I’ve been working on that “one last round” experiment for a couple of days now but it is difficult to replicate.
Sometimes I start chanting with my mind in an agitated state and there’s just no way I can keep it on the leash. Most of the time I don’t even remember I am supposed to be trying.
In order to make it work I need to take a serious vow to myself, I have to shake off whatever else is on my mind at the moment, gather all my strength and exert a lot of mental energy.
I’ve noticed I use two muscles in this process. The one that pulls the wandering mind back on the Names is a familiar one, it just gets a better workout – faster response time and no compromises, but the real discovery was a muscle that forces the mind to listen to the words (can’t say Holy Names, it just focuses on the words). That one really needs a lot of attention and it gobbles up energy like a supercomputer. After one round I’m completely exhausted there.
This muscle has a couple of interesting side effects. First, it kills off any “devotional” mood, like a drill sergeant it allows no emotions and it makes my voice very robotic.
Is it favorable to devotional service? Well, on one hand it prevents any hint of sentimental chanting, on the other hand I should still be crying for the Lord like a child for a lost mother, that mood is legit. But then again, it might show me the real, base feelings for the name on which my mind paints some artificial emotions that take away my attention. So I am in two minds about this one.
The other effect is that it makes time fly. No more “is it half round yet?” thoughts, no more worrying about the watch, keeping up the speed etc. Time ceases to exist when that muscle is pumping out in full throttle. Is it good? On one hand it can’t be bad as time is illusory energy’s main agent, absence of awareness of time is a first sign of being fully absorbed in something, and there’s nothing material in listening to and chanting the Holy Names.
On the other hand, the time is not supposed to fly when one is chanting, it supposed to stop – “yugaitam nimishena”! That means I’m not doing it right or I’m not there yet. Of course I’m not there yet, but shouldn’t I be unhappy that time flies faster than I expect? After all it’s taking me to my premature death – I’m not ready yet to die in full Krishna Consciousness. I have only so many days left and so much work to do? Is there any real benefit in this mechanical, robotic chanting?
Or will this muscle eventually develop some emotional flexibility? That would be perfect.
For now I can’t deploy it for more than two rounds and it doesn’t come on somewhere in the middle, it really needs serious mental preparation. Maybe this is what the acharyas meant by “intensity”. Not emotional intensity of praying but mental intensity of concentration.
This theory needs a lot more studies and some serious breakthroughs and the results could potentially have far reaching consequences. I will keep you posted, in the interests of science.