A mantra is a word, phrase or syllable that is repeated time and again during meditation. Although it’s an age-old practice originating from Buddhist and Hindu traditions in Asia, it has recently gained wide popularity around the globe. At their core, mantra meditation techniques have two essential components: mindfulness meditation and chanting mantras.
People do mantra meditation for different reasons. For some, it serves an ordinary purpose as a kind of general protection – whether taking off or landing on an airplane, riding the bus or even walking. To others, mantra meditation serves a deeper spiritual purpose. In the Hindu tradition, there’s communication from the meditator to a higher deity through the mantra and a resulting interaction from this deity to the meditator via elements such as light rays, blessings and speech. In Buddhism, since it is a non-thesitic tradition, there is a much more subtle notion of deity – rather than an external power it is the essence of our own enlightened nature. In this case practicing mantra serves to evoke our hidden positive qualities and confidence.
How to do mantra meditation
- Find the best mantras to suit your intention
Before anything else, it’s important to acknowledge the reason you want to perform mantra meditation techniques. Do you want to maintain or regain your health or to forge a deeper spiritual connection? Knowing the best mantra for meditation can help to lower your blood pressure, reduce stress & anxiety and even bring positive relaxation. In this case, mantra meditation is another form of mindfulness practice. Rather than focusing on the breath, you focus on a word or phrase to calm your mind. In addition, it could help relax your mind and let go of certain habits. While many people chant the word Om or similar Sanskrit phrases, it is probably better to simply use a simple positive affirmation that has meaning to you. If your interest is in true spiritual meditation, it is imperative to find a genuine teacher who can guide you and not lead you astray.
- Get comfortable
Part of how to do mantra meditation, just like any meditation, revolves around being comfortable in your seat. Look for a quiet space such as your home, church or yoga studio. Avoid light or any sensory overstimulation so that the silence allows you to concentrate on your mantra meditation without any disturbances. You could also set an appropriate intention for your meditation so you can focus better. Consider simple things such as “letting go of my addiction.”
- Sit in a good position and focus on your breathing
Rest in a cross-legged position and elevate your hips above the knees. This helps to straighten your spine. Sitting on a cushion or several folded blankets can help to elevate your hips. You could put your hands upon your thighs, with your eyes either open or shut. Alternatively, mala beads (or prayer beads) could help you maintain concentration. Don’t control your breath. Instead, pay attention to how you breathe in and out to ground yourself before you start your mantra or affirmation practice. Apart from helping you to focus more intently, this technique will help you to achieve relaxation.
- Chant your mantra
After you’ve settled your mind through basic mindfulness of the breath, chant your affirmation or mantra over and over. Don’t look for or imagine positive vibrations oscillating, just be ordinary, relaxed and aware of the moment. You could either continue chanting your mantra for the entire duration of your meditation or transition to silent meditation. Just listen to your body and go with the flow. Sometimes you may desire to continue chanting. Other times, you may wish to meditate in silence. The key is to avoid forcing your mind and body. You could continue with your mantra meditation for as long as you’d like. Some meditation days turn out to be good while others become frustratingly bad. Accepting this fact will help your mantra meditation techniques to be successful.
Best mantra for meditation
If you’d like to try mantra as a positive affirmation, there are several mantras you can chant. They include:
- I am content in this moment.
- My heart is overflowing with joy.
- I love you; I’m sorry; please forgive me; thank you. This is a Hawaiian Mantra.
- “Love is the only miracle there is.” This modern mantra was inspired by a quote by Osho.
One mantra that carries tremendous spiritual benefit is Om Mani Padme Hum. This is a sanskrit mantra that has been practiced in Tibet for a millennium, which roughly translates to “Hail the Jewel in the Lotus.” It’s a popular mantra that is a praise to the Buddha of Compassion, the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig in Tibetan. But rather than thinking of Avalokiteshvara as an external deity, a true understanding of this mantra evokes our own genuine qualities of compassion.
Again, if you’re truly interested in spiritual meditation, go no further but find a genuine teacher who is focused on benefitting you and others rather than in his or her own fame – someone who evokes honesty in yourself.