Mantra Meditation FAQ

Mantra is Sanskrit and comes from the words ‘manasa’, mind, and ‘trayate’, to liberate. Mantra is the sound that sets your mind free, liberates it from confusion and illusion. Brought to us via the Vedas (ancient scriptures of India), there are thousands and thousands of spiritually potent mantras that one can repeat over and over and focus on in meditation.

Most famous mantras are aum, the hare krishna mantra, om namah shivaya, and so on. There are also inspiring phrases that are sometimes called modern mantras and repeated daily in a meditative manner, like “Be the change you wish to see in the world” (Gandhi), or “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better” (Laura Silva).

There are two kinds of mantra meditation, japa and kirtana. Japa is quiet, personal meditation on a mantra, either repeating it in your mind or speaking it softly to yourself while keeping count of the mantras with a mala or meditation beads. Kirtana is the singing of mantras together with others, often with musical instruments like a harmonium, tabla or mridanga drums, sitar… Kirtana can be peaceful and soothing where everyone sits down eyes closed and sings meditatively… or energetic and wild with everyone dancing and singing loudly and ecstatically.
Just like our bodies need proper nutrition, exercise, and rest to stay healthy and strong, our inner self needs nourishment and attention, too. If we neglect this inner nourishment, we can become overwhelmed with negative tendencies like boredom, loneliness, fear, anger, envy, and anxiety…

Mantra meditation is super easy and accessible – you can do it anywhere, at any time, and there are no prerequisites or strict rules about it at all – and it has plenty of amazing benefits to your body, mind and spirit. In short, mantra meditation gives you peace of mind as you learn to control the random blabber and desires in your mind. Self-realization: You learn to differentiate between your spiritual Self and your material body. You see the bigger picture, your world spiritualizes, your consciousness expands and you gain new perspectives. You tap into an infinite source of inner knowledge, bliss, and pure love. Your karma, or the results to your actions, that tie you to material consciousness, burn up through the transcendental energy of mantra mediation resulting in freedom from reincarnation. And I’m only just getting started, the list goes on ;)

In conclusion – there’s nothing to lose so try mantra meditation and see what good things it gives to your life.

Surrender. Prayer. Connection. Sacred being. All mantras have meanings and most often they translate to glorifications of the Divine, or the Deity the mantra is about. Mantras are transcendental sound vibrations with the potency to bring one’s mind from material conditioning to self-realization.

The purpose of mantra meditation is this purification of your thoughts, words, actions, and intentions. As you focus on the sound of an authentic mantra, it will bring forth your authentic, blissful, wisdom-filled higher self more and more. Mantra meditation is a process of steady inner growth and in some way or other, a part of almost every spiritual path in the world. Aum. Amen. Shalom.

Brahma-muhurta. What, you don’t speak Sanskrit? ((LOLZ)) In English: dawn. The magical time when the sun is about to rise… There is stillness, calm, and the hustle & bustle of the day hasn’t set in yet. You can get away with not reading your emails or checking Facebook just yet, the kids are still sleeping, the phone is not ringing, no one’s expecting you to do anything. PERFECT time for focused and contemplative meditation!

That being said, you can murmur a mantra to yourself while waiting for the bus, or belt it out in a private kirtan concert while driving your car… anytime, anywhere, you can freely om yourself by listening to the sound of any mantra that resonates with you.

Mala is a rosary, a strand of 108 beads. Malas are used with mantra meditation to keep count of the mantras chanted. They are typically made with sacred woods like Tulasi and sandalwood, or seeds like in Rudraksha malas, or semi-precious gem stones, or a combination of these.

Mala is a beautiful sacred item that’s sometimes worn around the neck or kept in a specific mala bag to protect it from falling on the ground or for the clumsier of us, to keep it from getting stuck on things (ummm I might have tried chanting with my mala while driving a stick-shift car, ummm not the best thing). You don’t need one but it will definitely help your meditation because keeping count of your mantras provides structure to your practice. Mala also helps you go deeper in your mantra meditation as in addition to your sense of hearing, you’re now immersing your sense of touch in the meditation process, too.

If you try, you’ll likely still be thinking, “I want to make my mind blank! Don’t think! Don’t think!”. And the good news is, you don’t need to make your mind blank. The nature and job of the mind is to desire, reminisce, plan and decide stuff. You can’t really stop that. The trick is to do some yoga for your mind here – yoga means ‘to link’ – and connect your desiring, reminiscing, planning and decision making to your mantra meditation practice.

So simply listen to the mantra. Desire to carefully hear each sacred syllable of the mantra you’re chanting. Remind yourself of the meaning or mood of the mantra as you chant it. Decide to bring your mind back to the mantra every time it wanders away. That’s the beautiful, simple plan of mantra meditation: to purify everything going on in your mind, instead of trying to empty it out.

Just keep on keeping on with your mantra meditating self, and any colors or visions that might distract you from hearing the mantra will eventually go away. The goal of mantra meditation is not to develop psychic abilities or to see cool unexplainable things that you can tell your buddies about and feel super spiritually advanced for, but to simply hear the spiritual sound and let it act on your consciousness. That’s the hard part actually, and true test of spiritual progress: simply hearing and staying present with each syllable of the mantra.

((If you want to focus on seeing colors or visions, I’d recommend you have a separate meditation session for that. When you chant a mantra, you invoke and welcome the Deity’s presence and blessings. If you don’t keep listening to the mantra but focus on other things in your mind, it’s like ignoring a person that’s with you in the room. Not cool buddy, not cool.))

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