Chanting has never been a large part of my zendo practice. Sure I chant with the sangha, and try my hardest to stay present--aware of my voice and the voices of others. But I have never really engaged it at home, by myself.
At the end of each sit, I chant the Bodhisattva's Vow, but it's more like intoning than chanting. So the other day I stood on my cushion, opened a copy of the Heart Sutra, and began chanting. I was amazed at how fully engaging it was. Since I was the only one chanting, there was no other voices to distract me.
The experience was...I don't know, crystalline?
There was only my voice chanting.
But that doesn't quite express it quite well either. For I wasn't conscious of my voice. There was only...
I can't believe that it's taken me this long to engage chanting, but better late then never, I suppose. Now I look forward to it at the end of each zazen session.
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva doing deep prajna paramita clearly saw...
Photo borrowed from Creative Commons flickr user: xcode.