Well today, day 59, was my worst sadhana day. I woke at a little before 4 am and watched my husband walk out the door to lead Sadhana at our studio. Me? I rolled over in bed and pulled the covers up to my chin. I slept for another hour until my commitment prodded me into rising. I turned on the ipod and selected the Aquarian mantra cd. After setting up my pillows to meditate in bed, I ‘tuned in,’ chanting Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. This had the same effect as ‘Calgon Take Me Away’ or ‘Beam me up Scottie’. I could hardly keep my eyes focused and my head upright. You see, we just finished leading yoga teacher training for the second weekend in a row. I was exhausted. After the second mantra I slipped beneath the covers and merely listened while completely horizontal, and very cozy, I might add.
Interestingly enough, I did not fall asleep. I allowed the sounds and music to wash over me. My cells relaxed, my bones hummed. This weekend Gurudass Kaur, our lead trainer, spoke about the power of mantra and how chanting the ancient sounds is like strumming the strings of our body system. The mantra begins to play us. We chant day after day, week after week, and something magical happens. Actually it’s not really that magical, it is merely an effect which predictably follows the laws of physics and the properties of sound vibration. By chanting we begin to change our vibration – we change our tune – literally.
After awhile the mantras pop into our minds, spontaneously, unbidden. There’s a term called Anahat, which refers to the experience of hearing the mantra when there is no other sound around. This is the goal of many yogis. To reach a state of mind which is dispassionate, neutral, and insusceptible to the seductions of the negative mind. While this sounds rather dull to those of us who enjoy much of our human condition, it is also a state of an expanded heart. Anahata (just adding an ‘a’) is the sanskrit word for the heart.
From my brief experience at this extended daily practice I would say that my heart is expanding. Slowly. I would equate the size of my heart to the first expansion pictured so vividly in the How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. I can hardly wait for my heart to grow so big it breaks out of the frame in which it is held. I wonder if it is even possible…