Do you feel like you think too much, or that your thoughts are driving you crazy? Mantra meditation may be one way to help.
Mantra meditation tends to slow down the mind, and cool out the thinking process. Many people report it to leave them feeling centered, refreshed, and relaxed.
Mentally repeat a sacred word or phrase.
- The first step is to choose a mantra. A mantra is a word or phrase that is believed to have a sacred meaning and power. Mantras are typically quite short, in order to make repetition easy. Choose whatever short word or phrase works for you.If you cannot decide on a mantra, here are some favorites, categorized by the tradition from which they come:Hindu:
- OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
- OM MANE PADME HUM
- NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO
- WAHE GURU
- KYRIE ELEISON
- SHEMA YISRAEL ADONAI ELOHEINU ADONAI ECHAD
- ALLAH HU
- Picking a mantra may be the hardest part! Once you have made your choice, the actual practice is simple:
- Take a reposed, seated posture. Your back should be straight and your body as relaxed as possible.
- Close your eyes, and relax again.
- Now, with your eyes closed, begin to repeat your mantra mentally.
- Repeat it in a gentle, soft, open (mental) voice. Don’t say it in a special or emphatic tone. Don’t repeat it in a fast or anxious manner. Smooth, relaxed, and even.
- As you repeat the mantra, bring your attention to the sound of it in your mind. Listen closely to the sound of the mantra, as if you were listening to it on the radio. Pay careful attention to each and every repetition.
- If your attention begins to wander, bring it back to the sound of the mantra. If it wanders again, bring it back again.
- Notice your mind becoming calm and centered.
- Continue to do this for at least 10 minutes, or for as much longer as you like.
- The idea of repeating the "name of God," a sacred word, or a magical phrase is very old. Seemingly every culture has some form of this type of meditation.
- The word mantra itself comes from India and means a "mental device," or a technique to calm and center the mind. Hinduism and Buddhism are very rich in mantras, having literally tens of thousands.
- Christianity has often used mantras. In the Roman Catholic church, mantra practice is called reciting the rosary. Here is a page about that.
- In the Eastern Orthodox church, a long form of "kyrie eleison," called the "Jesus Prayer," is used. Here is a page about that.
- In Islam, mantra repetition is called dhikr, which means "remembrance (of God)." Here is a page about that.
Some people like to use beads to count each mantra. A string of these beads is typically called a mala ("circle") and has 108 beads. A Christian mala is called a rosary.