Monday, 20 May 2013

The Heart Opening Power of Mantras in Munich!

The Heart Opening Power of Mantras

Chanting sacred mantras really serves to open the heart. Energetically the tongue is very closely connected to the heart and so the words we utter can either open our hearts or cause us to become emotionally shut down. I have also experienced how chanting mantras can therapeutically bring to light the things you may not even realise you have stored away in your unconscious mind. During the Munich Kirtan last Friday, I suddenly recognised something I had 'hidden away' and yet which had weighed heavily on my heart for many years......

Since time in memorial, knowledge has been a dangerous commodity. Dangerous only to authorities because it has potential to set the people free. When I was fourteen, like most teenagers I was on a mission. But unlike most other teenagers, my mission was to find out about all the enticing subjects that were considered contraband in my household. Hence my frequent trips to the town library (where no doubt my conservative Christian parents thought I couldn't possibly get up to too much mischief) became the highlight of my school holidays. Far more than the house parties I was never allowed to attend, or the local nightclub I would climb out of my bedroom window with my fake ID and hitch a ride to. Because there at the public library (this was just before the internet was available in my part of the world) I could sit and placate my adrenaline junkie nature, by pouring over books that made my heart pound and my stomach churn every time I turned a new page.

I know I sound like a super nerd don't I? Perhaps I was. I did after all grow up in a sheltered religious environment in Southern Africa. In some ways idealistic, in others rather oppressive. My parents were painfully sensitive to my strong willed nature and inexhaustible need to know, aware that they and their congregation might 'lose' me if they did not keep a tight rein with me. And as I navigated those generally angst-stricken adolescent years, I discovered that pretty much everything I found fascinating was thoroughly inappropriate and subject to grave disapproval. Me becoming a singer like Alanis Morissette in the 'immoral industry of music' was absolutely out of the question as was going to University. And furthermore Yoga was 'demonic', philosophy was not to be trusted and astrology was 'evil'. 

This made it all the more provocative for me!!  And so I read books about Yoga, Meditation, Wicca, Astrology, Tarot, Psychic phenomena, Socrates and Palm Reading. I would read all the books that frighted me and yet which held me captivated for hours, hidden, soaking up every scrap of information like a water starved tree, sitting in a corner for fear of being seen by someone in my congregation. And I never stopped singing. So if it wasn't for those secret trips to the library, and soon thereafter a serendipitous invitation to my first yoga class held at a girlfriend's house, perhaps this album would never have come about. When my parents found out about my attending yoga classes they banned me from going, but thankfully the yoga just kept coming back into my life.

Quick rehearsal with Peter and Erhard

I have found that chanting mantras opens the heart so much it releases emotional baggage that may have been stored away in your unconscious mind for many years. I recently wrote a song with some English lyrics about God to sing along side a beautiful Gurmukhi mantra, Ang Sung Wahe Guru, which means "The dynamic, living ecstasy of the universe is dancing within every cell of me".  Chanting Ang Sung Wahe Guru celebrates the realization that there is no piece or part of ourselves, no action, and no life that is not already the living vibration of the Infinite. It is all God and we are one. The English words were inspired while I was chanting the mantra.

YAM Yoga Studio, Munich
And so, at the Munich Kirtan last Friday, when I started this mantra together with the English words, a light bulb went on in my head and I recognised something that has been hidden away inside me for a long time, without consciously knowing that it has weighed heavily on my heart.

I became aware of how since my teenage years I have never really felt worthy of a true connection with God. Because somehow deep down I was convinced that I must be a really bad and unworthy person for wanting to do all the things my childhood religion taught me I should fear and hate. And as a result I have been treated as a pariah by my family for walking my own path, which has been one of the greatest challenges in my life to overcome so far.  And so these days I can easily sing about God in Sanskrit, however it is difficult for me to sing about God in English. Somehow it causes me a lot of discomfort and even pain to do so. 

The subject of my family has been on my mind quite a bit lately what with my tour and my album.  Hence it is no coincidence that I attracted this mantra to me.  I have known about it for years, but it is not until recently that I have begun to work with it. So when this mantra came to me, this new song was born and it has since been helping me to release some of the sadness I have related to my family dynamic. 

The right mantra will usually find you at the right time in your life to heal a certain aspect of your soul.  Which mantra resonates most with you?

A big thank you to Oliver and Regina at YAM Yoga for kindly hosting our kirtan in their lovely space.  Also to Erhard Dengl and Peter Aigner my supporting musicians.

Sat nam and Namaste. May peace be on your journey. xxx

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