Call & response is a form of chanting. The person leading the chant calls out a part of a chant, hymn, or mantra. Sometimes with a group, one responds by repeating what was just called out. Then the next part of the chant is called out. Again one responds by repeating the second part of the chant that was just called out. And onward it progresses – call and response.
If this is new to you: chanting, perhaps the language of Sanskrit, singing with a group, chanting as part of an experience in a yoga class; if any of this is new to you, it is bound to bring about a moment of pause, a moment of “Wait – What’s going on???”
|Dan McCarthy (Anton Kern Gallery NYC)|
Once you are around it more and more, once it begins to feel more & more familiar, the “What’s going on?” aspect of it begins to fade. Still perhaps one has reservations and so might choose to stay at the edge of the experience rather than dive into it.
But in doing so, we now also begin to become familiar with our fears, insecurities, and anxieties. The whole experience of chanting seems very invigorating. But, “What if I mess it up? What if I make a fool of myself? What if I sound all wrong? What if I don’t hit the right note?”, all these “what ifs” keep us at the edge of the experience.
Eventually there comes a time when we stop caring about the what ifs. There comes a time when we stop caring about what if we don’t hit the right note; there comes a time we stop caring if the outcome will be perfect. As our attachment to the perfect outcome loosens, suddenly all our fears, insecurities and anxieties drop. We are free. Suddenly we hear our voice respond to a call.
Ref.: The Bhagawad Geeta, Chapter IV Verse 20
Having abandoned attachment to the fruits-of-action, ever content, depending on nothing, he does not do anything, though engaged in actions. (Translation by Swami Chinmayananda)
After Thought –
Some say our lives are continuously a call and response. Circumstances, people, world events and nature continuously call out to us for a response. Often trapped in our inner dialogue of our fears & anxieties, we fail to respond; mired in the belief that what we do won’t make a difference. Through the practices of Yoga & Meditation, through the calming of these agitations, through Self-Knowledge that is free of anxiety, we find the freedom to act and respond.