Krishna Das reminding his listeners the reasons he practices and offers kirtan scrolled across my Facebook feed last week with this quote:
“My path is to be in the living Presence; We have to find a way inside us, we have to find a way to open our hearts, to quiet our minds, to let go our fears and our selfishness, our guilt and our anger and jealousy; Everything is already present in our own hearts; By repeating these Names over and over, we are moving ourselves into that place in us; the Heart in us is deeper than any emotion or psychological issues; I don’t know if there is God, I know there is Love – Unconditional Love and I know I like to be in that love, and that maybe God; all you have to do is look, and chanting remembers us to look.”
I am in a space right now where chanting is serving me to help remember the good, despite all that is going on that doesn’t feel particularly good or hopeful. I don’t believe in “God” as an actual being (though I can no more disprove the actuality than anyone has been able to prove it), and history certainly proves the power of the idea of such a mystical being.
Regardless of whether the very real ideas of God(s) represents an actual being, it has been my beautiful experience–studying with Krishna Das and others over the years–that engaging in practices that turn our hearts towards love and universality helps us be sweet living in relationship to ourselves, to others, and to the ecological fabric of the whole of embodied existence. I chant because calling out the names in their universal multiplicity is a recognition, not dissimilar to what I have found offered in the silent collective worship of Quakers, that everyone has their own individual access to and ideas of the sublime, of the divine, of what brings them to feel a fullness of love.