google-site-verification: googleae9556121f128741.html Healing Meditations: Mantra Meditation Technique

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mantra Meditation Technique




Mantra Meditation Technique:

  • Begin: Sit in your meditation space, or any quiet, uncluttered safe place with your spine straight and body relaxed. You can try lying down but most people will fall asleep or lose focus when they lie down.

  • Make sure your clothing is loose and that you are physically comfortable. It is hard to meditate, especially in the beginning, if you are cold, sick, very tired or hungry. You need to be in a place where you are safe and feel safe.

  • Light a candle, burn incense, loosen your clothing. This sets the “stage”. Close your eyes and feel how you are right now, in this moment. Notice your breathing.


  • Choose your mantra. You can use an English word or word from your native language (if not English). Some examples of words to use are:
         
Peace
Relax
Faith
Strength
Courage
Love
Calm

Or you can choose the name of a deity that is meaningful to you:
God
Jesus
Mother Mary
Any of the Buddhist or Hindu deities

Or you can use a very short phrase:
Work with ease
Healing Now
Love and Light
Be Present


Traditional Sanskrit Mantras:
Hum Sa- I am that- The Breath Mantra
Om namah shivaya- I bow with respect to my inner self
Om mani padme hum-I bow to the jewel of compassion


Some people believe the traditional mantras have more effect than words because people have been chanting them for thousands of years and this gives the words added strength and energy. Traditionally, mantras were given to the student by their guru or teacher. I think this does have power, but perhaps not for the reason people think.

You have the power within you, to make your own choice and make that choice powerful for you.

I recommend choosing a mantra, and then using that same mantra until you feel satisfied that you have manifested that feeling or energy in your life to some degree.

Once you have chosen your mantra then:   

  • Repeat the word or phrase silently to yourself.  Repeat it once on the inhale, once on the exhale for some set amount of time. 10-20 min. is plenty in the beginning. It is very important to sync the mantra with your breath. Shorten or change the mantra any way you need to to accomplish this.

  • Notice your thoughts. Most likely, your thoughts will wander and you will drift off into the future or the past. This is normal. When this happens simply notice that you are no longer saying your mantra and come back to the practice.

  • It is entirely possible, with practice, to think about other things while chanting your mantra! Notice, when you are doing this. Then, without drama, or blame gently shift your awareness more fully to the mantra.

  • Remember……………in the moment that you notice you are no longer doing your mantra, and you re identify with the mantra, is the most powerful moment in your practice! So even if you do this a thousand times in ten minutes, this is a good meditation practice!

  • End by letting go of the mantra. Sit quietly and breathe. Notice any changes in your mind and physiology.

  • Close by repeating this phrase silently to yourself, “I dedicate the merits of this practice to my own well being and the well being of all.”

The Mala:
A mala is a string of beads. In the Christian tradition it is known as a rosary. You can use a mala to focus in a physical way on your mantra repetitions by touching each bead as you repeat the mantra. This  helps many people to stay focused because there is a

physical anchor to the practice. It also allows you to count your repetitions. You can choose to have a set number of repetitions rather than focus on time. Every mala has 108 beads. I think traditionally, many people used malas because they didn’t have clocks!

Some people believe that the mala absorbs positive energy and helps you to meditate.
 
Physiological Effects of Mantra Meditation:
  • Lowered heart rate and respiration
  • Higher level of blood oxygenation
  • Increased hemispheric balance
  • Increased Galvanic Skin resistance-lowered anxiety
  • Increased warmth in the extremities
  • Increased Synchronicity-Sue’s Theory

Synchronicity:
Studies by the Heart Math Institute have shown that people feel their best when their heart rhythms, breathing and brainwaves are in sync. They are happier, more productive, more empathetic and perform better on cognitive tests.  This is called being coherent.

We become coherent through the process or entrainment. Basically, entrainment is process where the strongest oscillator will pull other oscillators into sync with it. Anything that has a steady predictable rhythm is an oscillator.

My theory is that repeating a word or phrase in rhythm with our breathing that evokes a positive feeling or emotion, makes us more coherent. When we are coherent our electro magnetic fields are stronger. This makes our state of mind more palpable to others and we can increase the well being of people in our environment as well as our own well being.

Mantra Meditation is good for:
Mantra Meditation is good for people who tend to be anxious and worry.

 It is good for those of us that have difficulty focusing. If you find that your mind jumps from one subject to another, and can’t stay focused on what you are doing, then mantra meditation is good for you.

If you are feeling, scattered, anxious, afraid and like you have many conflicting thoughts and energies, mantra meditation is a good choice.

Mantra meditation is a good choice if you like rhythm and sound.

This kind of meditation is known as a “devotional” practice. That means that you are paying homage to the deity, or concept of the word you are invoking. Some people naturally like devotional practices, others not so much.  

Mantra Meditation is a good practice for beginning meditators because it is concrete and the first step in meditation is to be able to concentrate. Most people like it and find it helpful.


Basically, if you find this practice enjoyable, relatively easy and something you look forward to, then it is a good practice for you!


Mantra Meditation is Not so good for:
First of all, anyone who has a history of serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, or psychotic episodes, should be very careful about beginning any kind of meditation practice. In this case, you should check with your doctor first.

People who tend to repress their thoughts and emotions may not benefit as much from   mantra meditation. For these folks, the mantra can become just another mechanism to not feel what they are feeling or to repress their thoughts. If you tend to think compulsively about one thing over and over, mantra meditation may not be your best choice.

 If you are an extremely visual person, mantra meditation may not ultimately be best for you because it is a more auditory and kinesthetic practice.

If you are extremely agitated physically, than a more physical practice such as Chi Kung, Yoga or Tai Chi may be better.


For people who are depressed in a non agitated way, mantra meditation may not be the best choice because it tends to calm, and neutralize the nervous system. Again, a more movement orientated meditation practice is better for these folks.

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Generally, Mantra Meditation is a great practice for beginning meditators. Start with 10-20 min a day. Notice the effect this practice has on you. Even if you find you don’t like it, or it is hard, stay with it until next class, so that you can do it enough to know if it is right for you.

If you experience any unusual, unpleasant effects, stop practicing and contact me.

My wish that you will find increased peace and happiness through doing this practice!