I did wonder what they would make of it when I recently offered to lead/facilitate some mindful singing at the Mindfulness Association Joyful Club weekend. I am not a great singer, but there is something about the connection to other people and the sense of being more than just me, the small “I”, at least some of the time, until I get caught up with “Am I doing this right?” and I wanted to share this and see if others got it in the way that I do.
I had the good fortune to go to Plum village a couple of years ago. In the Community of Interbeing, singing is an important part of the expression / practice of mindfulness. I realised how sharing and singing together allowed and even helped me to open and soften, very close to the experience I have of connecting with compassion, and it also supported being in, and aware of, the present moment . The daily singing allowed or helped me to drop the internal yadda-yadda dialogue, and the daily practice and silence allowed my throat and heart and chest to open so that singing came from a deeper gut, more relaxed place. If you do any singing you will maybe notice how at the end of a session your speaking voice can sound/feel deeper and richer.
So there is a loop, singing gets me into the place and gives me a small echo of resting in awareness, being in the “is-ness” of the present moment. You don’t hang on to the notes, once you sing a note it is out there and you bring the next one. Once there is some familiarity with the song, I think it is possible to get the feeling of being in the song while singing, even though I guess I am still doing something.
And from the other perspective, formal practice has an effect on my groundedness and openness in singing. And in the feeling of being with and being in harmony with others, allows or enables a softening and opening up in me. It also helps to get me out of that small “I”, really demonstrating the connection to others and the sense of being more than, being a part of something outside myself.
And all of this perhaps allows me to glimpse what Tsoknyi Rinpoche is talking about when he talks about experiencing the freedom within ourselves, and awakening the heart.
It was such a pleasure to play with some of this in the group. I am so grateful; that the joyful club were up for giving it a go and experimenting, so that even though I was leading, I could still get glimpses: of being here in this body; breathing and singing in the simple and rather lovely mix of it all.
Thanks to all those who were there.