Mantra was the first practice of meditation that I was introduced to when I first began meditating in 1996. Whilst I have had periods of practicing other types of meditation over the years, I always found myself gravitating back to mantra and it has now been present again in my daily practice for the last few years.
What is Mantra?
A mantra is a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.
In the many traditions of India, the Sanskrit mantras are said to be word formulas that were discovered by ancient sages as being a particular combination of sound vibrations that when chanted or meditated upon had a specific result on the mind, body and spirit.
The word “Sanskrit” translates to “refined speech”. Sanskrit is believed to be the oldest language in the world.
It is also considered to be the greatest spiritual language of the world as it is made of primordial sounds, and is developed to include the natural progressions of the sound created in the human mouth.
You can practice silent repetition of mantra but the benefits of speaking or singing ancient mantras is said to be balancing and stimulating for different parts of the body and brain as their vibrations touch on meridian points around the mouth (when pronounced correctly).
Which Mantra do we use?
I always believe that like the saying says about the teacher appearing when the student is ready, a mantra will also find you when you are ready.
There are some which many of us use, for example in yoga classes, you may have encountered the mantra OM.
OM is said to be the first sound and the birth of all other sounds. It is often said that all mantras are contained within the sound of OM. OM is the sound of the infinite, representing all that was, is and shall be.
So OM is a rather wonderful way to start if you are not sure which mantra to begin with. To sit in the vibration of OM is truly magical. I will post a link in the comments with a great recording of OM for you to experience this.
There are many mantras that are said to bring gifts in to our lives, mantras for abundance, happiness and healing. It may be tempting to google a mantra that you think will bring you that which you would like the most BUT a mantra really needs to be alive for you to work. There needs to be a deep heart felt connection. Like I said, often the mantra meant for you will come to you when the time is right. This could happen in a number of different ways and it will often happen when you least expect it.
How do we use it?
Some people prefer a silent or soft repetition (Japa) in which they just sit and repeat the mantra to themselves until eventually over time, they become one with the mantra and can just be in its vibration. Some people also use a mala with 108 beads for Japa meditation. Repeating the mantra 108 times as they travel around the mala with their thumb.
When chanting or singing the mantra, you release the sound on the exhale and inhale before repeating again.
There are actually many ways or practicing with mantras including with mudras and visualisations. Far too many to mention here (I could go on all day!)
For thousands of years, throughout the planet, mantras in many languages have been used to quiet the mind, experience inner stillness and experience oneness. You may also find that chanting mantras can strengthen your connection with the Divine and bring about feelings of love, joy and bliss.
Do you practice mantra already?
Do you have a practice from your own tradition/ faith/ culture that you use?
Let me know! I would love to hear from you.