As we learn more about meditation through practice, we begin to understand that one of the underlying goals that we're trying to achieve is to get control of the 'monkey mind' or 'mind chatter'. Realizing that “I am not my mind” is a crucial step on the road to self-realization and enlightenment. Recognizing that the mind is a 'tool' for us to take in information, learn, and function in our environment, but it is not the essence of who we are…is a major step.
Many of us exist so much in our mind that we believe all of the thoughts and stories that our mind feeds us, even though much of our thinking is unnecessary, false, or negative. Meditation allows us the space and inner discipline to come to a deeper understanding of our eternal nature and to step away from the mind stuff, even for a moment, resting or abiding in our own true nature.
Mantra Meditation employs the use of a particular sound, phrase or affirmation as a point of focus. The Sanskrit term ‘Mantra’ means: Man: to think, and tra: instrumentality...an instrument of thought. Mantra also means: “protecting the one who receives it”. The act of repeating a mantra is called ‘Japa meditation’, which means 'recitation'. Just as prayer and affirmations need to be stated with a purpose and feeling, a mantra meditation practice requires conscious engagement on the part of the meditator.
Sanskrit mantras are vibrations that resonate in the body in different ways. The repetition of Sanskrit words or phrases heighten our own vibration which in turn heals the body and opens the mind to higher learning and states of consciousness. It is the same concept as a rosary. Repeating a phrase while counting the beads on a rosary help the mind to calm down and focus on one elevated spiritual thought or idea, raising the level of consciousness and spiritual connection.
The universal mantra is the sound Om or A-U-M.
Om is not a word but rather an intonation which, like music, transcends the barriers of age, race, culture and even species. It is made up of three Sanskrit letters, aa, au and ma which, when combined together, make the sound Om or Aum. It is believed to be the basic sound of the universe and to contain all other sounds within it. It is a mantra or a prayer in itself. If repeated with the correct intonation, it can resonate throughout the body so that the sound penetrates to the center of one's being, the Atman or the soul.
Sohum is another widely used mantra mimicking the sound of the breath. When used for meditation, Sohum acts as a natural guide to one's breathing pattern, to help achieve deep breath, and to gain concentration.
Sooooo... is the sound of inhalation, and is remembered in the mind along with that inhalation.
and Hummmm... is the sound of exhalation, and is remembered in the mind along with that exhalation.
The meaning of Sohum is: 'I am that....', reinforcing the infinite nature of our soul and the non-necessity to label ourselves as something in particular, such as I am mother, I am worker, I am woman.
You can also repeat a mantra of affirmation such as: I see clearly, I am health, I am abundance. Make sure that this type of mantra is in the present sense- not in the future such as; I will be healthy... Otherwise your focus will always remain in the future!
This type of meditation is very effective for those who have trouble calming the mind and getting it under control. Inhaling and exhaling your mantra gives your mind a focus and trains it to become 'one-pointed'.
Having a one-pointed mind is an incredible advantage in all aspects of your life. It enables you to focus so much more on what you're doing and to live wholly in the moment.
Choose your mantra, whether it be Om, Sohum, an affirmation, or a prayer and inhale and exhale the mantra during this practice.
You may want practice my Mantra Meditation audio to see how this benefits you!
Namaste and Peace,