When I had to stop working full-time, I joined a comparative philosophy class (very convenient, same lecture and discussion three times a week and three units every week. Could be done on the same day all together or spread over a week. Pretty good arrangement, don’t you think for a person with chronic health problems?). I also spent time reading the scriptures of various religions with guidance from the men and women who are qualified to teach their subject and do so as part of their duties at the monasteries and missions. They were wonderful experiences that I will share in another post.
I don’t know what attracted me to the subject because I had spent the first twenty-five years of my life happily indulging in thoughts and activities that even a very indulgent monastic would stop to consider saying, ‘ Ho ... hum!’ to. :)
Anyhow, after about a decade or so of pottering and digging, seeing all kinds of people and visiting all kinds of places, I sort of began to arrive at an idea of the approach to life that suited me personally. Life encompasses times and circumstances that are completely unpredictable and not always pleasant, and to be able to give of oneself with grace through it all one needs the constancy of personal integrity.
The word Personal is very important to me.
No two people can approach life similarly. Emotional and spiritual advancement may be the final goal that we wish to reach, but each of our journeys is different.
So after trying to find my way to a better understanding and expression of myself, I put together a stream of thoughts into a verse that now inspires and carries me from moment to moment.
As this blog is also the reflection of my thoughts I’ll write it down.
I will respect how I am perceived.
I will respect what I perceive.
I will respect what I imbibe.
I will respect my physical being.
I will respect my intellect.
I will respect my spirit and my further advancement into the spiritual world.
I honour the Material World.
I honour Energy, for my life and the life around me.
Together both of You are the Universal Life Force.
Together You are my life.
Together You lead me to You.
You lead me to Integrity.
You lead me to the Truth.
Bless me so I can experience You.
Bless all who teach me of You.
Bless All who speak of You.
Let me find peace within and around.
I chant these verse to myself often - last thing at night and first thing in the morning as a routine and then at all times of special joy, crisis or sadness. Sometimes I chant them just for the contentment they create in me, when I feel the world is just right.
Chanting calms me. I find it soothing and centering.
Like many others, I am not ritualistic. But I can appreciate the appeal and often the beauty of rituals, and I can understand their purpose.
I find that the rhythmic singing of words limited to a set of repetitive notes in one pitch help at once to lift my concentration from the immediate. The familiar words set to a tone in one single pattern frees my mind from the effort of remembering so I can visualize what I speak.
I have found the notes, rhythm and the pitch I am comfortable with. It is based on a particular style that I have grown up with and ‘though I never had ever learned or participated in organized chanting before, I found it easy to teach myself and become familiar with in little time.
This method has worked for me the last five or six years. I am alert to other possibilities that may be more fulfilling, but for now this works.