I’m a fundamentally lazy person, at least according to my Inner Protestant. What’s funny is that for a lazy person, I sure do put a lot of effort into things. For instance, the other night I was at a new-agey concert at my local new-agey church—exhibit A for how far off the reservation I’ve gone—turns out it was a chant-along. That was new.
The performers, Deva Premal and Miten, who are like The Who of New Age, told us that for the next ditty, we were all going to do the traditional reciting of a mantra 108 times. I elbowed my friend Jen and said, “Oh yeah, I’m so glad we’re doing it the traditional way now.” She giggled, as Jen is wont to do, earning her a decidedly un-spiritual stink-eye from her neighbor. Namaste to you, friend.
Anyway, we launch into the chanting. And I mean launch. We’re chanting like yogis on Adderall. We’re doing that one, it goes like, “Om shanti…,” you know, that one.
So we’re rocketing through the mantra, and I notice about 20 Om shantis in that I can barely take a breath. My vocal cords and neck muscles are straining. Mild panic sets in as I think, “I’m not gonna make it!” I’m pretty sure that’s not the intended effect of chanting.
Then in a moment of oxygen-deprived clarity, I got it. How I do anything is how I do everything. I was trying way too hard. I could still whip out the mantras with about 1/10th the effort. Deva, as I call her, had said that all of the mantras carry a particular healing frequency; that the sounds themselves heal. As I relaxed my body, I began to feel a sense of well being, I felt the power of the thousand other voices around me as we created this powerful sound together. Ah… so this was what it was all about.
As we chant-sprinted to the finish line, I sent my Inner Protestant some love, that part of me that believes she has to strive to be safe. Then I let my inner laziness rise. I kinda picture her like a surfer chick—mostly slow, languid movements, then popping into action and using only as much energy as required to catch the wave and ride. I want to spend more time with my inner surfer chick. She really knows how to get her om shanti on.
As Deva Premal and Miten say, “Om shanti, bitches.” *
*They don’t really say that.