Mantras are words or phrases that are chanted out loud or internally as objects of meditation. Often these mantras are associated with particular Buddhist figures, whose qualities can be cultivated by the repetition of the relevant mantra.
Mantra meditation predates Buddhism, probably by hundreds of years. The origins of mantras go back at least to the Vedic tradition that preceded the Buddha, where mantras were used as incantations to influence, or even to control, the gods.
Learn to meditate in 6 easy steps !
1.Choose your mantra – word or phrase that the beginner should silently repeat to himself during the meditation. The purpose of the mantra is to give you something to put your attention on other than your thoughts. You can use any phrase that you like. Most of the people like to use words like “Peace” or “Love”.
2. Comfortable place to sit. It’s good to find a quiet and isolated location where you won’t be disturbed. You don’t need to sit cross-legged on the floor unless that is comfortable for you. You can sit on a chair or sofa or on the floor with your back against a wall. You can support yourself with pillows or blankets. The point is to sit as upright as possible while still remaining comfortable. As long as you feel comfortable, this meditation can be practiced anywhere.
3. Gently close your eyes and begin by taking some deep breaths. Try taking a few “cleansing breaths” by inhaling slowly through your nose and then exhaling out your mouth. After a few cleansing breaths, continue to breathe at a normal relaxed pace through your nose with your lips gently closed.
4. Begin repeating your mantra silently to yourself without moving your tongue or lips. The repetition of your mantra is soft, gentle, and relaxed. There is no need to force it. The mantra does not need to correlate with the breath, though some people prefer to do so. For example, if using So Hum as your mantra, you could silently repeat So on your inhalation and Hum on your exhalation. If you choose to correlate your mantra with your breath, do not become overly fixated on this.
5. Do not try to stop your thoughts or empty your mind. As you continue with this process, you will inevitably find that you drift away from the mantra. It is human nature for the mind to wander. Do not try to stop your thoughts or “empty your mind.” Whenever you become aware that your attention has drifted away from your mantra to thoughts or any other distractions, simply return to silently repeating the mantra.
6. Stop repeating the mantra. After 20 to 30 minutes, you can stop repeating your mantra and continue sitting with your eyes closed. Before resuming activity, be sure to spend a few minutes relaxing with your eyes closed. You may use a timer with a very gentle, low-volume sound. Many people use their cell phones as meditation timers. Be sure to turn the volume down very low as you don’t want to be startled out of your meditation.
If you find that twenty to thirty minutes is too long for you, start with whatever amount of time you can. Even a few minutes of daily meditation is good.
This meditation has more benefits when it’s practiced daily. Ideally, meditation can be done first thing in the morning upon rising and then again at the end of the day, before the dinner.