Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Chanting of a Child

असतो मा सद्गमय
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय
मृत्योर् मा अमृतं गमय
ॐ शांति शांति शांति - बृहदारण्यक उपनिषद् 

Om Asato Ma Sat Gamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Maamritam Gamaya

Om-Let us be led from the unreal to the Real
From darkness to the Light
From mortality to Eternity

My husband was desperate one night to find a song with the right cadence and rhythm to sing our son to sleep.  When he came upon this one, we discovered that it works like a charm.  Our children now ask us to use it to sing them to sleep sometimes, and they like to hear it in the car as well.

On the way to school, my 5-year-old often asks to listen to this particular mantra, called Om Astatoma, as recorded by Deva Premal.  When I researched it, I found that it is a passage from the Upanishads.  She asks for it to be played repeatedly.  When I sneak a peek at her in the rear-view mirror, she usually has her eyes closed and is mouthing the words along with no shame or presupposition.  It is an amazingly beautiful thing to watch a small child in sincere prayer.  She radiates an innocence, a pride and complete immersion into the joy she derives from it.  On these days, by the time we arrive at school she has clear eyes and is grounded for the day.  It is amazing what 15 minutes of sincere meditation can do for even a small child.

When she sings along, she knows the words with confidence.  She has a smile on her face and chants along with the clear, high confident voice of a child.  It is the most beautiful part of my day.  If she starts singing before I start driving, I will close my eyes and just listen to her.  It warms my spirit and uplifts me, causing my heart to swell and a smile to stretch from ear to ear.

My daughter has asked about mantras and meditations, and what they mean.  My explanation to her was simple:  We focus on what we want more if in our hearts, and we spend time praying and welcoming it in.  It is a part of our spiritual practice.  Sometimes she makes up her own chants and sings them for me.  The other day it was "I love ponies.  I love ponies.  I love ponies," which she sang over and over again.  We talked about what it meant, and we came to the conclusion she was chanting about beautiful things and how special they are to her, and love of creation.  It was a chant of gratitude.

Another one of hers is "I like everything.  Everything is good.  I like everything.  Everything is good."  She sings them in that sweet 5-year-old way of singing something with no real tone to it...but still a song.  She will sing her mantras for 10-15 minutes at a shot, sometimes dancing around the living room, sometimes in a half-lotus on her bed.  I truly admire how in touch she is with what kind of meditation her spirit needs at a given moment.  She is turning into a true meditation and prayer champ!

I am thankful to my child for reminding me how simple it is to pray.  All we need to do is find what our spirit needs and follow its lead.  When I sincerely follow my own soul in prayer and meditation, I find myself uplifted and gratified.  She is the most beautiful gift I have been given, and she reminds me daily that I have my own beauty if I can only share her innocence.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

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