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Tim Chalice
from: Tim Chalice
Category: Chanting & Mantra

Kirtan - Devotional Chanting

I am so grateful for this simple practice of kirtan (devotional chanting). While other practices have come and gone in my life like clouds drifting across the sky, chanting is so effortless, joyful, peaceful and nourishing, that it never feels like work, a discipline or any of those terms that make a spiritual practice seem unappealing! Instead as soon as the drone of the harmonium begins there is an instant feeling of relaxation, a letting go, a deepening of the breath and a feeling of coming home. In an instant there is permission to let go of the doer-ship and simply be in the present, leaving all our anxieties and thoughts to one side. What grace this must be that kirtan takes us so quickly into silence, the ‘peace of God that surpasses all understanding’.

 I still wonder sometimes how I ended up leading kirtan. In fact, before a spiritual awakening towards the end of the last century I was about as far from singing the praises of God as you could get, but with hindsight there does seem to have been a divine hand steering me to this place. Music and singing have been with me since an early age and then years later I pursued an interest in healing and sound healing. This searching culminated in 2005 when I began exploring The Naked Voice practices with Chloe Goodchild and this included a great deal of devotional chanting. There was something in this communal, participatory experience that ignited me. There was no need to impress or perform or even sing ‘well’, none of these things mattered. Rather it was a chance to connect the power of the voice with the beauty of the heart, a true soul music.  Since then many things in my life have changed but chanting has been my constant companion and refuge.

 Kirtan always strikes me as a very forgiving practice. It doesn’t chide me if I have been away too long and still lets me dive straight into its oceanic heart.  With repetition of these Divine Names I can quickly let go of all thoughts and conditioning and rest there for a while.

 According to the Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures) there are four great ages. We are currently believed to be in the Kali Yuga or dark age. Whereas in previous ages those seeking spiritual perfection had to perform long austerities, the prescribed method for attaining the Supreme now is kirtan, chanting the names of God. So as we try to negotiate these turbulent times and are bombarded with external noise, the chatter of the mind and endless distractions, the simplest, most effective thing we can do is keep chanting.   -   Tim’s CD ‘Devotional Heart’ is out now

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