I spent 6 hours in mantra meditation last week, attending a very traditional South Indian temple pūja at the magnificent Hindu Monastery on Kaua’i. (The same temple we'll visit during our upcoming Kauai Hawaii Mantra & Nāda Yoga Retreat)
I’m here to report the power of mantra, the far-reaching past-present-future benefits I feel from sitting in the forcefield of the sound vibrations!!!
To set the stage, let me tell you specifically how I engaged with the ceremony:
I had brought my mālā with me, knowing I’d want to do my own jāpa even as I kept my eyes mostly open to watch the elaborate rituals. (So many flowers, herbs, grains and offerings! So many priests dressed in ancient robes! And the setting amidst the jungle is sublime.)
There were many mantras I could chant along with, including a unison refrain based on Namah Śivāya. I appreciated that group chanting element, and gladly sang full throated when it was time to do so.
My own mantra chanting participation was:
Breaking down the sound healing therapy techniques, I'd say it was effective because:
During the 6-hour ceremony itself, I perceived:
A week later, I’m still feeling the reverberations!
In my dreams the night after the 6 hours of mantra meditation, I ran into the one person I have the most knotted-up feelings about in an airport waiting room, and they hugged me and told me they love me. Maybe it’s all in my own head!? But I felt such relief, and that is priceless.
I trust without a doubt that I am in the right place at the right time, headed on the right path for this next phase of my life. That sense of inner peace has kept me resilient in the midst of change at many other junctures in my life, and it is thoroughly renewed at this one too.
Some personal context on why these realizations were important to me...
I recently packed up 2 homes in India and am about to move a third on Kaua’i, and I also had a major leadership test when my Sacred Sound Stage team and I left Parmarth ashram in Rishikesh in March, after bearing the brunt of an extremely stressful and chaotic top-down organizational culture.
Our Heart of Sound team demonstrated an alignment with our values that was a difficult decision, but the right one. (If you follow me (Anandra George) personally on Facebook, where I share a lot about my personal life, you'd have seen my PLOT TWIST post in early March 2023.)
During the mantra meditation, the insight that washed over me was forgiveness… The team at Parmarth undoubtably means well, but they haven’t embraced the metoo movement and all of the unpacking around unhealthy power dynamics that has been such a huge part of my personal growth over the past several years.
Rather than struggling with how to talk about our experience without sounding like a victim, I realized that my emphasis is on the positive evolution in my personal growth, and the maturity of our Heart of Sound community. That means that our decision to step away from active collaboration with Parmarth for now is a positive one for everyone. I'd add the clarification that they’re wonderfully progressive for India, but behind the times internationally on a lot of issues.
And perhaps even more importantly... Rishikesh itself has changed forever - it was busier, noisier, and more materialistic than ever BY FAR. We won't do Heart of Sound retreats there again. Imagine my joy to see this vision (from 1995!) from the founder of the Hindu Monastery on Kaua'i (where we'll be doing Mantra and Sound Healing Yoga Retreats in the future. The temple they've been building for 30 years is now in its full glory, and I realized with a "doh!" face palm moment, that the environment on Kaua'i is much more conducive for our mantra and nāda yoga trainings, and I've figured out a way for them to be done quite affordably, family style. I live here, I love it, and you'll be seeing more of me in Hawai'i and less of me in other parts of the world. Welcome to my world! :)
We welcome you to join us in Heaven on Earth, Kaua'i island!