A woman once came up to me at the end of a Kirtan and said: “Though I am Christian, I love Kirtan, for it is the place where I feel the deepest sense of devotion.” She added that she visualizes praying to Christ as she sings the mantras. She then asked: “Do you think that as a Christian, it is alright for me to sing Kirtan?” She seemed concerned that her faith and love for Kirtan were somehow not aligned, and that she was perhaps not being true to her religion.
Her inquiry brings up a universally relevant issue. How do we truly know that something is real or good for us? How can we tell when something aligns with our Soul and is leading us in a positive direction? We may have learned that to confirm the validity of something, we must either ask someone who we consider to be an authority, or rely on a universally accepted belief on the subject. This is no more exemplified in the desire to cross-pollinate spiritual beliefs, and religious orientations. When we opt to pick and choose from different paths, and synthesize our practice, we may be told that we are diluting or even degrading the tradition.
I would like to suggest a very different perspective on the subject, and that is to cultivate a sense of what RESONATES with you. Developing a sensitivity to resonance is somewhat musical in nature, as the actual definition of the word means: 'the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating'. When something strikes a depth of feeling within us, it simply feels right or rings true. For me, this translates to all aspects of life. In truth, we know what resonates instantly, because we feel it deep in our core!
If this is not your experience, try this practice: In any given situation, allow yourself to FEEL completely without judgment or mental interference. Then ask a simple but powerful question: “Does it resonate with me?” That is really all it takes to know if anything is right for you, and of course, this is exactly what I recommended to the woman at the Kirtan!