What is the practice of chant?
Maybe a good way to understand it is to relate the spiritual practice of chanting to the practice of meditation. Said simply, meditation is a way to enact or invoke or access the Enlightenment of Emptiness. Chant is a way to enact or invoke or access the Enlightenment of Fullness.
If I would make a distinction, the classical Eastern mystical tradition, which shows up in particular ways in Hasidism and Jewish Kabbalah and certain strains of Christian mysticism, is about realizing Emptiness—that which is beyond any concept, that which is the Ground of all Being, that which is empty of all that is not full. It is the substance of all that is. It allows me to ground myself in True Self.
It makes me realize that my true identity is the True Self and the total number of True Selves is one. True Self is non-conceptual. It is beyond all structured content. It is Emptiness.
The Enlightenment of Fullness—which is a term I first deployed two years ago—describes the emergent property of World Spirituality. It emerges out of the ground of Emptiness, the Fullness of All That Is, and expresses itself in a non-dual fashion in all of the fullness of life: in sexuality, commerce, communication, structures of organization and consciousness, the play of nature, the ecstatic dance of mathematics and physics.
It is the Fullness of the Infinite, which animates all of the finite, which is ultimately not different than the infinite. The finite and the infinite are one. The interior face of the cosmos is infinity which garbs itself in this world in all the garb of everyday life. The Enlightenment of Fullness is to realize and live an enlightened, awake, alive, aware life. It means I am always fully awake in myself…and to access that fullness we use chant.
Chant is not a sing-along just as meditation is not not-talking. Chanting is a practice—a full-bodied, full-hearted, full-minded practice—through which I open the door to the Enlightenment of Fullness..precisely like meditation is a full-bodied, full-throated silence which involves heart, mind, and body through which I open the portal to the Enlightenment of Emptiness. In the end, both are one.