John Emil Augustine | Chants for Renewal, Presence, and Awareness

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World: Chants New Age: Meditation Moods: Spiritual
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Chants for Renewal, Presence, and Awareness

by John Emil Augustine

These chants and mantras will ignite your awareness, not put you into a trance. During my solitary recording retreat, I became invigorated as if charged with electricity, and I believe that energy can be sent to you through the music each time you listen.
Genre: World: Chants
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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. We Who Are Relatives of the Rainbow
9:30 $0.99
clip
2. Bestow On Us Awareness and Compassion
9:14 $0.99
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3. For Rebirth Across the Earth
9:14 $0.99
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4. So When the Sun Rises, It Shines for Everyone
9:09 $0.99
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5. And When the Body Decomposes, Good Deeds Remain
9:15 $0.99
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6. Unite Us in Life, Oh Winter, Oh Death
8:34 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Chants for Renewal, Presence, and Awareness

Written, performed, and produced by John Emil Augustine
Mastered by Greg Reierson, Rare Form Mastering


Track Listing:

1. We Who Are Relatives of the Rainbow
2. Bestow On Us Awareness and Compassion
3. For Rebirth Across the Earth
4. So When the Sun Rises, It Shines for Everyone
5. And When the Body Decomposes, Good Deeds Remain
6. Unite Us in Life, Oh Winter, Oh Death


Why I Recorded This and Why Listen

I was driving my truck one day and decided to try a meditation mantra that I had just read about: “Om mani padme hum.” Meditation is supposed to help with awareness, so I figured what better time to be aware than while driving. Having not had much luck meditating up that that point, I thought it might be better if I were meditating during an activity because I have far too much energy to just hold still. And it was better. After ten minutes, I began thinking, “Everyone should do this.” Then it occurred to me that I could record mantras for people like me with which to meditate. Recordings of mantras that would ignite awareness, not put the listener into a trance. So this chant cycle began. As I recorded, I began to become invigorated, and I realized listeners could incorporate the chants into all kind of activities: exercising, driving, working, really any activity. Even sitting and holding still.

Recording this album caused unexpected Presence, Renewal, and Awareness in me, and I believe anyone who listens can experience it too. Anyone can approach listening to the chants with an open heart and mind the same way I approached recording them.

When I got the feeling that I should record this chant cycle, there was no cycle, no plan, just a feeling. With permission from my wife to be absent from our household for a week, I locked myself away in our back room, and decided I would use only the instruments in that room. Then I gave up my decision-making role and simply began. I understood just enough of what I was about to do in advance to continue as a car drives through a fog. I had only to follow the road ahead.

Midway through the first track, I began to understand that what I presumed was one track was actually two. After the completion of those two tracks, I then began to understand that the cycle would be six total tracks. The ideas were not my own; I was simply following directions during the process. What I was following, I cannot describe. I can only describe my body and mind as if charged with electricity for an entire week. The feeling was both elating and maddening. At times, I could see every part of the whole at once. Other times, I worried I may not finish because I had no idea how I was meant to continue. Soon after, I would get a new feeling and would know exactly what I was to do next. I was tired, recording in six or seven hour stretches without breaks, yet I could not stop nor get rid of the electricity fueling me. I believe this energy that comes from following one’s own feelings can be passed on through music. And I believe the energy in these chants is actually Renewal, Presence, and Awareness.


Chant Notes

1. We Who Are Relatives of the Rainbow

The chant “We who are relatives of the rainbow” is taken from Eagle Man Ed McGaa’s book Mother Earth Spirituality. McGaa tells of a relative ceremony in which relatives “of the rainbow,” or of every color, are united in the Ogala Lakota way during a sweat lodge ceremony by blood. It is the Lakota belief that all nations must unite and work together to renew our earth. Beginning with a mindset of unity with all people on earth is where this spiritual journey starts. The music itself draws from Aboriginal Australian and Native American influences.


2. Bestow On Us Awareness and Compassion

Once we are in a united mindset, the “Om Mani Padme Hum” mantra from Buddhist tradition is meant to cleanse all negative facets of our interaction with others. Bo Lozoff in his book It's a Meaningful Life: It Just Takes Practice views the mantra as a prayer of compassion which he equates to the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.” Jesus and Buddha are similar in many teachings, including the intent behind this mantra. Om purifies bliss and pride (realm of the gods); Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment (realm of the jealous gods); Ni purifies passion and desire (human realm); Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice (animal realm); Me purifies greed and possessiveness (realm of the hungry ghosts); Hum purifies aggression and hatred (hell realm). With this purity of spirit, our interactions with our relatives on earth can begin anew. The music in this track is based on Tibetan Buddhist Monk chant and American jazz.


3. For Rebirth Across the Earth

Without life’s baggage, we may begin anew as a child. This chant cycle turns to the ancient Germanic spring traditions; to rebirth and renewal, to imagination and creativity. After all, awareness is the ability to see a thing with new eyes: not as it has always been, but as each of us experiences each moment right now. The act of seeing things anew is the awakening of spring. The words to this chant are: “East and air, thinking and wisdom, hope and dawn, ideas and clarity, from night to tomorrow,” and were cherry-picked from a German translation of lyrics of a song by Lisa Thiel called “Ostara (Spring Song).” The music draws from Gregorian Chant based on a Phrygian scale using homophony, or parallel fourths, which is common in middle eastern, far eastern, and for a time, in early European medieval music. Underlying the melody is a drone or pedal tone which is quite commonly found in traditional Scottish, Slovenian, East Indian, and ancient Southwest Asian music.


4. So When the Sun Rises, It Shines for Everyone

The mantra “when the sun rises, it shines for everyone” is a call to be present in life. Around the turn of the 20th century, various music enthusiasts and even record companies set out on world excursions to record the indigenous music in every nook and cranny on the earth. These recording still exist, and what you hear in many of them is large groups singing together in sheer joy. It is as if you can hear life in the African, Island, and South American recordings. This mantra is a reminder that the joy of life, of which the sun plays a large part during summer, shines on us all. With the proper mindset, that life, that joy can emanate from us all as well. The music here is influenced by four major regions: South America, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and South Africa.


5. And When the Body Decomposes, Good Deeds Remain

“Rasa Sayang,” or "Feeling of Love" is a popular folk song sung in Malaysia as well as Indonesia, the Sultanate of Brunei, Singapore and East Timur. In Sanskrit, the word "Rasa" means Full of Essence. The word "Sayang" means Loving Dearly. It is interesting that in this folk song full of life and love, the words plucked from the song for this mantra remind the listener of life’s impending decay: “While the body decomposes in the earth, good deeds remain to be remembered.” This is the arc of life on the planet. As the sun sets, nothing stays as it was. We must accept the inevitable and remember the good. From this cycle, no one is immune, and some will learn its lessons. The basis for the track is Tibetan Tantric Chant combined with Indonesian Gamelan instrumental music and a hint of American jazz.



6. Unite Us in Life, Oh Winter, Oh Death

This track has no chant by design. This is the end of one cycle. There is no chant written by human hand that can adequately focus the mind on the unknowable. So the Scottish and Celtic funerary tradition as well as the New Orleans funerary tradition are combined. The solemn reverence for that which binds on earth us, combined with the joy and renewal of death, suggest mindfulness and perspective for all things during our time on earth. “The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” (Whitman). May we make each of our verses with Renewal, Presence, and Awareness.

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