A mantra is a syllable, word, or phrase that is repeated during meditation. Mantras can be said, sung, whispered or repeated in the mind. Most mantra meditation techniques have two essential components: mindfulness meditation and mantra recitation or chanting. Although this ancient practice is known to have Buddhist and Hindu roots, there are forms of recitation of “sacred word” within a wide variety of spiritual traditions, including Judeo-Christian and Shamanic. Today, the practice of mantra is also gaining popularity as part of the practice of secular mindfulness.
People do mantra meditation for different reasons. For some, it serves as a kind of mental protection against unwanted distractions or emotions, such as when they struggle with insomnia or face the fears associated with travel. For others, mantra meditation has a deeper spiritual purpose. In certain ancient Hindu and Christian traditions, for example, mantra recitation is used to focus the mind-heart and connect with the divine, both inside and outside. In Buddhism, one of the benefits of mantra recitation is that it helps keep the mind focused and receptive to the blessings of the present moment. Because Buddhism is a non-thesis tradition, the mantra serves to evoke positive qualities and trust rather than an external deity.
How to do mantra meditation
- Find the best mantras that suit your purpose
Before you begin, ask yourself why you are attracted to mantra meditation techniques. Do you want to maintain or restore your health? Are you full of distractions? Are you looking to forge a deeper spiritual connection?
Some people find that using mantras during their meditation practice helps them to relax in a positive and sustainable way. This feeling of well-being can cause a drop in blood pressure and reduce stress and anxiety. In this case, mantra meditation is a form of mindfulness practice where the repetition of a word or phrase helps to calm the mind.
- Get comfortable and remember your intention
As with any other form of practice, you will enjoy mantra meditation more if you have a comfortable seat! Find a quiet space and avoid bright light and sensory overstimulation so that you can concentrate on the mantra meditation without too much disturbance.
Try to remember your intention as defined in the previous point. This could range from “May my practice help me to overcome destructive personal habits”, “May my practice help me to be more patient”, “May my practice connect me with the divine”, “May my practice lead to spiritual awakening “or any other goal that you have identified for yourself.
- Then sit properly and focus on breathing
Sit in your usual position for mindfulness meditation (see Take Your Seat video at Mindworks application for basic posture instructions). Take a moment to check it out. Notice where tension or resistance may have crystallized in your body and release it gently. Pay attention to breathing. This will help to calm the mind before starting the mantra recitation or singing practice.
- Sing your mantra
Now that you have reiterated your intention and resolved your mind through the basic awareness of breathing, it is time to recite or chant your mantra. Don’t look for a “transcendent experience”: just be yourself, relaxed and aware of the moment. Go with the flow. You can also focus on the sound of the mantra itself.
You can continue as long as you want. No need to pressure your mind or body – relax with the joy of practice! Mantras give your mind a floating anchor to hold on to when waves of thoughts or emotions threaten to clear your meditation. People who do this type of practice usually say that mantra meditation becomes second nature and is something they expect at the beginning or end of their day.
What is the best mantra for meditation
It’s a trick question! There is no universal better mantra, but there may be a mantra that is the best you.
Some people use positive statements as a mantra. If you like, you can choose one that you have discovered or create your own based on the message that you think will benefit you. Imagine what your best and wisest mentor, friend, or family member would say to support you, coin it in a short sentence, and test it to size. Shorter statements work better. For example,
- I’m happy right now.
- My heart will guide me.
- My treasures are inside.
The possibilities are endless.
If your approach is spiritual, your best mantra is likely to be associated with your tradition of faith. A popular Judeo-Christian phrase is “Let go and let God go.” A favorite Christian “mantra” is the ancient Aramaic prayer “Maranatha”: Come Lord o The Lord is coming. We especially like the prayer of the Four Incommensurables of the Buddhist tradition, which begins with “May all beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.”
The “peace mantras” in Sanskrit Om Shanti Om or Om shanti shanti shanti (“shanti” means “peace”) are popular and may be familiar to those who practice yoga.
A very deep and well-known Buddhist mantra is “Om Mani Padmé Hum”, a Sanskrit phrase that has a huge spiritual benefit. The “Mantra mantra” is the sound of the enlightened speech of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of the Great Compassion (Chenrezig in Tibetan). The practice of Avalokiteshvara brings our inherent qualities of compassion. Its mantra is found throughout Tibet and the Himalayas, where it is carved in stone, printed on prayer flags, and virtually all its inhabitants repeat or sing it. Famous Tibetan singer Ani Chöying Drölma offers a version of the song here.
To delve deeper into any form of spiritual practice, you will need a reliable and genuine guide to help you navigate your meditation as it evolves. Your main goal should be to lead you to discover and develop your spiritual strengths with honesty and integrity.
Whatever form of mantra practice you do, your ability to stay focused and in sync with the practice will determine how beneficial it can be. Mindfulness it is the tool that perfects and enhances this ability.
As you read this article, it is clear that you are interested in the practice of meditation and its results: experiencing genuine joy and well-being. You have come to the right place. Mindworks is a non-profit organization with a mission to share the most authentic and proven meditation guide with you and our global community.
As the practice of meditation develops the most fundamental axis of our being, it is essential to rely on clear, progressive, and genuine methods of authentic guidance. In order to fully convey the full potential of genuine meditation, we created the 9-level Mindworks Wellness Journey.
We are so sure you will benefit that we now offer you the free Mindworks Journey Level 1: Fundamentals of Meditation course. Click on the link below for more information.
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