Chanting meditation techniques

There are of course an infinite number of chanting meditation techniques. I personally have limited experience with this technique, even though I actually really like it. There is something very satisfying about producing sounds while meditating. Chanting meditation techniques are probably a bit more advanced than silent meditation, because first of all you need to overcome any self-consciousness to produce a sound, by yourself and particularly in a group. "What will my partner think?", or "What will the neighbours think?" After all, it is already quite a victory to meditate regularly in total silence!

When I use the term 'chanting' I refer to the production sounds, through the mouth, during meditation. So it does not necessarily have to be 'singing' or 'chanting'. The word 'chanting' may call up images of worshipers engaged in a religious ritual. These chants may have developed over many generations. But someone, at some point, must have started them. So I just mean any sound production. It does not have to be a song or chant at all.

So for example, you could go into your usual meditation (check out the home page for a basic meditation). Then when your body is relaxed, instead of observing your breathing, you start producing a gentle 'Oooh' sound on the out breath. Notice a few things here. First of all, you can only do this on the out breath (you can produce sound on the in-breath, but it is a lot harder and more difficult to control). So producing sound is interwoven with your breathing. By chanting you therefore indirectly control your breathing, it is a form of breath control.

At the same time that you control your breathing through the production of sound, you also create a sensation. You create a sound and you can hear the sound that you yourself create. So there is a lot going on here. Sound production, breathing control, sound awareness. You can see that this is quite a bit more complex than a silent meditation. And all you did was chant 'ooooh'! But if you do this with awareness you are likely to discover all sorts of things. Notice the variation in sound. Notice your heartbeat pulsing inside the sound. Choose something to focus on and then observe that, while continuing the chanting. After your set time, gently come out of the meditation as usual.

You can experiment with different sounds, chants, melodies and so on. But I recommend you really stay focused on your actual meditation practice. There is no need to introduce all kinds of interesting sound effects. That would just become a distraction. The purpose is not to perform a gig, but to examine your relationship to sound and stay with the sound. Sound has the unique quality that we cannot easily cut ourselves off from it and it feels as if it enters the heart of your mind! So you may also find that beautiful, pleasant sounds are most effective for meditation.

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