For years I have worked in call centers which required me to make hundreds of phone calls per day which were all fairly similar in nature. In short, I’ve worked many very repetitious jobs. In my younger days I may not have seen the value and virtue, as it were, of a thorough “job well done” under these monotonous conditions.
I believe that mantra yoga has allowed me to become much more comfortable with repetition, which in turn has allowed me to do a much better job of giving my all to these calls (though that last point I could also attribute to the teachings of the Gita on ‘dharma’ if not the simple process of maturation. In my current job I have what amounts to not a script but a guideline for points to touch upon when leaving voicemail messages. Though I use it, I have made it a point to challenge myself to vary, from call to call, my pitch and inflection as well as my word choice. It expands my vocabulary while allowing me to not only keep myself entertained but also test “what works” and “what doesn’t”.
This has all been going very well, but then recently yet another challenge of much greater magnitude of monotony arose: Christmas music on the radio. Only Christmas music. For 9 hours. Every day. Throughout, the almost unthinkable at one point happened. I even got sick of hearing John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
Before I go further I should make it clear that I take no issue with Christmas music on account of my being a Hindu. I embrace the essence of Sanatana-Dharma, and for me that means Christmas celebrates yet another form, dimension, aspect and face of God. I have no qualms about thinking of Christmas as “Yeshua Jayanthi”
But let’s get back to discussing Christmas music. Though I did make an effort to switch things up a bit by being assertive and changing the office radio station myself, and making a case for a less predictable selection of what is essentially white noise, I cannot fault the masses for “Getting in the Christmas spirit” and I wouldn’t want to put a serious damper on that by being a Grinch or whatever with the people I work with. I realize that for some, this music is a part of what they would not call “bhakti” but is just that. So I have let it play out, and over the last week or so I have really made strides in embracing the music. Especially in recent days in which I have come to recognize the mantra-like qualities of a dayful of Christmas music. I have noticed that almost like clockwork different versions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, and “Frosty the Snowman” will play. And the classic instrumental version of “Carol of the Bells” in it’s repetitive chord structure is like a mantra in and of itself. Whenever I hear it, I’ve come to think of it of the “Aum” at the beginning/conclusion of this 9 hour cycle of mantras that plays in the background of my consciousness throughout each day.
Jai Hari Aum
Aum hreem kamini svaha