I have been fascinated with meditation for years mainly because I felt it could never work for someone with my energetic and sometimes excitable personality. For a long time it stayed with me, as something I would like to know more about but that I was not quite ready for. Then a few years ago, due to some life changing events I felt the calling to take up the challenge to learn how to meditate. Ever the student; I read what I could, spoke to those who practiced it, attended workshops, found some gurus to guide me, visited the Buddhist centre in London; basically whatever I could get access to I did and I started to meditate – experimenting with different types to see what suited me best.
As with most things in life through practice and constant repetition you can achieve anything and now meditating, like breakfast, has become a daily event for me. I have learnt to shut my mind off from the outside world and as a result I feel calmer, and centred. Always open to learning new ways to meditate, recently I have taken up the practice of learning mantra meditation. If you are like me when I said mantra meditation you immediately pictured a room full of people chanting ‘OM’ over and over. Well all I can say to that – being one of the converted – is give it try, it is very powerful.
Why you should try mantra meditation:
Most newbies to meditation find it hard to clear their minds so after a few attempts will give up thinking it impossible. With mantra meditation, when you are concentrating on saying a mantra over and over, there is less room in your headspace for thoughts to form therefore it decreases inner mind chatter.
The meaning of mantra in Sanskrit is man ‘to think’ and tra ‘designating instrument’ so together this translates to ‘instrument of thought.’ In practice this means that a mantra delivers us from our sense dependency (which is the unrelenting habit we all have of looking toward the senses for gratification) from pleasures that are and that will always be fleeting (how much can you eat? Or do? Or buy?). Sense gratification never really gratifies. We are always left either unfulfilled and/or guilty. Chanting is a pleasure that transcends the senses, it takes us beyond the boundary of time and space (which is why we don’t have to understand the mantra). It relieves us from the sights and sounds and stimulation of the material world and delivers us into a spiritual space, where the sound is God. Material needs are reduced to nothing. Through the sweetness of devotional surrender, mantra turns the negative into positive.
What we think we are. Our thoughts reflect and affect our mood, our attitude and our general being. Our thoughts are silent sounds. And sounds are electromagnetic vibrations. The more refined our thoughts, the more elevated our vibration; the more elevated our vibration, the closer we get to the highest vibration of all, our own divine nature. The entire universe was built on sound, which is nothing but vibration. By vibrating a certain combination of sounds, we are able to tune into various levels of intelligence, or consciousness. This means chanting mantras is a conscious method of controlling our moods thus increasing our radiance.
And it is easy. You don’t have to sing well (case in point: ME). You can do it alone or in a group. You can chant softly or in full voice. I always sit in the lotus position when I am meditating but you don’t have to. Some mantras can move you to dance, others to walk, you go with what you feel comfortable doing.
My wish is for everyone to incorporate some kind of meditation into their busy lives. I really do hope you give it a go.