Publisher's Letter

Published on January 31st, 2019 | by Paul Chen, Publisher

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ChantLanta Wins Another Convert

Photo: ChantLanta founders Stephanie Kohler, Ian Boccio and Karen Dorfman. (Photo: Jason Dennard, Encounter Hart)

Mantra chanting is a Buddhist practice, but it is one that I rarely engaged in prior to last year. That started changing around the time I started using a mala for mantra recitation.

Chanting came later as a function of Natural Awakenings. I was aware of kirtan but had never been to a kirtan concert. Having committed to producing yoga content every month, it naturally followed that we would sponsor the Dirty South Yoga Fest and ChantLanta. So, a business to-do item was to attend a Blue Spirit Wheel concert and introduce myself to Ian Boccio and Stephanie Kohler, two of the founding members of ChantLanta.

What I didn’t anticipate was that chanting would resonate so completely with me. After the concert, I picked up their CD Darkness To Light, which is playing as I write. These days, Blue Spirit Wheel is often the soundtrack to my wind-down period right before I turn off the lights.

While I may not consistently reach the states of ananda and/or prema as described by Ian in his article, mantra chanting has a definite deepening effect upon me every time I do it. Casual googling turned up a U.S. News & World Report article from Oct. 2, 2013, “Your Brain on Om: The Science of Mantra.” It contained this passage:

Mantras hold within them the latent forms of the universe. From supreme stillness and subtle ultrasonic vibrations, these latent forms cascade into being as audible sound, which then has the capacity to in-form, or shape reality, as has been demonstrated by cymatics. By practicing mantra, we can tap into the source of that power to manifest – we can drive our awareness deeper into the bones, muscles and tissues of the body to gain a greater sensitivity and understanding of our makeup and amplify the emotional energies latent within, much like the potential energy present in mountains that then becomes kinetic in the form of an avalanche when the earth quakes.

Wow, that’s saying something, isn’t it? The potential energy of mountains?

For this, I have ChantLanta to thank. Their ten years of selfless service has undoubtedly introduced the sacred practice of mantra chant to hundreds, if not thousands, of newbies like me. What a precious gift to receive: an effective tool to turn inward and connect to our higher selves and all there is. Is this not a manifestation of love?

If there was any doubt, there was no mistaking the beautiful space the ChantLanta founders created when they came together for their photo shoot. It started with the three of them chanting, their voices fully filling the Selah Center. Sometime during the shoot, my mind sank into contemplating the quality of heart and spirit required to give so much time over so many years. This naturally gave rise to an immense sense of gratitude. I am but one beneficiary; how many more?

So thank you, ChantLanta, for ten years of giving to the Atlanta community. I am a newbie to chanting and was motivated by business to become one of your sponsors, but you can also count me as a grateful fan.

*****

Resources limit our ability to interview the entire all-volunteer ChantLanta organization, but we thank everyone. So, hats off, also, to: Christine Peck, Andrea Perez, Phil Victor, Dan Lentine, Stan Holt, Robyn Meek, Don Martin and Quinton Johnson.

 

 


About the Author

Paul Chen is the publisher of Natural Awakenings magazine of Atlanta.


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