Divine Kirtan

The River was misty this morning. And beautiful. And quiet. Except for the birds.

There was no one else there. No car parked with the motor running as is often the case. Instead, it was just me - on the bench - praying - and listening to the birds.

For the first time since I have been coming here - I was enveloped in a veritable symphony of melodious singing, coming from both sides of the Potomac River.

As I drunk in the beauty of nature's improvisations - I was struck by how reminiscent the call and response on both sides of the river echoed the singing of the psalms of the Divine Office by monastics in choir.

It also reminded me of the experience of chanting Sanskrit mantras in "kirtan" - which consists of the repetition of sacred chants,
simple mystical syllables, or sound vibrations - in the same call and response pattern - but at an increasingly faster pace - building up to a crescendo - until slowing back down again.

Kirtan is a form of meditation. For some individuals, it may be an easier introduction into this discipline. The chanting of mantras and indeed - the singing or proclamation of psalms and prayers - can directly connect us with Divine energies that can quiet the mind, remove obstacles, bring solace, and provide an opportunity or an opening for a process of healing to occur.

This morning I felt embraced and comforted by the sacred chanting of the birds - almost as if I had been invited to participate. One particular bird - perched high up on a naked limb - looked at me directly and intently - his cries predominated - as if he had been appointed the cantor, or soloist. I sensed he tried to urgently impart a message - received and understood by the depths of my heart and soul.

Entering into the Silence made the whispers of the Divine more audible in the quiet stillness of this winter morning.


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