Meditation means different things to different people, for one it could be a relaxation method, to others it could be breath awareness or a practice of self-presence. For many it is a way of deep connection with their inner self and a better understanding of their own purpose. I believe that mantra meditation is a key method to spiritual development. This method is my favourite, it is relatively simple, it brings your mind into the meditation stage much quicker and allows your intention to be at the front of your practice. Mantra is a tool that we can use to focus, it can be a sound, syllable, word, or a group of words. It could be a prayer; it could be an affirmation. Mantra meditation involves repeating the mantra, you can sing, chant, hum or repeat silently in your mind as you meditate. Mantra serves as a kind of centering device during the practice, it keeps your mind in a resting place. It collects distracting energies and it brings spiritual connection forward. As listening to good music transforms the listener, the same way mantra gradually transforms your mind.
The process of repeating a mantra is called Japa and it comes from Sanskrit. With time, when you practice Japa, the repetition gets well rooted in your mind and becomes effortless and the mantra becomes audible without any mental effort. Focusing on the sound keeps your mind at rest, the sound itself creates vibrating energy that with time becomes physically perceptible by your body. For myself - the power of mantra meditation is enormous, and it is not comparable with any other.
If you have never practiced mantra before, at the beginning it may appear rather mechanical but that is only a first impression, it might also sound weird to yourself but with time it will lead to a deeper understanding of yourself. Regular practice will open new layers of your mind, bringing consciousness into your life. From practice to practice life, its purpose, the challenges that you experienced, all this will unfold in front of you as the one entire picture that you will witness, though still you will stay in its centre.
You can use a variety of mantras for your meditation, personally I love using Sanskrit or Vedic mantras (with time I will share my favourite mantras here), but if this sounds unfamiliar to you, you can use the Christian invocation – Kyrie Eleison or The Rosary. It is very beneficial to use the mantra ‘OM’ or ‘AUM’ at the start of your practice. In Sanskrit tradition the mantra is repeated 108 times and you can use mala beads for counting – you move your fingers from one bead to the next after each repetition – this allows for your mind to rest instead being busy counting. For some of the mantras there is a certain time recommended instead of the repetitions count, with these you can set up your alarm or stopwatch.
There are three steps that can be helpful with progressing in mantra meditation practice:
Link mantra sound, or its part with the flow of your breath, this brings your concentration to the sound and breath, which stops your mind wander.
Now, let your breath flow, focus on the sound only, on the mantra’s intention, the physical part (focusing on your breath) it is now removed, and the sound stays as the main focus.
As now your mind got use to the sound the repetition becomes effortless, the power of mantra and its energy vibrates grounding your meditation practice.
Like in every practise your mind will tend to wander, and there will be the thoughts that suddenly you will notice you engage in but this is the natural part of the practice. Using mala beads can help you to stay focused on the sound, but if there is a thought that keeps attracting your attention perhaps this is something that you might need to work on, to solve and move on. The beauty of mantra meditation is that you might set the intention before your practice to find the answer to it, you might use a certain mantra that will assist you with solving it.
For me, mantra meditation is a beautiful technique that is key to finding and restoring the connection with yourself and going forward with the purpose of your life, you just need to patiently sit with it and listen to your inner voice, to your intuition and to the source. To finish this post I would like to share one of my favourite mantras – Gayatri Mantra, it is called the mother of all mantras, it is one of the oldest (1700BCE) and most powerful Vedic mantras as per Hindu beliefs. It is believed that by chanting this mantra you will achieve success and happiness in your life. When chanted regularly it helps to establish and stabilize your mind. Gayatri Mantra is a declaration of appreciation to the Sun (light) and Divine (God). For myself it sounds the best when sang by Deva Premal (link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60FH24ucmsg ) you might like to listen to it at the start, chant with it and with time chant on your own. Enjoy…