The Hawaiian word, “ALOHA,” translates to “open your heart,” or “love.” When we sound the word, ALOHA, we sound “AH,” twice. 

    The Arabic word, “ALLAH,” is chanted or sung in the Sufi Tradition (the mystical tradition of Islam) in order to return the heart to the Beloved. I learned this from my friend Cynthia, who is currently studying at Sufi University. When sounding ALLAH, the sound of “AH,” rings twice. 

    The Hebrew word, “AHAVAH,” which translates to “love,” is chanted in the Kabbalah (mystical tradition of Judaism), teaches Catherine Shainberg PhD in her book, “Kabbalah and the Power of Dreaming.” We may sing AHAVAH in order to return the heart to the positive vibration of love anytime that we feel darkness (ex. fear, anger) creeping in, similar to the usage of the word, ALLAH. Dr. Shainberg teaches us the simple practice of singing “AH HA VAH” to the tune of “MI DO RE” three times. When sounding AHAVAH, the sound “AH” rings three times. 

    The Sanskrit words in the MAHA (great or big) mantra are: “HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE, HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE.” In the Vedic Spiritual Tradition of India this is a transcendental sound vibration of three of the holy names of God. My friend, Gopal Damerla MD, teaches that chanting this mantra brings you fresh life energy from God. You may recognize this mantra as George Harrison and the Beatles embraced it in their lifestyle and music. The “AH” sound is released in each one of these words: “HARE,” “KRISHNA” and “RAMA,” All together you sound “AH” twenty times in one round of the MAHA mantram. Dr. Damerla is currently doing a research study exploring the effects of the MAHA mantram on the heart. 

    I am thankful for all of these chants for the heart. I find that they are like a life preserver during difficult times, and ring true to course in returning me to the Light, softening and bringing my heart home to love.