Since we last chatted I have been thinking about our discussion in my post Busting Through Obstacles In this post I shared about about my connection to friend Ganesha and how we have become best buds over the ten months. I believe that our growing relationship is one of the many things that helped in the creation of this blog and most recently my new website Your Whole Healing . Lately I have practiced chanting to Ganesha almost daily as life has presented a lot of obstacles to me obtaining the goals that I have been working on . All this talk about Ganesh and chanting made me wonder if there was any science behind what I have experienced. Is chanting only a spiritual practice or does it also have some biological basis as well? I also wondered whether it was just another form of the power of positive thinking like “The Secret.” Hmmm a lot to ponder. I found a lot of different evidence. No surprise that some of it was contradictory per usual with research. While I am more of an intuitive feeling person, I know that some of you are more interested in the hard cold facts. So as I usually do during our chats, I will present a little of both. Let’s see if I can shed light on the subject…
I am admittedly a neophite in the use of Ayervedic medicine. I am intrigued, I learn about it at times through a close friend but I am by no means an expert on the subject. I am also, as I spoke about in our last chat, new to the use of chanting as well. I point this out because there may be some of you that are more expert on the subject and have strong views about this practice as there seems to be much ado on the subject. Today I will share what I have experienced as well as some of what I found through researching the internet. Some spoke about the research of TM matra meditation, in particular, Herb Benson’s work. Others refuted this research stating that it does not relax the body. Generally, I don’t put much weight on research as it’s conflicting. For me, I would rather try things out to see how they feel and do my own subjective research. So here is some of what I found which also corresponds with my subjective intuitive investigation. Chanting can oxygenate the blood. This can help increase energy levels and fight off disease. It can help balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This can be equated to what Marsha Linehan of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy fame calls “wise mind.” We are able to access both our rational and emotional parts of ourselves without being in either extreme. It reduces heart rate and blood pressure. It can calm brainwave activity which means that it slows down the “monkey mind.” It can also release melatonin giving you a sense of overall calm and assist in regulating the circadian rythyms. There was also much information about the healing properties of sound and that it can affect the molecular structure of the body allowing us to create new synaptic pathways. This means that it has potential to change the structure of our DNA. The same has been said about positivity. I am unaware if my dabbling in chanting with Ganesha had this amount of biological change. But I can say that when I do chant I feel more at peace. I feel like I am surrounded by a warm blanket of support: like the blanket my Nana knitted that I am wrapped in now. I feel the shift in my nervous system. My brain does calm down and I am more capable of accessing my wiser mind rather than the part of me that is saying that sky is about to fall. I feel the relaxation response turn on when I repeat the chant in my head: sort of like I feel it when I think about my acupuncturist. Ganesha has become a part of my support system.
A reader asked yesterday for an explanation to the question that I left you all with in our last chat “How might you remove the obstacles in your way and unlock your heart.” She was wondering about it from the bio-psycho-social model that is used in social work. To that I would say that yoga, meditation, chanting, spiritual principles, Buddhist teachings, bodywork, acupuncture and yes talk therapy all are connected to helping one find their souls’ desires. What has worked for me is calming the fluctuations of my mind, basically my fear, to hear what is going on inside. Body based therapies have a biological, psychological and social environmental affect on shifting us from a place of being fear based to a place of being centered in love. The key is the willingness to hear what has been covered by fear for so long. There could be other ways of understanding this process but for me this has been what has worked. It is also the basis for how I work with my clients.
What are some ways that you will allow yourself to be willing to open up today? I think I will continue to try to break my operation hibernation and head to a meditation group this morning. My body is already beginning to tell me winter is coming but my soul knows that there is work to be done:)