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Learning mantra meditation - a guide
There are countless ways to meditate. Walking meditation, breathing meditation, object meditation and meditation with a mantra. Which type of meditation practice is right for you depends entirely on your personality and can change over time depending on your life situation or emotional state.
If you have not dealt with mantras before, it is worth taking a closer look at them. A mantra can help you keep focus during your meditation and gives the mind a meaningful task. This is a helpful support, especially at the beginning of your meditation practice.
What is a mantra?
The word "mantra" comes from Sanskrit and means something like saying, song or hymn. In the traditional sense, it is a sacred and highly effective syllable, word or verse. A mantra can carry spiritual power and manifest itself in physical existence through repeated recitation. You can repeat it silently in your mind like a prayer, whisper it to yourself, recite it out loud or even sing it.
In the tradition of yoga , Ayurveda, Hinduism, Buddhism and in countless Far Eastern traditions, beliefs and healing systems, mantras are an integral part of practice. Many mantras have been transmitted over the years and are still of great importance today and have the same topicality. In the more modern sense, mantras can also be understood as a kind of motto or motto that contain important core statements, wishes or positive beliefs.
What mantras are there?
There are old traditional mantras and new modern mantras. Basically, every syllable, every word, every verse or sentence that seems right for you and resonates with you can be used as a personal mantra. In the following we would like to introduce you to some widespread mantras that are used in yoga.
The sound OM, which actually consists of the three sounds AUM, is a sacred syllable that corresponds to the original sound and from whose vibration the entire universe is said to have originated. Often it is also symbolic for the world soul. The sound OM is firmly anchored in many different faiths and philosophies. In Hinduism it is considered the most sacred of all mantras. Therefore, this sound is also contained in many polysyllabic mantras.
SO HAM - I AM THAT - I AM (THE)
This mantra is not linked to any religion or concept of God and simply means "I am (that)" or in English "I am that". This mantra can be linked very well with the inhalation and exhalation (inhalation SO, exhalation HAM). The mantra has a calming effect, helps you get up to speed moment to focus and internalize that you are perfect just the way you are right now.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA – I BOW TO SHIVA
This mantra is a very well-known mantra from Hinduism and Shivaism. It means something like "I bow to Shiva". This does not necessarily mean Shiva as an external deity, but mostly Shiva stands symbolically for the divine within ourselves. This mantra commemorates the inner wisdom and divinity that we all carry within us.
LOKAH SAMASTAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU - MAY ALL LIVING BEINGS BE FREE AND HAPPY AND MAY I BE FREE IN MY THOUGHTS, WORDS AND ACTIONS CONTRIBUTE TO THIS IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY
In this mantra, a great basic philosophy of yoga becomes clear: we are all one and we are all connected. This mantra is a reminder that we can contribute to the common good through our words and actions and emphasizes the importance of mindfulness and compassion.
What is the best way to learn mantra meditation?
First, choose a mantra that suits you and your current life situation. Of course you can also create your own mantra. For example, you can use "I am..." and add an important quality or condition that you desire at the end. Maybe then your mantra will be “I am happy”. It is important that you remain in the present, because this is how your brain suggests to your body during the recitation that this state is currently present and releases messenger substances. It puts you in that state internally through the power of your thoughts.
When choosing a mantra in Sanskrit, make sure you understand the content, as this is the only way to get the full effect. If you have chosen a longer and complex mantra, you can support this let it run quietly in the background so that you can still concentrate on the mantra in a relaxed manner without having to concentrate too much on each individual syllable.
Now look for an undisturbed and quiet place where you feel comfortable. Make sure you are undisturbed for the time of your meditation. Sit in a comfortable sitting position and begin your meditation practice with a brief intention. This helps you to set your focus for the meditation practice very clearly and creates the right atmosphere. Now watch your breathing for a few moments. Just let them flow freely without trying to control them. Notice how your breathing gradually calms down and your body relaxes.
Now begin to recite your mantra. Whether you do this in silence, correlate it with your breathing, murmur it under your breath, or prefer to sing it is entirely up to you. Just do what feels best and most natural for you. Meditate as long as you want. You can either set a timer for the mediation period or carry it out unlimitedly.
End your practice with a few deep breaths and reiterate your intention or express your inner gratitude for all the wonderful people, states and things you have in your life. If you have already developed your own meditation practice, then integrate the mantra in a way that makes sense for you.