Jon Kabat-Zinn is an omsome mindfulness teacher who studied under Buddhist and Zen masters such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Seung Sahn. He identifies these seven factors as the ‘mindfulness attitudes’ that create the foundation for mindfulness meditation. You can totally apply these to your own practice whether it’s mantra meditation or just being awesome at life in general. I’ll describe them here in relation to mantra meditation becauz that’s what Om Yourself. Is. All. About.
1. Non-judging: Being an impartial witness to your experience.
Your mind will wander and it will try wander A LOT. Don’t get mad or frustrated at the little weirdo doing its thang. Be like, “Whatever, mind”. Keep bringing your attention back to the mantra you’re chanting. Witness the sound vibration. All kinds of feels and sensations might come up as you meditate. Be like, “Whatever, you guys”. Just keep repeating the mantra, and listening to the mantra.
2. Patience: Understanding that growth happens in its own time.
Mantra meditation session will clear your head and make you blissful and light and happy and anxiety-free – these are pretty immediate results. But, the longer term goals of meditation such as self-realization, freedom from karma, hopping out of the cycle of reincarnation… those don’t happen overnight. We have a lot of karmic baggage from who knows how many gazillions of lifetimes. Don’t stress the growth. Rest in trust. It’s happening.
3. Beginner’s mind: A mind that is willing to see everything as it is for the first time.
As you’re chanting a mantra, try to attack each sacred syllable with your ears as if it’s the first time ever you’re hearing that particular sound. This makes a pretty major difference in your practice. Give it a try. And the funny thing is… OMG this is so omazing… are you ready for it??? Ready to get your mind blown?! Yes? Here we go: Transcendental sound vibration is by definition non-material, never-stale, non-static – it’s infinite, present and alive like a person, just like the Deity or Divinity the mantra is invoking. Spiritual sound is ever-fresh. New every time. With a ‘beginner’s mind’ you can tap into & appreciate that.
4. Trust: A basic trust in yourself, your feelings and your experience.
There’s this Goddess called Maya. Maya literally means ‘hard to cross over’. One of her responsibilities in the cosmic order of things is to keep illusioned souls illusioned. If someone wants to break through to the spiritual side, she’ll test them to make sure their motivations are pure and that they really, REALLY want it. You’re going to need to trust yourself and your experience with mantra meditation. Stick with it no matter what. Maya has many ways of manifesting disappointment, doubt, fear, and obstacles. After all, that’s what she’s the best in the universe at. Trust your Self.
5. Non-striving: There is no goal other than for you to be.
What helps you to stay alert, connected and persistent with your meditation practice is this exact attitude of mindfulness. Just be with the mantra, for real, from the heart. Spend quality time with your practice. I’ve come to the conclusion that meditation is the single most important and precious thing in my life. All the good things come from meditation because meditation gives me the balanced, conscious, appreciative lenses to view my life through. Like Björk sings in her BEAUTIFUL song “Undo”:
It’s not meant to be a strife, it’s not meant to be a struggle uphill… It’s warmer now, lean into it, unfold in a generous way… I’m praying to be in a generous mode, the kindness kind. —Björk
In this spirit of ease, surrender, receiving and serving, you can relax into your practice and really be with the mantra.
6. Acceptance: Seeing things as they actually are in the present.
Through mindful mantra meditation your perception of the world will change. It’s individual and hard to put into words, but would describe the feeling as a blissful awareness of spirit everywhere. The way you relate to and see other people, animals, plants, your food, the planet, your self… will all morph and gain new depths as you go on. You’ll feel like living on the edge of Life, riding the wave of the present, and having control over your destiny and being equipped to respond to whatever it is that life throws at you. It’s a combination of acceptance and conscious action.
7. Letting Go: Letting go of the impulse to grasp or push away experiences.
Meditation opens you up. You’re inviting the Divine to your life in a big way. Don’t have expectations, except, expect miracles. ((Say that quickly 3 times?)) They’re bound your way. They might look different than you thought they would. It will feel like a synchronistic flow of events. If you make your spiritual practice the priority of your day, the murky mundane stuff that might otherwise get you down, will just fade away. It’s surprisingly easy to let go of crap when you have something beautiful to replace it with.
Let it gooooo! Let it goooooo! I am one with the wind and sky. Let it goooo! Let it goooo! You’ll never see me cry! —Frozen