Chanting Meditation–Sounds Easy? Think Again


About a month ago, I embarked on a mission to spend 15 minutes daily chanting “Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Se So Hung”. Yogi Bhajan says is one of the most powerful healing mantras on the planet. The chant is done with palms of hands facing up (see the lovely Snatam Kaur at right) for about 11 minutes, then for another three it is whispered, then for the final minute it is silently chanted in the mind. The chant is to be done for 40 days, as 40 days is the amount of time that Yogi Bhajan sees a new (good) habit or life change needing to incubate. It’s best done at sunrise, but unfortunately I can’t yet seem to fall asleep early enough to wake up at 5am remembering my own name. It’s certainly worthwhile to do the chant ANY time, but I prefer doing it at night an hour or two before I go to bed. I believe it is often helping to soothe my thoughts that have collected from the day and is giving me very interesting dreams.

I’ll be honest…it has been very challenging to keep up. I kept it consistent for 20 days straight, aiming for Memorial Day as the 40th day, and then completely forgot one night after I came home from my Saturday yoga training. Yogi Bhajan instructs that if you forget one day, you must start over again. So I did. Then I forgot again. Then I began again…and finally, forgot a third time. So I here I am starting…again.

Now, while strictly adhering to this rule might seem silly (voice in head: “yoga is flexible–cut yourself a break–you made it halfway, just forget that you skipped a day and keep going”), it is teaching me some interesting things. I think Yogi Bhajan KNEW we would forget, falter…that is why it is even mentioned. The point is that it is compelling me to COMMIT, and that kind of commitment is what is also needed to make a permanent change. What is the change I hope to make? I hope to make a PERMANENT shift in consciousness and gain more personal strength and intuition. Perhaps that is a goal that seems a bit esoteric or non-specific, but recently I have felt a lack of trust in my instinct and personal powers. That is something that could adversely affect my ability to succeed in my personal, professional and artistic development. I feel that the meditation chant simply parallels the same challenging path I am navigating in life–I cannot make excuses or take “free passes” for either the meditation or my life.

I don’t think I lost too much in those first twenty days, because I realize now I had the hand Mudras wrong, and I was singing too fast. My mind was also wandering all OVER the place…thinking about groceries to pick up, scheduling a haircut, wondering about my next job…all sorts of vapid things. The first twenty days were more of a “warm-up” to doing the real thing. I’m getting better. There are some nights when I have tried hard to focus for a few seconds on everyone I know who needs healing. Sometimes I visualize green healing light bursting from my heart center. There is a part of me that wants to continue doing the chant for a long time. My yoga teacher told me she did it for nine months and then suddenly knew it was over. There certainly could be some interesting theories about that nine month period (?!?!) but who knows for sure–that is her own private world. Or…maybe she just kept messing up and had to start over many times!

So, I am still trying. It is going to be interesting to find the time/space to do this while visiting my family in the Midwest. It’s actually a beautiful mantra to share with another person…I can especially see it being lovely for a parent and child. What better way to start teaching your child a way to tap into himself for love and healing, and to send that out to others? Better than “If I should die before I wake.” That prayer used to horrify me.

I’d love for anyone else to share experiences on how you have or are managing to stay committed to meditation or chanting. Please feel free to post comments.

McKenna Rowe is the Founder of Chakra 5 Mobile Yoga, an experienced team of corporate yoga instructors that provides mobile yoga classes on location and by appointment at businesses, schools and organizations throughout greater Los Angeles. Call us to start your corporate wellness program today: 310-853-3885.

Posted in Meditation