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What might 7 days of chanting do to someone’s voice? Lemons, tea, chai and lozenges were gulped in
abundance. However, there were times when each of us wondered if we could possibly chant the next session. Several people went temporarily hoarse, including one of the lamas – the one who speaks fluent English. Someone had homeopathic remedies for a sore throat which also seemed to help the vocal cords. The monk from Drikung Til (Khenpo Choephel – who was actually the Umze from Drikung – we are very blessed indeed) told us that they typically alternate chanting – one half of the room would do a couple series and then rest as the other half took over. We did this several times, but it did not seem to catch on. When we did alternate, it was a definite boost of energy – getting to rest a spell was like heaven.
As you can imagine, sitting in the same place, chanting the same words over and over for hours at a time can become a little repetitive, even for a seasoned yogi, which I am far from! Of course there was a visualization we were supposed to be doing as well, but it was hard to put all the pieces into place and hold them there while chanting and not falling asleep. Therefore, I became very fascinated with little things – like the manner in which the carpets seemed to slowly drift, like tectonic plates, across the room – of course it would take several days to move much, but I became sensitive to millimeters of floating and of course I had to put them back into place. Then when that became boring, the yogi sitting next to me, and I played with a little piece of glittery paper and a green sprinkle from a cupcake. We had loads of fun with these. The carpets had little flowers on them and we would put the glitter paper in the middle of a flower – like a jewel in a lotus (OM Mani Padme Hung). Are you getting the subtle humor yet? There were several occasions where he pretended to be averse to my putting little pieces of lint and dirt on his “side” of the carpet – swiftly putting it back on my side. At one point I made a face with my mala (prayer beads) and ear plugs – which my friend promptly decided should be nose plugs – to much chuckling. Yes, there was a lot of laughter. For further description of my laughing spells, see the next entry (part 4).