Victor Shamas, Ph.D. on Chanting and The Sound

Listen to Victor Shamas chanting:

Victor 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).

Dr. 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 learn more

The 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.

There 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 asked intently.
“His name is Dr. Pablo Singh. He’s a shaman from Mexico.”