Whenever I chant mentally a mantra or maxim or name of a diety, I feel indescribable joy, contentment and calmness. But by the second or third stint of chanting, I no longer feel the same. It appears like just any other phrase. Is it a problem? Should I even chant with a definite purpose to seek joy and not do it dispassionately? Or is it that I’m not that familiar with the diety and his attributes so as to have that blissful experience of repeating the diety’s name?
All of our spiritual practices including chanting should be done with awareness, deep attention and concentration focusing at the point between the eyebrows, the spiritual eye. In chanting we lift our heart’s energy in devotional self-offering to God. The goal of our practices are to experience God in all aspects including as joy, calmness, and contentment. You must be doing this during your first 1-2 times of mentally chanting a mantra for you are experiencing the fruit of deep chanting. Yogananda said that chanting was half the battle. By that he meant that if we continuously call out to God with all of our heart’s love God will not be able to resist our sincere call. Consider your beautiful experiences with chanting as spiritual encouragement.
With all spiritual practices, however, it is easy to sink into more habitual, passive repetition once the novelty of the practice wears off. Such ‘practice’ does not open our heart and does not draw God’s attention. Yes, you should definitely chant to feel God’s presence, to seek divine joy, to seek union. Have this expectation with all of your spiritual practice. When you chant it can be helpful to chant out loud with lots of energy, then chant more softly, in a whisper and then silently. Start with high energy and then take that high energy inward eventually into silence. Always be thinking how can I make my practice more alive, more devotional, more concentrated. You may want to vary the chant or mantra you use. Chanting with a melody rather than just spoken word alone brings the power of music to your practice. Uplifting spiritualized melody can powerfully open and uplift the heart’s energies. Many chants and mantras in India are set to ancient melodies. Our founder, Swami Kriyananda, who was a direct disciple of Yogananda recorded mantras and chants. You can find them as CD’s to purchase at our online store in India. If you want to purchase tracks electronically you can find these recordings at your favorite online store.
May you find abundant inspiration and peace in your spiritual practices.