Mantra Meditation- Its Methods and Working
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A mantra is a standout amongst the most well-known items utilized for contemplation – and a standout amongst the most ground-breaking ones as well. The act of mantra reflection is found in a significant number of the world’s insightful conventions, and furthermore in the act of contemplation in a mainstream setting.
In this article, I’ll investigate the diverse reflection methods that utilize a mantra, how to pick a mantra, why mantras are amazing, and what are the distinctive dimensions and nuances of this training. By and by, together with trataka, mantra contemplation is my most loved practice, so I’m pleased to expound on it.
In the first place, we begin with the meaning of mantra. Mantra is a Sanskrit word gotten from two roots: man (signifying “mind” or “to think”) and trai significance to “secure”, to “free from”, or “instrument/apparatus”. Subsequently, mantras are instruments of the brain, or devices to free the psyche.
A few mantras have an exacting significance and can be interpreted, yet the vast majority of them, as indicated by custom, get their esteem for the most part from their sound quality. Some are short, one-syllable mantras; others are for quite some time, made out of numerous words.
Some of the time the mantra is presented; at different occasions it is tuned in to. Some of the time it is rehashed quick; at different occasions moderate. In some cases it is basically rehashed independent from anyone else, and at different occasions in association with fixation on the breathing, certain sentiments, chakras, perceptions or conceptual ideas.
In fact, the subject of mantra and related practices is an immense and complex investigation inside Hinduism, Yoga, and Buddhism. Here I’ve strived to give you an extremely expansive diagram of mantra contemplation, with the down to earth and non-partisan methodology that is normal for this blog. Regardless of whether you are freethinker or profoundly disapproved, this article will give you imperative down to earth tips for your training.
Why Should We Use Mantra?
The Transformative Power of Sound
You might ask yourself, “What’s so uncommon about rehashing a word, at any rate? For what reason is it viewed as an integral asset for reflection?”.
The sound is vibration. And every one of the cells in your body is vibrating. Everything known to mankind is vibrating, and everyone has its own cadence. Your considerations and sentiments are, surely, vibrations in your body and your cognizance.
Sound examples likewise influence the water in your body, your hormones discharge, insight, conduct, and mental prosperity.
Taken a gander at along these lines, your brain – your mind – is a gathering of examples, each vibrating at its very own curious recurrence, speed, and volume. What the spiritualists and yogis of yore found is that by supporting a specific sound vibration for quite a while, the nature of the psyche and body can be to some degree changed.
Any performer or movie producer will let you know of the power that sound needs to initiate/inspire states of mind, considerations, and feelings. On the off chance that tuning in to a melody can change your state of mind and even help mend your body, envision the intensity of programming an explicit sound into your psyche, by rehashing it a large number of times with consideration and consideration!
Sound, rhythm and speech have profound effects on your body, thoughts, and emotions. Mantra meditation is the use of these three elements with the purpose of purifying, pacifying and transforming your mind and heart.
Thus the mantra, being an instrument of the mind, can help you create profound changes in your body and psyche, and produce altered states of consciousness. Mantra meditation is a method of rotation of consciousness around a sound, amplifying it for maximum effect. In the Yoga contemplative tradition, mantra meditation is often said to be the easiest and safest method.
And apparently, mantra can also calm down those experiencing a life crisis…
Mantra Replaces Thinking!
At some random minute, our consideration can be harping on just a single article. Notwithstanding when we state we are performing multiple tasks, what we are really doing is exchanging objects of consideration rapidly – which is the reason performing various tasks is saddling and inadequate.
For reflection, the suggestion is entirely basic: in each minute that you are giving careful consideration to the mantra, you are not bothered by some other contemplations, recollections, or sensations. On the off chance that you can persistently string together the consummation of one mantra redundancy to the start of the following, you’ll stay in that delightful state for the span of your contemplation.
A mantra replaces 10,000 different thoughts by one thought – a thought that gives peace and awareness. It allows you to collect your scattered attention, which is spread thin all over the place, and unify it, thus empowering it.
Obviously, the reflection procedure is the equivalent with different objects of focus, for example, breathing or a representation. The favorable position with a mantra, notwithstanding, is that it effectively supersedes mental discourse, which is the dominating type of cognizant reasoning for a great many people. Another favorable position is that the musical idea of mantra helps supersede those annoying melodies that occasionally play consistently in our brain amid contemplation.
MANTRA MEDITATION ESSENTIALS
How to Choose Your Mantras for Meditation
Deciding which mantra to use depends first on your approach towards meditation – whether secular or spiritual. That approach will also affect the results you will get from the practice.
Some mantras, however, are quite universal and can be used with both approaches. Examples are the Sanskrit mantras om and so ham.
In this approach, meditation is seen as a tool, an exercise designed to bring you better health, performance, relaxation or personal growth. You don’t necessarily believe in anything spiritual – be it God, enlightenment, soul, or life after death. Or maybe you do believe, but want to keep your meditation practice separate from that.
In this case, you can choose a mantra from your own language. It can be a word or a short sentence that carries a message you want to imbue into your psyche.
Here are some guidelines I suggest for picking a word:
- The meaning is the most important. Choose a word/sentence that represents something you want to develop more in yourself, feel more, or connect to. It could be love, peace, freedom, awareness, light, courage, etc.
- The sound of the word needs to speak to you. The only way to realize this is by repeating it for a few minutes, and observe how you feel before and after.
- Avoid words that have dubious meanings or possible negative connotations.
You can try a few mantras before you decide on which one most speaks to you. Once chosen, it is better to always use the same mantra, so its effects really build up.
On the off chance that you contemplate in light of a profound objective or reason, the best approach to pick a mantra is unique. You may think about that each word contains its own “vitality”, that moved toward becoming impregnated into it through the manner in which it has been redundantly utilized by other individuals. Subsequently it bodes well to get a customary mantra – a word or sound that has been utilized by otherworldly searchers for quite a long time, with respectable frame of mind and expectation.
For this situation, it looks bad to interpret a mantra. You are in an ideal situation utilizing the first word in the dialect in which it was considered/found (generally Sanskrit, Pali, Hebrew, Aramaic or Tibetan). Likewise, the right articulation and pitch of the mantra is imperative, since we are going for imitating that explicit sound vibration.
The initial step is then choosing which otherworldly convention and ancestry most addresses you (on the off chance that you are uncertain, this article can be a decent begin). When you realize what you resound with best, at that point you may either:
Discover an educator/ace of that custom – somebody you regard – and request that the person in question propose a mantra for you. Contingent upon the convention, a mantra ace will have rehearsed widely unique mantras, know the kind of vibration of every one, and will have the capacity to choose one for you dependent on your particular objectives and demeanors.
Research the mantras utilized in that specific way, attempt every one for a couple of days, and after that select the one that most gives you what you are searching for.
When rehashing a mantra as an otherworldly practice, endeavor to all the while mull over the importance or state spoken to by that mantra. As it were, that is the thing that makes mantra reflection in excess of a celebrated confirmation practice.
The mantra is like a password, a key, to a certain state of consciousness or universal principle you want to experience.
Progress and levels
Advancement and Levels
The more we rehash our mantra, the more it is “invigorated” or “charged”. For one-syllable mantras, it is said that after 125,000 redundancies it “finds something useful to do of its own”. It is our rehashed consideration working with the mantra that charges it. The mantra, in the long run, turns into the most amazing idea in your psyche, and after that, you can really depend on it to bring you harmony.
When your mantra truly gets energy, the redundancy turns out to be increasingly easy. It’s as though we just “begin” or “sign into” the mantra, and it proceeds without anyone else, bringing us into internal quiet.
This is the traditional progress of the practice:
- Verbal recitation — you repeat it out loud. This engages more of your senses, making it easier to keep your attention focused.
- Whispering — the lips and tongue move, but there is barely any sound coming. This practice is subtler and deeper than the verbal recitation.
- Mental recitation — you repeat the mantra only inside your mind. In the beginning, there is naturally some movement in the tongue and throat; but with time these also cease, and the practice is purely mental. This stage is what people typically associate with mantra meditation.
- Spontaneous listening — at this point you are no longer repeating the mantra, but the mantra goes on by itself in your mind, spontaneously, all the time. At this point, there is no need to worry about its loudness, speed, etc. Just listen to it being repeated as it naturally wants to be repeated. This level is called ajapa japa.
The guidelines below form the bare-bones of meditating with a mantra, and are also applicable for all other practices
MANTRA MEDITATION TECHNIQUES
Mantra can be combined with other practices, such as visualization, focusing on a chakra, devotion, etc. The first technique explained here can be practiced with a purely secular/agnostic approach; the other ones have some spiritual elements in them.
Chanting the mantra quickly energizes you. Chanting it slowly calms down the mind. If you make it too fast or too slow, it will become an automatic process and your mind will either wander into thinking or fall sleep.
The speed with which you recite the mantra will vary also depending on the length of the mantra. Short mantras (one to three syllables long) are often repeated more slowly than phrase-long mantras.
Since this is technique-specific and mantra-specific, it is best to follow the suggestions given by your teacher. In the absence of one, experiment with different speeds of repetition and see which one you like the most.
For formal mantra meditation, adopt a seated posture.
For informal practice, you can be repeating the mantra in the back of your mind, with open eyes, during other daily activities.
Both repeating the mantra quickly and repeating it slowly takes me to a state of silence, although the “taste” of that silence is different in each case. When repeating slowly, it feels like a type of deepening, zooming in, theta-waves type of silence. When repeating it fast, it is more of an intense, “in the flow”, gamma-waves type of silence.
In any case, it is best to keep a uniform speed of repetition, rather than change it multiple times during a session.
Loudness and Force
If your mind is very noisy, you might want to “turn up the volume” of the mantra repetition, making out louder and thicker. Otherwise, your attention will just fly off on a tangent with thinking.
As your mind gets quieter, the mantra often gets “thinner and lower”, like a high-frequency sound that you can barely hear. The word itself is almost lost and the mantra feels more like sound vibrations.
If that happens naturally for you, let it be so. But if you again lose hold of the mantra and forget it, it’s better to bring it back to a level where you can stay with it more easily.
You could possibly synchronize the mantra with your relaxing. A few alternatives are:
Both inward breath and exhalation. On the off chance that your mantra is short, as om, you can rehash it once while breathing in, and again while breathing out. Or on the other hand you can expand the speed and rehash it multiple times on inward breath and multiple times on exhalation – or the same number of times as it feels useful for your speed and length of relaxing. On the off chance that your mantra is long, you can do it half on inward breath, and the second half on exhalation.
Just exhalation. Breathe in with no stable, and rehash the mantra while breathing out.
Despite relaxing. Simply center around the mantra, giving careful consideration to the relaxing. With time, the breathing will in general normally synchronize with the mood of the mantra.
Whether you are reciting the mantra or just listening to it, the mind’s task is to actively pay attention to each repetition. Let every repetition be fresh, new, full of life and awareness.
Unite your mind with the mantra completely. Become one with it. Let every ounce of your attention be engaged with it. One way to facilitate that is by putting some feeling into the practice – such as care, curiosity, reverence, gratitude, or whatever makes sense for that particular mantra.
Think of the mantra as a radio station, and your mind as the antenna. The problem with this antenna, though, is that it keeps switching frequency by itself. Our goal is to keep this antenna in sync with the mantra.
After some time you’ll notice that while there might be a layer of thinking going on, there is also a layer of mantra on a deeper level of your mind. Move your awareness to that deeper layer. Dwell there.
Finally, do not force your mind. That creates tension, which is not conducive to meditation. The task is simply to maintain awareness of the mantra, moment after moment, without being heavy-handed. It’s a continuous and relaxed awareness.
Mantra in Yoga – Chakra, Pranayama, Kundalini
In the contemplative tradition of Yoga, there are many paths that use mantra meditation. In these practices, mantra repetition is usually connected with the breathing, specific visualizations, contemplations, and the chakras.
In Hatha Yoga, Tantra, and other yogic schools, there is also the practice of synchronizing the mantra with specific breathing patterns. Here are some examples:
- A-HAM mantra (“I am”). Repeating “A” upon inhalation and “HAM” upon exhalation.
- SO-HAM mantra. Repeating “SO” upon inhalation and “HAM” upon exhalation, while moving your attention and breathing up and down your spine.
- SOHAM – HAMSA. Inhale through your left nostril while repeating “so”, then exhale through your right nostril while repeating “ham”. On the way back, now inhale through your right nostril repeating “ham”, and exhale through your left nostril repeating “sa”. That is one cycle. Practice at least ten cycles.
There are also other more elaborate practices, but if you are like me and prefer simplicity, these will do.
Rituals & Visualization
In the school of Mantra Yoga, an elaborate use of mantras with visualizations and rituals is employed. This theme is beyond the scope of this article.
In Vedanta (Jnana Yoga), mantras that encapsulate a spiritual truth are used. These are called “Mahavakyas”, or great sayings. The main ones are:
- Aham Brahmasmi (“I am Brahman”)
- Tat Vam Asi (“Thou art That”)
- Sarvam khalvidam brahman (“All is Brahman”)
In this practice, the main focus is the contemplation of the meaning of the mantra, rather than the mere repetition of words or sounds. The goal is to develop wisdom by reinforcing an understanding or insight.
Mantra Writing (likhita japa)
This practice engages more senses: writing the mantra, seeing the mantra, speaking the mantra, hearing the mantra. Here are some basic guidelines:
- Set aside a good quality notebook and pencil/pen to be used only for the purposes of this practice.
- During the whole session, write down the mantra on paper, while also repeating it in your mind, out loud, or whispering it.
- To intensify the exercise, try to write as small and as neatly as possible. This will require more concentration.
- Fix your eyes on the notebook. Don’t move them away until you have completed the session.Deity Meditation – Tantra & Devotional Paths
In both these paths, mantra meditation is sometimes done with open eyes, while keeping count of the number of repetitions by using a necklace of 108 beads (also called a mala).
In some lineages (Kundalini Yoga, Laya Yoga and Tantra Yoga) there is the practice of reciting mantras while focusing the mind on specific chakras (centers in the body). One way to practice this is by repeating the seed-sound of each chakra. Here are the main chakras with their mantras, and the pronunciation guide in parenthesis.
- Root Chakra —> LAM (“lum”)
- Sacral Chakra —> VAM (“vum”)
- Solar Plexus Chakra —> RAM (“rum”)
- Heart Chakra —> YAM (“yum”)
- Throat Chakra —> HAM (“hum”)
- Third Eye Chakra —> OM
- Crown Chakra —> *Silence*
The technical name for this meditation is chakra mantra dharana.
Another way is to simply use your favorite mantra, and while repeating it, focus your attention on the Third Eye or Heart chakra, as if the mantra is originating there. This allows you to add a spatial dimension to the meditation, thus engaging more of your senses.
My intention with this article was two-fold:
- To give you an overview of the breadth and depth of mantra meditation in different traditions
- To share practical instructions about mantra meditation, its variations, and levels of practice
If you read this far, well done! I bet you now have a much better understanding of mantra and where to go from here.
If you don’t yet have a mantra practice and are confused where to start, I’d recommend you select a mantra (either secular or spiritual), and start practicing it according to the basic instructions under the “Mantra Meditation” heading above.
Finally we hope you like mantra meditation working