Listen to Victor Shamas chanting:
Shamas, Ph.D., teaches psychology at the University of
Arizona, specializing in health psychology and consciousness
studies. Since 1996, he has led a chanting circle called
Global Chant, which meets every Wednesday night at 6pm
at the Little Chapel of All Nations (1401 E. 1st St, Tucson).
Shamas has a new book entitled The Chanter’s
Guide: Sacred Chanting as a Shamanic Practice. He is also
the director of Act on Wisdom, a networking organization
for spiritual healers that supports and links together
healing circles throughout the world. See www.ActOnWisdom.com to
following is an excerpt from Victor Shamas' article " The
Healing Power of Chant"
in the October/November issue of Arizona Choices Journal.
You can find the Journal in many
locations around Tucson, and you can also read
it on line as an Adobe Reader pdf file.
is a sound in the universe that can heal. The Sanskrit
word for it is shabd, which not only means “sound” but
also “essence” or “clarity.” In Sufi
mythology, this pure sound created the universe by shattering
formlessness into form. All of creation was imbued with The
Sound and resonates with it. As humans, we seek it out because
it represents the perfect wholeness or unity that we last
knew at the moment of our creation.
For much of my life, I have been searching for The Sound.
I first discovered it at the age of three, when I heard the
legendary gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson. Every weekday at
noon, Mahalia would come on the television for five minutes
to sing gospel. I was so compelled by her inspirational singing
that I would cry if I missed her program.
By the time I was 12, I was trying to recreate The Sound,
playing hymns on the guitar and singing in my school choir.
Then in college, I was taught my first chant: Love, love,
love, love/People we are made for love/Love each other as
ourselves/For we are one. After that, I was hooked on chanting.
It made no difference to me if the chants were Hindu, Jewish,
Sufi, Christian, Buddhist, or Native American. I loved all
of it. In fact, I became so enamored of chanting that I helped
start a chanting circle in Tucson. This circle, which is
called Global Chant, has been meeting every Wednesday night
for the past 11 years.
Although I threw myself into chanting as much as I knew how,
I rarely experienced The Sound. And so I began to search
more actively for it. The more I searched, the less I found
it. Eventually, I reached a point where I could no longer
remember what exactly I was searching for. Finally, in a
moment of desperation, I started praying. At a meditation
retreat, I prayed to the universe to let me find my connection
to The Sound. For three days, I prayed. And I chanted.
Then, my life started to change. Three weeks later, a man
in an orange robe showed up at Global Chant. When I asked
him how he had heard about our circle, he replied, “My
teacher sent me.”
His answer surprised me. “And who’s your teacher?” I
“His name is Dr. Pablo Singh. He’s a shaman from