So, I do not often practice this type of meditation, but it is a super useful tool for beginners who struggle to clear their minds. This particular meditation is useful, as a mantra is a great way to center yourself and be more focused. A Mantra is a syllable or a short word without a specific meaning – that’s the important part. Each mantra does have a meaning, but it is more complex and tend to be vaguely general meanings that are different for each user. A mantra is used repeatedly in order to focus the mind. A mantra is not an affirmation, as an affirmation is used to convince yourself of something. Mantras stem from Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist traditions.
Some people call Mantra meditation “om meditation” because generally the mantra “om” is used for this type meditation. However, this is just one of the mantras that can be used and there are many others. Some teachers insist that the choice of word you use and its pronunciation is very important due to the “vibrational energy” that is associated with the sound and meaning. Then there are others who say that the mantra itself is just a tool to focus the mind and that the chosen word is irrelevant. This is dependent on your belief system and practice.
Words of Wisdom
Mantra meditation is a good technique for beginners because people usually find it easier to focus on a repetitive sound rather than their breathing. This is specifically because a mantra is a word and the mind perceives thoughts in words. It is especially useful if you tend to overthink or if your mind is full of thoughts, because the mantra meditation requires constant attention.
How to Practice Mantra Meditation
Step 1: Choose an environment conducive to mediation that is quiet, cool and where you feel relaxed and comfortable.
Step 2: Sit on a cushion, the floor, or a chair, with your hands on your knees, facing up or down. Sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Ensure that your back is supported if necessary.
Step 3: Choose a mantra or word that resonates with you, but that is not too meaningful – I will list some well-known mantras in the next section.
Step 4: Repeat this mantra in your mind, silently over and over again throughout the whole practice. The mantra can also be whispered softly and lightly if you need an aid for concentration.
Step 5: The practice can also be combined with being aware of the breath or by coordinating your breath and the mantra.
Step 6: You can continue with this for any period of time or for a set number of repetitions, traditionally 108 or 1008 repetitions are done and mala beads can be used for counting.
Step 7: Allow the practice to deepen and the mantra may continue seemingly by itself or even disappear and leave you in a state of deep inner peace.
Guidelines for Mantra Meditation
- Repeating the mantra creates a mental vibration that in turn allows you to reach deeper levels of awareness than other types of meditation.
- Repeating a mantra can help you to disconnect from all the thoughts in your mind, so that you can slip into the gap between thoughts.
- The mantra is a tool, essentially an ancient power word that subtly supports your meditation practice.
- Below are a few well-known Hindu mantras, Om is used more often because it creates a deep vibration, making it easier for the mind to concentrate on it.
- Each one represents a chakra as well – although there are 7 main chakras and these are just some of them.