Friday, September 7, 2012

A Joyful Noise


Much of my first week as Ino has been delightfully consumed with training students on the drums, bells and vocals that attune us (literally) to the rhythm of our sitting and service.  There are religions of melody and religions of harmony, and from my perspective, Buddhism falls in the latter category.  Indeed, the Sanskrit word sama, translated in English as “right” (as in the Eight-Fold Path of right speech, right action, etc.) actually means “in tune.” 

To harmonize, to align, to resonate.  These are the qualities of the bells, drums and voices that come forth in our service.  Even after more than 20 years in this practice, I still break out in a smile when the assembly begins a chant somewhat tentatively, on a range of oft-discordant notes, and then suddenly without effort finds a common pitch and well-tuned harmonies – even among people who are dissonant for the rest of the day.

There is hope in those moments, an unspoken pull toward resonance that trumps the separate self.  How interesting that we so deeply fear losing our self, yet we come to harmony so quickly in chant, willing to give up our own pitch-position for the reward of being in tune.  No need for everyone to be on the same note -- harmony has a better chance of finding more matching frequencies from which we say, “Ah, yes, that’s my note!  I can belong.  I can be at home with the song in my heart.”


7 comments:

Shundo said...

Lovely!

Sierra said...

Loved this post! Especially your comments about wanting to come togeather to sing in harmony with eachother, but also that finding strength in your own pitch can (sometimes) strengthen the overall sound.
(my opinion on the sometimes ;)

clare said...

Beautiful, Valorie! I like how harmony works with and reflects individuality and teamwork and how it is alive, in the moment. It's like a flock of birds finding their pattern together as they fly. And I love the sense of belonging and feeling at home that you described. Deep bows. :)

beefiend said...

Good to hear your voice. harmony feels so familiar.

Myomon said...

Varlorie, enjoy your seat and thank you. I love chanting and service for those reasons too....hope to see you again soon.

Karissa Sellman said...

Welcome, Valorie - I look forward to practicing with you!

dawna Foreman said...

Orchestrating forces in play, the concerto begins!