Chanting (Kirtan): My Bordering-on-Mystic Weekend

I love opening myself up to new things and stretching myself in ways that I’ve never done before.

That was basically the jist of my three-day holiday weekend at the beautiful Omega Institute, where I listened, swayed and was moved by a succession of one stellar performer after another performing "ecstatic chanting" or kirtan.

If you’re a chanting neophyte like me, you’ll go "huh?"

Frankly, I just desperately needed — and was urged by a friend — to get away from New York City and relax for three days without doing any sugar-liberation coaching or even thinking about my book SUGAR SHOCK!

So off I went to gorgeous, quaint Rhinebeck, New York.

The humorous thing is that I so urgently needed to escape from work that I didn’t even read the fascinating catalogue description ahead of time! (Shame on me! And I’m an experienced journalist! LOL!)

You see, if I’d reviewed the information, I would have learned that I would be witnessing something really big! That’s right: A Who’s Who in the western world of chanting performed at Omega.

So, surrounded by 500-something folks — almost all of whom were avid chanting fans — I got my quick crash course in devotional singing.

While my initial reaction was one of hesitation, I was greatly surprised as the weekend wore on, and I was entertained, inspired, uplifted and transported into a meditative state (and yes, I confess, at times disoriented, exhausted and overwhelmed) by the likes of the famed Krishna Das, Carioca, Shyamdas, Jai Uttal, Wah! and Robert Gass and my new favorite devotional singers, Miten and Deva Premal (whose CD, "Songs for the Inner Lover," I’m enjoying now).

Anyhow, that’s certainly not the last of it for me. I’m already planning on attending a performance with Krishna Das and another with Carioca.

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