Sing an old Song, Sing it Loud and Sing it often, even just for fun. Does singing make you happy, or do you sing because
Just enjoy singing
Chanting is singing. Hymnals are singing. Singing is good.
These styles of singing are meditative.
Meditation is something that unto itself is good for a person. In my experience, outside of monasteries, the most practiced in the art of meditation are yogis/yoginas that have studied ancient eastern meditation, at least when it comes to teaching. They simply are the experts in the field. I have never met one these that is "religious".
Now it also seems to me that Christians should be meditators. I feel fairly confident that there are well over 20 references to meditating in the bible. From what I can tell most modern translations lean more toward the words, concentrate and pray, when in fact often the concept referred to is meditation. My understanding of this trend, is that it is an intentional change to make sure we are not confused by non-Christian meditation practices, like transcendental. I hope that a new day is coming where serious practiced meditation returns to a place of honor in our churches. Singing songs is one of the most beautiful methods of meditating.
I am not such a shy fellow. I really like to meditate and find it is most beneficial in my life and those around me when I meditate often. I am also a devout, youth minister for Christ. I find no conflict, and indeed benefits from both to the other. This is especially true where the meditation is singing.
In meditation we use some chants that are most likely over 4 thousand years old. Some are sing songy and others are 109 repetitions. The words are almost none translatable because the Sanskrit they are written in is so old and spiritual it does not match well with our more basic practical modern languages. But the tones have an amazing impact in our bodies and mind.
In church we sing some hymns that are hundreds of years old and actually translated from Latin, Italian and German. We also sing modern ones that are just uplifting and delightful. In my churches we also sing Vietnamese and Spanish hymns.
There is a wonderful truth to both meditation singing and hymnal singing, they open up some spiritual receptors that we mainly cover up in our day to day living. Another cool thing is doing it with others. Wow sometimes it can just rock your very soul. Think about it, as you are singing these songs with others you are singing the same song that has been sung across the world by like minded spiritual people, just the continuum is a source of strength and bonding with others.
Now when my youngest son was still in the womb and kicking up a storm and distressing his mother, I would place my hand nearest to him and sing some spirituals, he would immediately calm down. A few years later the same songs are sung to him to help calm, relax and center him. These work extremely well, in any language. Currently his favorites are, Amen in the Sidney Portier fashion, from Lillies of the Field and the Gayatra Mantra, in the Deva Premal style.
There are certain tones and vibrations that no doubt have a healthy influence on the body. I think that is a good thing. But that is not why I do it. I do it because I like it and it puts me in a better place to see the beauty in this world, and to be receptive to the wonders outside of it.
A good friend of mine that lived a couple thousand years ago wrote to his buddies in an old city called Phillipi ;-) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.