Turner, Tina - Private Dancer
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Andrea Miller deputy editor of Lion's Roar magazine (formerly Shambhala Sun)
In what ways has your practice changed you?
I feel that chanting for thirty-five years has opened a door inside me, and that even if I never chanted again, that door would still be there. I feel at peace with myself. I feel happier than I have ever been, and it is not from material things. Material things make me happy, but I am already happy before I acquire these things. I have a nature within myself now that’s happy.
I was born into a Baptist family. I went to church every Sunday. The preachers were speaking the words of God, but I didn’t really hear what the preacher said. What affected me was the environment. It was the people’s “amen” in agreeing with the preacher. We had a young Baptist reunion to learn about the Bible and it put me in touch with information about God and Jesus and being nice to people. My mother taught me that saying the Lord’s Prayer would help me, so I kept saying it straight through life until I was introduced to Buddhism.
But it didn’t matter that I changed from being a Baptist to being a Buddhist because I learned later that they’re the same. They just use different words. Maybe I stopped saying the Lord’s Prayer and went into Buddhism because I needed new words—I needed refreshment— to get to the next step. I noticed that saying the Lord’s Prayer and chanting a mantra had a similar effect on me. But I was chanting a mantra for longer periods of time and more often than I had ever said the Lord’s Prayer. I didn’t have this system for the Lord’s Prayer and it’s a system that works for me.