Kirtan is a singing and meditative tradition that comes to us from India. During the kirtan, musicians lead the group in chants which are sung in a "call and response" format. Even if you don't understand the language in which the words are being spoken, it's possible to participate and benefit immensely. The intent and energy are the most important part of the kirtan. The rhythm of the music ends up creating a meditative state for many, freeing them from wordly concerns and helping them to find divine insight.
The group I was at was a small gathering with five musicians and ten community members. However, despite the small size, the music got quite loud at several points; I was thinking how grateful I was that I didn't live in the apartments above the yoga studio where we were meeting. At times, the singing was horribly off-key, and yet simultaneously it was immensely beautiful because of the spiritual energy it contained. I stopped singing and instead just focused on what the energy of the music was doing to my body multiple times during the evening. The music moved through my fourth chakra, healing some deep wounds. It then moved into my fifth chakra working on literal pain there. Later in the evening, one of the songs was able to create interesting movement in my second chakra as well.
As I listened to and felt the music that evening, I was struck by how powerful the energy of the music was. I also noted that it was the same energy I've felt in other music at previous times in my life, specifically certain Christian rock songs and Taizé chant. It doesn't matter which language we sing in or which god(s) we are worshipping: The energy of sacred music is very similar. That spiritual energy that flows from the sacred music is powerful, and it has the ability to heal.
Even if you are tone deaf (like me) or unable to play an instrument (also like me), it is still possible to benefit from the transcendental power of song. Attending worship services, kirtans, or concerts or even just listening to music in your own home will allow the sacred spiritual energy to flow through you. If you can find the courage to sing along, the benefit may increase as you bring your intent in line with the music to help it heal you however and wherever you need it.
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC