In a previous article (The Story of Christian Meditation and its Practice) we studied how chanting became a tool to worship God and as a way to develop a more wholesome person. The training started early in human history. Genesis 4:26 accurately recounts how starting from the second generation of Adam people began to "call" on the name of the Lord.
In the article, we navigated through the Bible's original Hebrew language and discovered that a more appropriate translation and meaning of the verse recounts that, men began to chant, or sing, the name of the Lord.
Then we learned that the practice of chanting, or singing God's name continued centuries into the future until the Israelites built the Temple. By that time the verbal pronunciation of God's was restricted to priests only.
Today we can assert that Genesis 4:26 is a documented record of the first chanting practice in human history. As you may recall, the practice began quickly after the first major sin people witnessed, murder. Following this event, we surmised that spiritual leaders viewed meditative chanting as key to keeping the heart and mind more in tune with God and pure.
One important thing to remember is that later in the scriptures the words "murmur", "sing", "meditate", and "meditation" begin to appear, sometimes related to each other. So chanting and meditation, or being still before God (Psalm 46:10) become intimately connected.
Apparently, early generations adopted the practice of chant as the preferred method to meditate with God.
Need to start your own Christian Meditation Chant? Start here and listen.
Additionally, for the first generations of humanity, it provided an easy type devotional worship. Written communication and study as we know today did not exist then, so chant was a relatively easy way anyone could reap many excellent benefits, mainly the knowledge of God and the reduction of carnal thought.
Following scriptural thinking, this way implies that many things happen to us physically when we chant. If that's true and knowing that God created human beings, then we would have to assume that God fine-tuned the body to chant and to receive its benefits.
Back in early historical accounts, it was apparent that science did not exist. That's all changed. Today we have sophisticated scanning devices that can look into brain and body. I imagine our ancient ancestors would be astounded at the technological marvels we've developed over just the last couple hundred years.
Best of all, our technology can see how scriptural instruction affects our bodies while proving God's word right, so let's explore.
First a little about the brain. The left side of your brain is in charge of analytical thought, logic, language, reasoning, and writing. The right side of your brain helps you with creativity, imagination, intuition, holistic thought, and music.
You might have already connected the dots. Chant is language that requires logical thought, while its rhythmic pronunciation requires creativity and holistic thought. Chanting helps you use both sides on your brain almost simultaneously.
Using both sides of your brain synergistically in a coordinated way can assist you with clear thinking and higher mental function. Many tasks like language, or math, require the recruitment of one unique hemispheric ability rather than the whole brain.
Hemispheric switching between both sides is so important that studies have shown it happens automatically during sleep. So it's an embedded design in our genetics. Doctors are still learning why cerebral switching is paramount to our mental health. Speculation suggests that training ourselves to use one area of the brain repeatedly may result in the deficiency of other sectors.
Think of your brain like a set of muscles. Much like your real muscles, unused areas of your brain may atrophy which may cause debilities. So God created a fail safe mechanism in you, hemispheric switching during sleep. One could say that it's God's love that protects us while we sleep so we may have the opportunity to live and grow with more wholesome abilities.
The production of sound and rhythm combined is so astonishing that scientists measured near perfect hemispheric brain symmetry in song birds.
They observed how songbirds could rapidly switch between left and right brain structures. The study concluded that the nuclei in the subject birds were highly interconnected and therefore, thought of as one network. The interconnectedness explains their high ability to produce melodies while executing high-speed breathing motor skills.
Any person able to sing like a song bird would be considered an anomaly of creation, or a genius of the highest degree. So science shows that training our mind as a whole network is a key to higher performance, while God's word in Genesis 4:26 details how chanting helps us to be better people. It sounds like science is catching up to an ancient principle espoused by the Bible.
Going a little deeper into the science of the chanting, scientists observed how pronouncing vowels stimulated regions of the brain that enhanced mood while deactivating depression and anxiety symptoms.
It's now evident that God wired our brain and body to benefit from chanting, and it's probably the reason why your brain loves the practice of chant so much. I hope this article encourages you to start your own practice today.
God bless you. We're praying for you. See you in the kingdom.