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My Cup Over-Flows

Planting Future Seeds

Something very special happened at Jai-Jagdeesh's concert for me, personally, last month and I'd like to share something about my experience of it, as you were all part of it who were present and I thank you for being a part of it.

 

Jai-Jagdeesh was saying at one point in the concert how she loved people using words to describe food to describe music, as someone had called one of her songs last night, "tasty!" Well, this experience I had, for me, was nourishing. It was food for my soul. Thank you.

 

My father was diagnosed with cancer in the Spring, for which he received some radiation for, and having not seen any significant result, has started chemo therapy in the last month. Last month at Snatam's concert, I had asked Snatam if she would include my father's name in a healing meditation, as I know the power of 800 people chanting together holding the same intention would be exponential in it's effect. She did include his name, calling it out on stage, inviting everyone else to call out names of people they'd like to share healing with and I'm sure my father is feeling the effects of that intention.

 

But last month, Jai did something a little different that hit the spot in me so deeply, that I didn't realize how badly I had been craving it until it was delivered.

 

Jai took a moment on stage to fully and completely recognize me and what it is that I do to bring an artist to Calgary and she even gave me a shout out as being an awesome massage therapist, so she kind of filled my cup from all angles to begin with, so that basically set the stage for what came next.


Then she began to speak personally about my father and how he had started chemo and asked everyone present to direct some part of the healing energy to my father's healing, however that may look, as we chanted Sa Ta Na Ma Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Se So Hung. This was like the missing piece for me. It was like dialing up coordinates of a target so that it could land specifically where it needed to, and what I realized during that experience was that it was being sent to my father, but first it was being directed through me. I was receiving it as much as my father was. I could feel all of the love and support and authentic care people had for me and my family's wellness, being directed towards me and then flowing like a river out in my father's direction. My cup over flow-eth. I was so moved by everyone's voice and presence.

 

I felt held by everyone. I felt cared for. I felt like what I needed in this moment was important and ok to ask for it, and that it would be delivered. In short, I felt loved. Thank you.

 

I've been having a thought lately.....

What if, all of my time organizing chant concerts, coming into close personal contact with so many artists that the average person doesn't get to, and being in the background supporting and promoting, was to put me in a position 16 years down the road, where I could now have the influence and opportunity available to me, to be able to ask for such a blessing for my father and my family, of having over a thousand people, in a one week period, chant and intend healing for my father in his time of need?

 

We are constantly planting seeds for the future that eventually bloom.

May we all be conscious gardeners in our lives. May we plant the seeds of love that will bloom and flourish in our lives and grow beautiful flowers.

How Do We Get To Heaven?

One of the mantras we shared at our Summer Solstice Chant Celebration are the last two lines of a sacred text called Japji, which translates to the "Song of the Soul." Singing these two lines is like the cherry on top for me. This mantra has never failed me. I feel so uplifted and carried when I sing it. The translation goes something like...."for those who have toiled in the right direction and chanted the name of God, they leave this earth with brilliant shining faces and they take many souls with them."

 

So how do we take many souls with us through the personal evolution we do while here on earth? In some Eastern traditions they speak of how when one person is "saved" their whole family is saved. Yup. It goes onto to say seven generations before and after will be affected. Wow! That's pretty good bang for your buck?

 

So that begs the question, what does being "saved" mean? Well, different traditions have different names for it. Being "saved" refers to having evolved one's consciousness to reflect the third realm of consciousness which yogis call the "Realm of Bliss" and whom Christians refer to as "Heaven." We all want to get to Heaven right?

 

Some traditions believe we live once and die once and depending on how it went in this lifetime we make it to Heaven or not. In the East, they believe we move through many lifetimes, each one we carry with us the seeds of our past actions and desires that then propel us into the next lifetime. The goal being that we evolve each time through. Like climbing a stairway to Heaven, the cream eventually rises to the top, as we purify and rarify our consciousness, until it resonates with the Realm of Bliss.


When our consciousness reflects this, our actions in the world reflect that. What we put into motion and what we then experience/ karma, reflects this. The seeds we plant in this moment, are what grows our future.

 

May we plant the seeds of love in our life. May we evolve in whatever way is possible for us in this moment, and may we rise to the top, like the cream, in consciousness.

 

Interview with Chant Artist Sarah Calvert

TRACY:   I find people often have interesting stories about how they came to discover the practice of Kundalini Yoga and the subsequent practice of mantra singing in community.  Tell us about how you came to it and what drew you to this practice and what the outcome has been for you.

 

SARAH: The very first Kundalini class I went to was actually an “accident”. I read the schedule wrong and thought I was going to an ashtanga class in Nelson BC. Since I lived out of town, I decided to stay for the class anyway, and it literally changed my life. At the end of the class, we chanted the Guru Ram Das chant, and tears were streaming down my face. Joy, sorrow, grief, bliss…all of it in that one experience. The asanas and pranayama were great of course, but it was the chanting that really drew me in and resonated with me. Since I’m a musician, the music and chanting became a tool I could use easily, and I just feel at home when I’m chanting. 

 

TRACY:  Can you share any ways in which you feel tangibly changed by your mantra practice?

 

SARAH:  I’ve had many experiences like I had in that first class, whereby there was a bit letting go of big emotions when chanting; what I like to call, a cleansing of the mind and soul. I feel lighter after a chanting practice, and more expansive…and it’s actually tangible in my body. 

 

TRACY:  What are some of the comments you hear the most after one of your concerts from the participants?

 

 SARAH:  A lot of, “Wow! I really needed that!” along with many sentiments of gratitude, which is always so rewarding for me.

 

TRACY:  Do you have a core mantra that speaks to you and that you return to over and over again?  What is it’s affect on you when you chant it?

              

SARAH:  I really love Rakhe Rakhen Har and I always come back to it. When I first heard it and began chanting, I ended up mumbling a lot of the words because I didn’t know what they were. However, once I began studying them and paying attention to pronunciation, the soothing and calming effects became even more profound. It’s typically an evening mantra, and although it’s part of the Aquarian Sadhana done in the morning, I like to chant this one at night before I go to bed. It’s got a tranquil effect that relaxes my nervous system. 

 

TRACY:  In your experience, what would you say is the benefit of attending a chant concert?  Why should people do it?

 

SARAH:  I feel that it’s a beautiful way to come together as a community. It’s always great to chant alone, but it’s all the more powerful and profound when chanting with others. There was a study that observed that happy people belong to choirs and sing with other people, and I’ve found this to be true. When we chant certain endorphins are released, changing our emotional state and bringing us those blissful feelings. As for listening at a concert, it’s  a way to relax and rejuvenate if you take time to be still and really let the sound sink in; the vibrations of the mantra have an effect on the nervous system. 

 

 

TRACY:  What has motivated you to share mantra with others by way of concerts and workshops? What has prepared you for this moment in time to share worldwide mantra with the masses?

 

SARAH:  I’ve always been a teacher (camp, sailing, swimming, skiing, yoga, pilates etc.) so I’m always wanting to share my knowledge and experiences with others. As a yoga teacher who travels extensively, workshops are a great way for me to connect with those who are interested in Kundalini yoga and mantra. They are both universal languages of movement and sound, so even if I’m teaching in French or Spanish (and I’m not exactly fluent), the students get a lot out of it by watching and listening. With chanting, it’s a foreign language for all of us (except perhaps Sikhs!) so it’s a great way to bridge cultures and be on the same page. My world travels have lead me to this moment of sharing mantra with the masses. Just a few weeks ago I had a friend I met in Peru write me a message from India; she had met a man who works at a hostel on the Camino in Spain (which I walked several years ago) and he was listening to my CD. It’s really a small, beautiful world and I want to keep sharing this sacred practice all over it. 

 

TRACY:  What would be the best outcome you could imagine for people’s experience at your “Chanting is Medicine” workshop on May 26th and the concert to follow in the evening?

 

SARAH:  For the workshop, I’d love people to be able to tap into their own sacred sound, and learn how this practice can heal and transform their lives. As for the concert, I want people to feel a part of something larger than themselves; we are never alone. When we chant together, we can transform ourselves and the world around it; I believe that through music, mantra and our intention, we can create peace in ourselves, and then shine it outwardly to the rest of the world. 

 

TRACY:  Can you give an example of how mantra has worked in your life?

 

SARAH:  When my mum was sick with cancer and getting treatment, her platelets were really, really low and she kept having to go to the hospital with nosebleeds. I chanted the Guru Ram Das chant for 40 days (for healing) and miraculously the nosebleeds stopped. The doctors were confused and surprised. I wasn't. Yogi Bhajan said, "I don't believe in miracles. I rely on them." 

 

Sarah Calvert will be facilitating a "Chanting is Medicine" workshop and concert on Saturday, May 26th, 1-4pm & 7:30-9:15pm.

 

 

Thinking of Attending Your First Chant Concert?

Here's what you need to know....

Although a chant concert, is a concert, what is different about it from a regular concert is that it is less of a watching thing, and more of a participating thing. My friend and chant artist, GuruGanesha, likes to call it a "co-formance", meaning the crowd is greatly encouraged to sing along and together we have a group experience. With this said, it's okay to listen as well. You are welcome as you come.

 

There may be some English verse songs sung, but for the most part the medium will be mantra.

 

Why mantra? And why would I want to repeat the same thing over and over again? And what would be enjoyable about that?

 

Chant concerts are the best kept secret as far as I am concerned. Often people come on a whim, unsure of what to expect and are bowled away from the experience, having NEVER had it on their radar before. Very simply, along with the beautiful melodies and instrumentation that you'll hear, the mantras create a cascading affect through the hormones, physical body, emotions, mind and spirit of the person that usually causes a heart opening effect and deep feelings of connection. When two, or a couple of hundred people chant together, it invokes a unified field that is very elevated and all can feel that to some extent and experience it's benefits.

 

Is chanting against my religion?

 

NO. Chanting is a technology-a practice-that helps to connect one to their inner essence or essential being. Different traditions use different mantras, but as the tongue hits the roof of the mouth, stimulating the upper palate which then stimulates the pituitary and pineal gland, stimulating a cascade effect through one's being, the result is the same no matter what tradition the chants originated from.

 

I don't have anyone who wants to go with me, can I come alone?

 

Absolutely. There will be people who came with friends and on their own. Saying you can't come to the concert because you have no one to go with you, is like saying you can't go to yoga because you don't have anyone to go with you. You wouldn't think twice about going alone to yoga. Chant concerts are a community, unity type experience.

 

What should I wear? Do I have to cover my head?

 

Wear what you are comfortable in. There will be people dressed up and there will also be people dressed for yoga! Some will wear head coverings or wear white (especially the Kundalini Yogis) and some won't. Come as you are. Some yogis cover their head because it can help to keep the energy that gets stimulated within you, and they wear white because it can have an aura expanding effect.

 

What if I can't sing?

 

Part of the experience is hearing your own voice and feeling the vibration within your own being. Everyone is at different places and stages with this. Know that you are welcome, even if you sing off key. It's not about a performance or a level of vocal perfection. It's about experiencing the effects of the practice and group experience. You are also welcome to listen if that is what is feeding you in that moment or where your comfort level is at.

 

My intention with this blog is to inspire you to try for yourself a chanting experience and see how it affects you.

 

There is an opportunity on Sat. May 26th, 7:30-9:15pm to experience a chant concert with internationally touring chant artist, Sarah Calvert.

 

Details here : http://www.tracysvision.com/events

 

 

 

 

 

Mantra: Re-Writing Our Finite Stories

Years ago, when I wrote my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Certification exam, I described the way mantra worked in the mind as the eroding effect that water has, as it runs over the same ground, for a long period of time.  The Grand Canyon is a beautiful example of this.  Over time, water flowing in the same pattern, eventually created a deep crevasse that then went onto to become this completely awe inspiring vision of beauty.  Anybody who has stood before it and gazed out would say this is true!

 

Mantra works much in the same way in the mind.  Over time, the constant repetition of syllables that resonate with a higher frequency, creates new pathways of being for the person, and at the same time, it’s like a mind wash or daily shower for the subconscious mind, where the old more limiting patterns eventually get washed away in the flow.  And similar to the Grand Canyon, one is eventually left with an awe-inspiring beauty that shines from the inside out.  When the mind is cleared of it’s old conditioning, it easily becomes the willing servant to the intelligence of one’s own heart.  One of the goals of yoga is for the mind to serve the heart, meaning the heart is our center of intelligence, and our mind is a tool that we can use to bring that intelligence into action in the world and simply within our being.

 

 When one has a monkey mind, bouncing back and forth between the negative and positive mind, and never landing in the heart, where we find the powers of the neutral mind and discernment, which is the power to compute in any given moment the effects of your actions (before you act) and also the best solution or course of action for the benefit of everyone involved, it ends up being an experience of suffering to some degree.  There is a deep peace that comes with developing the neutral mind and being motivated by the intelligence of one’s heart.

 

Almost twenty years later, after having studied some psychology in the form of TA therapy where we talk a lot about the development of one’s life script, or life story, and having years of yogic and meditative practice under my belt, another way to describe the effect of mantra is to talk about how it re-writes one’s life story.  Many of you may be aware of how the life script gets developed from the time a baby is in the mother’s womb until about age seven. After seven, one’s beliefs about themselves, others and the world are pretty much set, unless they are consciously changed at a later date.  What this looks like in a person’s life, is that they will see the world and every experience they have, through the lens of this life script and they will find evidence in their relationships and experiences in the world to re-enforce this script.  For many people, the script they unconsciously write for themselves, in those first seven years, is quite limiting and pain inducing.  It’s what we would call in yoga a finite story.  It has limitations.  Now for all you yogi’s reading this, you know that the practice of yoga is about linking your finite self to the Infinite or to your Inifinite self/soul, depending on how you want to look at it.

 

Mantra once again serves this purpose.  The mantra in it’s higher frequency has the power to re-write one’s story to that of an infinite/unlimited one, full of potential and new possibility.  The mantra is the infinite story.  It resonates with the frequency of infinity.  Take for example the mantra “Eck Ong Kar”.  It rewrites a story about feeling separate from the world, and isolated, and lacking power to create in the world, to one of being “one with the Creator with no separation”.  And we all know…the Creator, creates.  This is our natural state. This is the essential Truth we all know, before incarnating into this life, and then through the process of coming into this finite physical body, and then conditions of the life we choose for our self begin to set in (inorder to learn all the lessons that our soul desired before incarnating) then we begin the process of forgetting who we really are.  We forget our infinity.  Yoga is the process of our remembering our infinity.

 

Mantra becomes the new touch stone, the guide for our process of remembering, and re-writing our limited and conditioned stories, to that of an infinite, boundless one, pregnant with potential of our infinite nature.

 

So, with all of this said, I’m sure you can understand my absolute passion for sharing mantra with others in the form of yoga classes and chanting/kirtan events.  If you feel inspired to further your mantra practice, or even begin one for the first time, I warmly invite you to join myself, Lisa Weleschuk and Fiona McGinn on Sunday Dec. 18th, 5:30-7:30pm, by donation, for an early celebration of the Winter Solstice through mantra and sound.  When we gather in community and chant together, the effect becomes exponential, compared to chanting on your own, so I invite you to come and experience the power of community.

 

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Photography by Tim Dardis

All Rights Reserved Tracy's Vision 2013

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