Category Archives: Chants

The Power of Not-Knowing: Lo-nayda

Lo-nayda mah-na’avod et-Yah ad-bo’aynu shama
The Power of Not-Knowing in Hebrew
We don’t know how we will serve YHVH until we get there. (Exodus 10:26)

We don’t know what form our service will take, what the world will be like or what will be called from us. The world is in flux and our lives are also changing moment to moment. We just don’t know. Not-knowing can be terrifying and yet it also holds the infinite potential of our power and creativity. We can only prepare for this mystery by becoming fully present, by accessing the fullness of Being in this moment, knowing that when we are called, we will respond with that fullness. On this journey to Freedom we must dare to live in a place of uncertainty that is held inside the confidence that just showing up in our fullness and in our uniqueness is enough. We won’t know what is needed until we get there. Each moment is a new “there.”

To hear the chant, use the audio players. To download a chant, right-click a note and save (or download) the linked MP3 file.

To download the PDF file for this chant, click The Power of Not-Knowing PDF.

Accessing the Highest: Va’azamra

Va’azamra Shaym-Havaya Elyon
AccessingTheHighest_Hebrew
I will sing praise so that I may know the highest Essence of Divine Existence. (Psalm 7:18)

When I chant, I can lift myself up into a soul perspective and enter into the highest level of perception of and communion with the One. Instead of just focusing on the content of my Life’s drama, I can glory in the miracle of existence itself.
The four letter name of God is unpronounceable, just as the Divine is unfathomable. When I chant, the music, rhythm and intention lift me up beyond Reason, and connect me with a Mystery. There I can experience the Essence of soul which was there before “I” was born and will be there beyond death.

To hear the chant, use the audio players. To download a chant, right-click a note and save (or download) the linked MP3 file.

To download the PDF file for this chant, click Accessing the Highest PDF.

Relax and Know: Harpu u’d’u

Harpu u’d’u ki anochi Elohim
Relax and Know in Hebrew
Relax and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:11)

There is a war raging within, and this world is a reflection of that struggle. We are holding tension in our bodies, minds and hearts and we’re not even aware of it. It’s this unconscious tension that stands between us and the experience of intimacy with God.

When I began chanting this sacred phrase, I was filled with joy at the possibility of Divine connection (Devekut) so available, so close. That joy bubbled up into a very celebratory melody. Later when I chanted it slowly, it felt like a completely different practice. I include both tempos for our practice..

I am learning that letting go of the struggle doesn’t mean disengaging with life. The process of surrendering and releasing the tension around “getting it right” actually creates a new vibrant spaciousness at my center that allows for a deeper awareness of miracle and Presence.

To hear the chant, use the audio players. To download a chant, right-click a note and save (or download) the linked MP3 file.

To download the PDF file for this chant, click Relax and Know PDF.

Heart Reflections: Imru vilvavchem

Imru vilvavchem al mish’kavchem v’domu selah
Heart Reflections Hebrew
Reflect in your hearts upon your beds and be still. (Psalm 4:5)

A life of spiritual practice is built around pivotal moments of transition. We want to wake up into gratefulness and continue to wake up into awareness of miracle and blessing throughout the day, sanctifying moments of nurturance, pleasure, surprise or connection. Each moment has the potential to bring us into awareness, reverence, and remembrance of God’s Presence. Even difficult moments of missed connection can awaken our yearning for Oneness. Each moment is a doorway where the mezuzah waits for recognition.

I have been somewhat obsessed with lifting up my morning moments of awakening with practices of gratefulness and inspiration. And now I find myself turning towards the mysteries of bedtime, sleep, and dreaming. I’ve learned that how we fall asleep matters and that the quality of our sleep can set the stage for tremendous healing and rejuvenation.

In this practice, we commit to awareness even as we fall into the reverie of sleep. And that commitment leads us to a profound stillness where God can find us, as we relax and surrender into the Divine embrace.

To hear the chant, use the audio players. To download a chant, right-click a note and save (or download) the linked MP3 file.

To download the PDF file for this chant, click Heart Reflections PDF.

Surrendering the Small Self: Kach-na

Kach-na et-nafshi mimeni
Surrendering the Small Self Hebrew text
Take my soul (nefesh) from me. (Jonah 4:3)

On the afternoon of Yom Kippur, we read the story of Jonah, the reluctant prophet who ran from his calling because he didn’t want the people of Nineva to repent and be forgiven. When, after a tumultuous storm and a forced retreat inside the belly of a whale, he finally prophesied to the people of Nineva; they did indeed repent and God forgave them. Jonah was quite unhappy about all this and his suffering that was caused by attachment to small mind/small self, was unbearable. Jonah says “take my soul from me because I would rather die than live.”

The word for “soul” that he uses is “nefesh,” which, in our tradition refers to the lowest level of soul, the part of us that is completely attached to our separate identity, and immersed in the dualism of materiality.

This is a powerful and potentially dangerous practice of surrender of the small self. When we say to God, “Take my soul from me,” we want to be very clear just what we are surrendering. Before you begin chanting, identify your pettiness, the small-minded habits, the old un-conscious reactive and repetitive patterns that you are ready to release. Lay them on the altar of the chant. Offer up the small self. Open to the Big Self.

(Don’t chant this while driving or using heavy machinery or spacing out. It is powerful!)

To hear the chant, use the audio players. To download a chant, right-click a note and save (or download) the linked MP3 file.

To download the PDF file for this chant, click Surrendering the Small Self PDF.