Buddha Bellow

By Caleigh Le Grand 

I suck at meditating. Both my mother and sister are yogis, but the mental repose gene seemed to have skipped over me.

I’m the girl who regrettably tucks my rolled-up yoga mat under my arm and drags my big bag of guilt out behind me as I sneak out the back door of the yoga studio just as the “exercise” part is over and the relaxation part begins. Until a particularly memorable coffee date with a friend, I felt alone in my inability to relax. He told me he felt the same. Then he told me about a group of people he joins every week to talk about life and chant.

“Chant?” I questioned.

“Yeah, it’s a Nichiren Buddhist practice. I know it sounds a little hokey, but it’s honestly changed my life in ways I never thought imaginable. It helped me through some really hard times,” he replied.

“Chanting, hmm? Nobody’s going to make me lie down and get quiet enough to hear my own thoughts? I can get on board with that!” And so I did.

I began attending gatherings with a welcoming group of spiritually curious and sociable Buddhists who never judge when I can’t make it on time or even at all. We chant, “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”, which is said to enable anyone to bring forth his or her innate enlightened wisdom, compassion and life force.

For me, this practice is merely about refocusing my own energy. The very sound my vocal chords make while chanting helps return me to a familiar frequency I experience every time I do it. It helps me quickly find my “meditative” state. And it’s comforting.  When I’m stressed, I chant or rhythmically repeat the words in my head while en route to auditions, during downtime on set, or running errands around the city. When I’m anxious, it makes me feel focused.

I feel enjoyably silly while chanting out loud at times, empowered and in tune with myself and my surroundings at others. Regardless, while I’m busy projecting noise waves out into the world, I stop worrying and let go of my need to control that which is ungovernable. I may always be the “noisy girl” at the yoga studio, but that’s okay. Now I have a home for my noise.


Caleigh Le Grand is an actor and writer living in Toronto.


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2 Responses to “Buddha Bellow

  • Hi Caleigh,
    Chanting and talking about life once a week with Buddhists sounds great. Could you please send me more info on how to contact the group.
    Thanks, Fran

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