New York State In-depth

CNY Inspirations: A beautiful mystery

This feature is coordinated by The Post-Standard/Syracuse.com and InterFaith Works of CNY. Follow this theme and author posted Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

I am a lover of books and reading. I have never focused much on mystery novels. However, the incredibly popular Inspector Gamache novels by Louise Penny offer not only delightful crime situations and characters you can feel, but wisdom that stays with long after the last page has been read. I often take away invaluable insights, quotes, and literary references for my personal reflection journal. Since I am also a lover of music, I found her book, “A Beautiful Mystery,” particularly special. It is set in an abbey where silent monks live simply and sing Gregorian chants. A special reverence was required to enter this world. As it turns out, singing chants and listening to them had the power to jettison us to an unexplained sense of belonging. We become less alone. We remain individuals but become part of something bigger and part of everything including other people, animals, rocks, trees, the sky. The book describes the Gregorian chants “as entering the body and rearranging our DNA so they we are part of everything around us. We are at peace.”

Singing chants requires breath and are a way to draw closer to our true selves and certainly closer to God. I find that listening to them also slows my breathing and calms me. We don’t dance to chants. We are still. we breathe we rest We transcend the present moment. I loved the idea that something so beautiful could somehow enter our physical body and change us. In a time where we are moving through a pandemic, I found that powerful. However alone we might feel, or uncertain, we can take comfort in the idea that we are all connected. We share each other’s humanity and all its joys and struggles. One’s breath is tied to the other. One moment can change everything. It is only in stillness do we reach our true selves, purpose and inner peace. Music. breathe stillness listening. beauty transcendence Peace.

Lisa Melara is the Career and Workforce Advisor at Lemoyne College.

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