What is mantra meditation?
In mantra meditation, you repeat a series of sounds or words. Don’t panic – you don’t have to chant it out loud. I know that can seems a bit too “out there” for some! The choice is yours. Silently. Whispering. Out loud.
As I always say, whatever works for you!
But I will say this… it is much easier to stay focused when chanting a mantra out loud rather than in your head. You can focus on the vibration of the sound if you become distracted. It’s a great way to start when you are first introduced to mantra meditation! You can then move on to whispering. And eventually, repeating it silently which is much harder to remain focused. It is definitely a goal to work towards and I’ve even read that repeating a mantra silently is 100,000 times more effective than repeating a mantra out loud! I’ll let you be the judge of that one!
Not only do mantras help you to clear your mind and stay focused. Sometimes mantras help to go beyond negative thoughts as they have a positive meaning attached to them. And with some mantras, the sound itself has a meaning due to the vibrational energy that comes from repeating the sound. Even if you don’t even know what the meaning of the mantra is! Yup, they are THAT powerful!
Deepak explains this simply, saying: “mantra can be broken down into two parts: “man,” which means mind, and “tra,” which means transport or vehicle. In other words, a mantra is an instrument of the mind—a powerful sound or vibration that you can use to enter a deep state of meditation.”
Where does mantra meditation come from?
A lot of the common mantras you may have heard in a yoga class, or seen written on popular shirts these days are Sanskrit mantras. Sanskrit mantras are how I was first introduced to mantras! Sanskrit is said to be a “perfect language,” as its correct pronunciation evokes a unique vibration in the Universe, placing into motion whatever you are trying to manifest through your mantra. Not only that, but the vibrations that come from chanting a Sanskrit mantra are soothing to the human ear!
I’m not often one for reading into history I have to admit, I’m not too interested in dates and names. However, when something has resonated with me the way mantras have, I need to know more! So, I did some reading on the history of Sanskrit and found some historical facts that I actually found interesting. My eyes didn’t even glaze over once! If you are interested, read the next paragraph. Or just skip to the next one, don’t worry, I’ll understand…
Some history for ya…
It is believed that Sanskrit was passed down to ancient sages by the Hindu god of creation, Brahma. The sages then passed it down to humans who used it orally. The first record found of Sanskrit was in the Vedas (ancient text that included spiritual hymns from 1500 BCE). Sanskrit is basically the “ancestor of most modern languages spoken today in South Asia.” It has been used in ancient poetry and scripts as well as religious and philosophical texts. It is said it brought out the best meaning of poems due to it’s perfect sounds.
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Which mantra is for you?
Om Mani Padme Hum.
This is THE mantra of all mantras. It is taught to every Tibetan Buddhist child to continually chant as part of their spiritual journey. The meaning behind the mantra is deep and complex. The Dalai Lama gave a simple translation of the mantra: “The jewel is in the lotus.” The lotus symbolizes our transformations as we awaken to a higher consciousness.
This is perfect to start with if you are new to mantra meditations as you can use your breath to guide you. It is a sanskrit mantra. “So”, meaning “I”, represents your individuality. Hum, meaning “am that”, representing Universal consciousness. I – am that. I – am that. I – am that. It refers to the connection you have with all consciousness. You are one with the Universe. You am one with all that is. So-hum!
A common Kundalini mantra and one that is simple to being with (for more information on Kundalini, read until the end of this blog, I promise, it’s not that much longer!) You can use your breath to guide you just as with So Hum. It means “Truth is my name” . I’ve read a lot of definitions of Sat Nam and Spirit Voyage does the best job of summing it up simply yet deeply:
“Sat” has a vibration that reaches upward through the crown chakra. It is an etheric vibration, as the meaning of “Truth” here correspondingly isn’t tangible but is more etheric. If you meditate very carefully upon the vibration of “Sat Nam”, you can feel the flow of energy moving from the Etheric (Sat) to the Material (Nam). Nam is “name” but more importantly it is a vibration. The word itself carries a vibration that makes the divine manifest into the earth plane. So “Nam” is a grounding vibration, a manifesting vibration. It acknowledges the Infinite made manifest as a vibration in this world. So chanting “Sat Nam” reaches up into the etheric plane and pulls the vibration of Infinity into your awareness, your consciousness, and your physical world.
Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung.
This is an easy kundalini mantra to try. It is a mantra for healing the self, others, the planet or whatever is in need of healing. Google it or find a recording to follow along with on youtube!
Simple but powerful. Om was the first sound heard in the creation of the Universe. Try it. Feel the vibration of it. I bet it will leave you energized!
Ananda means bliss Hum means I am. I am bliss. Repeat this mantra and simply feel the bliss ooze into your being!
What is kundalini anyways?
Kundalini mantra meditations are newer to me. “Kundalini” is an ancient Sanskrit word. It actually means “coiled snake.” It is believed that each of us has energy and consciousness coiled at the base of our spine. Through kundalini postures and mantras we can work towards awakening this energy.
I always follow the signs, so when kundalini popped into my radar 3 times within a few days, I knew I was meant to learn more about it. Then I googled the name of a mantra that was mentioned in the book I was reading. I clicked on a random youtube link without much thought. And all I can say is WOW. I was meant to find that mantra.
I often get distracted easily, I don’t often listen to a meditation more than a couple times, I read multiple books at once, I even get halfway through a painting and then often start a different one. But something about this kundalini mantra left me with such a feeling of peace and joy. I couldn’t explain it. I didn’t even know what it meant. But everyday for two weeks I would walk outside, sit facing the sun, and chant quietly along with this mantra.
Another mini history lesson… (this is so unlike me!)
I eventually did more research on kundalini and found that it was brought to the west less than 50 years ago by Yogi Bhajan. He broke all traditions and rules by bringing this knowledge from India to the general public in Canada. In fact it was believed that the public was not prepared to access such powerful knowledge. In the past, a statement like that would have come across as too bold for me. I may have even rolled my eyes a little. But now, having experienced first-hand the profound effect of simply repeating a kundalini mantra, that statement didn’t seem bold at all.
In Kundalini, 3ho describes the importance of the commitment to sticking with a mantra. It is recommended to repeat a mantra everyday for 40 days, as this will help to break any negative habits that may be blocking you from expansion.
I urge you to do some searching for some mantras online! There are some deeply powerful and moving chants which need to be listened to! Find what speaks to you.
I’ve created a 15 minute meditation below that blends together some mindfulness practices with some mantras! Give it a try and see if you prefer it over my guided visual meditation. Sometimes finding the meditation style that resonates with you is a bit like trial and error!
Now go meditate, and spread your love along the way!
Are you ready to feel inspired? Do you want to learn how to use meditation and mindfulness to let go of all those things that are weighing you down?