The first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word Meditation is – sitting with your legs folded and eyes closed, breathing in and out slowly and feeling a sense of calm. But did you know that meditation becomes a deeper experience if it is practiced as a natural progression to Mantra Meditation?
In the article below we will cover:
What is Meditation?
How to do Mantra Meditation?
Most Effective Mantras used for Chanting
Steps on How to do Mantra Meditation
What is Mantra Meditation?
Mantra Meditation is simply the process of calming and focusing the mind using a sound, phrase or word recited repeatedly either silently or aloud. It is an essential practice in many forms of yoga. It helps deepen your inner awareness and keep away from negative thoughts and energy. Chanting Mantras is a ritual in almost all religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. However, the reciting of sacred words is now part of many spiritual traditions such as Christian and Sufi traditions.
Mantra meditation techniques always have two essential components: mindfulness meditation and mantra chanting. Nowadays, mantra meditation is more than a spiritual practice. It is gaining popularity as a non-secular mindfulness practice. People from all walks life and religions are practicing mantra meditation to attain a peaceful state of mind and an understand of their inner self.
What is a Mantra?
A mantra is a syllable, word, sound, or phrase repeatedly chanted during meditation. Mantras can either be spoken, chanted, whispered, or repeated both in the mind or aloud.
How to chant Mantra Meditation?
Before you start any meditation practice, it is best to ask yourself, how to practice mantra meditation:
1. Set an intention
Take a few minutes or even seconds to dedicate your practice to something and have clarity on your intention. This will help you to focus on and achieve a deep state of meditation and relaxation.
The intention could be for good health, spiritual awakening or connection, healing or forgiving. If you don’t know what your intention is, begin with “letting go” as your intention. Soon after, as you get comfortable in your meditation journey, you might find your true purpose or intention.
The chanting of mantras and meditating have a different meaning and purpose for every person. Every mantra has a soul meaning behind it but the only outcomes are – positivity, happiness and a state of peace.
2. Find the right mantra
The goal or purpose of chanting mantras is to feel the subtle vibrations through your body. Each mantra has different vibrations and you want to find one that corresponds to your intention. Therefore understand the mantras you chose. Choosing the right mantra and repeating them continuously will help you disconnect from any negative thoughts that arise during meditation. It will also keep you focused on your intention. You could identify if you have a spiritual or a secular approach.
Most Effective Mantras used for Chanting:
1. Om (Aum) Chanting Mantra
Aum or Om The most powerful yet basic mantra you can chant is the sacred sound of Hinduism and its meaning is said to be – “The word of God.” It is believed to be the origin of all divine and other creations or forms of consciousness. This universal mantra creates a powerful and positive vibration in your lower abdomen.
You can chant Om or Aum as many times as you wish for your mantra meditation practice. Read our detailed blog on 3 Ways to Chant Om Properly
2. Hare Krishna Mantra
“Hare Krishna..” is also known as the Maha-mantra to connect you with the Supreme Lord through chanting his holy name. By chanting this mantra you attain salvation and peace of mind. Moreover, it chanting or hearing the mantra will cleanse your mind and elevate your spirit and soul. Repeat the mantra as many times as you like.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
3. Buddhist Mantra – Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō
Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō is a powerful mantra that captures the true essence of Buddhism. The purpose of this mantra gives you the ability to overcome any problem or difficulty that you may encounter in your life. It gives the capacity to transform any suffering into happiness.
The mantra comes from Sanskrit words that translate to “dedicate oneself to the universal and mystic law that permeates the eternal truth”.
Chanting this Buddhist mantra will reap the benefits of strength, enlightenment, luck, and happiness into your life. Chanting this mantra will help you overcome fears and change defeat into victory. You can chant this mantra as many times as you like.
4. Christian Mantra Meditation
The Christian Meditation or the practice of Contemplative Prayer is similar to mantra meditation in Christianity.
A famous phrase that is also a powerful affirmation – “I AM THAT I AM” was God’s answer to Moses when Moses asked for God’s name. It is said in the Bible in the Book of Exodus 3:14 (Chapter: Verse). This phrase was considered to be a very powerful tool in the practice of meditation. Listening or chanting the mantra will resonate and connect you to God that will help you live a fulfilled life. The same thoughts are projected by Dr. Wayne Dyer who uses this phrase in his meditation practice every day.
Another way of practicing Christian Mantra Meditation is by choosing a sacred word from the Christian tradition. Such as, Lord, Father, Jesus, Mary, Abba, Mercy, Love, or Maranatha (which is Aramaic for “Come, Lord!”) and then chant with feelings of devotion.
This style of Christian Meditation was created by an Irish Benedictine monk John Main, who learned all about mantra meditation from a Hindu Swami in Malaysia.
5. GAYATRI MANTRA
The Gayatri Mantra is a universal prayer and a sacred chant that has been enshrined in the Vedas. It is addressed to the Immanent and Transcendent Divine.
Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ
Bhargo Devasya Dhīmahi
Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt
In simple words, it is a prayer to the Divine Mother asking her to take away all the darkness that resides in our hearts and fill it with her illuminating light. Chanting Gayatri mantra has positive effects that help in increasing your concentration and learning power. It also strengthens the mind and improves the rhythmic pattern of breathing.
6. Ho’oponopono Mantra Meditation
Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice for healing oneself. The word Ho’oponopono means to correct relationship problems and heal yourself.
In this practice, you clean yourself from your own negative feelings that are embedded in your memory or consciousness. Through this chant and practice you are affirming the thought within yourself that you no longer want to associate or suffer from these negative thoughts.
The mantra is 4 simple phrases you might use every day but do not realize how powerful they are when said with an intention.
I LOVE YOU
I AM SORRY
PLEASE FORGIVE ME
When using this mantra, you are speaking to the Divine or your Creator directly with the aim to heal yourself, ask for forgiveness, allow to love yourself and express gratitude for everything that you have. Chanting this mantra in your meditation practice will help you heal your soul and mind. Even, if you have trouble sleeping listen to this mantra or repeatedly chant it, you will automatically fall asleep.
In this meditation practice, you don’t necessarily have a spiritual belief. You practice this kind of mantra meditation for good health, personal growth or peace, and relaxation. Even if you are spiritual in nature but want to keep your meditation practice separate from that, then this meditation practice is for you.
First things first, you can choose a word or a short sentence as your mantra that has a valuable meaning and message that you want to imbibe in your mind.
When choosing your mantra, keep the following in mind:
- The meaning of your mantra is very important. Choose a word or sentence that you want to connect with or that you want to become. For example, words such as love, peace, freedom, awareness, light, courage, and so on.
- The sound of the word needs to speak to you. Thus, keep repeating the word for a few minutes and see how it makes you feel before and after chanting it.
- Avoid words that have uncertain meanings or negative connotations.
- Try a few mantras before you start your meditation practice.
Steps on how to do Mantra Meditation:
1. Find a comfortable place to practice
To practice mantra meditation, find a quiet, comfortable and a dim-lit place either at home, a yoga studio, an empty hall or in a not so crowded park.
It is best to practice in a place that is dark in ambiance, to avoid being disturbed from the light. However, make sure that you practice where there’s a minimal disturbance.
2. Sit in a comfortable posture
Before you begin your mantra meditation, sit in a cross-legged position with your eyes closed. Keep your spine and back straight to obtain and absorb the mantra’s vibrations. In case you have difficulty in sitting cross-legged on the floor, sit on a chair or sofa with your back against a wall or cushions propped. Even take a light blanket if you feel cold. Most Importantly, make comfort your priority.
- Place your hands lightly on your thighs or if you like in chin or Gyan Mudra. Use prayer beads to concentrate diligently and enter into a deep meditation.
3. Focus and Feel your breath
Pay attention to every inhalation and exhalation to focus on your meditation practice and achieve relaxation.
For short mantras – repeat it once while inhaling and then chant again while exhaling out. You can also increase the speed of your mantra and repeat it 3 times on inhalation and 3 times on exhalation.
For long mantras – chant half of the mantra on inhalation and the second half on exhalation.
Focus more on your mantra as the breathing tends to naturally synchronize with the rhythm of the mantra with time.
4. Chanting the chosen mantra
There is no hard and fast way on how many times to chant the mantra. Don’t think longer mantras will have a deeper effect. The repetition of your mantra should be gentle and relaxed, do not force it. If you are starting with OM or AUM chanting, you will feel the vibrations in your brain and lower belly first. If you can’t feel this vibration, then you need to correct your posture. Lengthen your spine for the vibrations to flow right through.
Do not be embarrassed if you are not pronouncing the mantra the right way as it may have different pronunciations. Concentrating on perfecting the mantra might let you lose your intention or reason for practicing meditation.
5. Loud Chanting or Silently Meditate – the Choice is Yours
Both loud and Silent mantra chanting have their own benefits. It will anyways give you the benefits of a mantra meditation practice.
- Loudly chanting a mantra will energize you whereas chanting slowly or silently will calm your mind.
- No matter how you meditate, let your body flow in that rhythmic sound and moment. There will be times when you want to chant for less time and meditate silently for a longer time, then allow your mind and body to follow it. Do not force it.
“Repeating your mantra fast produces gamma waves in the brain. Repeating it slowly produces theta waves.”
6. Duration of Mantra Chanting
After chanting mantras, for approx 20 to 30 minutes, transit to silent meditation. Sit in the same position with your eyes closed and meditate for as long as you want to. This will allow you to focus on your reason, purpose, and intention and help you achieve relaxation at a maximal level.
- Focus on your breathing and the vibrations that linger from your mantra chanting.
- If unwanted thoughts arise, focus and let go of those thoughts that cause you pain, worry, or bring negative energy around you.
- Any time you need to refocus your mind, repeat the word “let” with every inhalation and the word “go” with every exhalation.
- Meditation requires patience and consistent practice. Acknowledge the good and bad days as this is also part of your meditation journey. It will teach you to accept, forgive and heal your mind, body, and soul.
Mantra Meditation is effective as long as you follow the basic guidelines. The key is to choose the right mantra as per your intention and purpose. Practice this meditation diligently and you will change the course of your life internally and externally. Sit in the right posture that you are comfortable in and breathe the right way while chanting your mantra. If you do not have an intention to start with, choose a word that you connect with and begin your meditation practice.