Mantra is a way of driving all moments and experiences into Sameness. When we are not meditating, it is an excellent way of staying in touch with Being. If you are engaged in continuous repetition of mantra, it is very noticeable when you lose your attention to other trains of thought/desires/reactions and it is very simple to bring your attention back to repeating the mantra.
When we are working in the world, it may be difficult to create time to meditate. But it is never difficult to create time to be present. You can be present for a deep breath between tasks at work, during your morning or evening commute, or when you are engaged in activities like preparing your food.
When I was doing mundane repetitive office tasks like stapling stacks of contracts, I would say a mantra for every staple I punched. Mantra is a way of blessing the world around you with a natural ease and grace.
How to do mantra?
When we begin, perhaps it can be said that we are doing mantra. But when you get the hang of it, the mantra starts doing you.
You can do mantra repetition in many different ways. The first way is straightforward: mentally and silently repeat your chosen mantra over and over.
Say your mantra deliberately and slowly. Charge it with intent, the way you want to live your day. There is no end to mantra meditation therefore there is no rush to complete it.
The other way of doing mantra meditation is by using prayer beads (also called a mala).
This is why I find it useful to have and frequently wear prayer beads. It reminds me to return to my mantra practice whenever I can. Strong emotions and reactions are also good reminders to return to your mantra.
When I rode the subway, I would sit or stand with my mala and engage in repetition while I waited for my stop. When I walked to work or had time to sit, I would slide my mala off my wrist or neck and begin to do repetition.
The way it works is that you hold each bead between your thumb and middle finger. After you inwardly intone the mantra, you pull the next bead toward you and repeat it again. You repeat the mantra once for each bead on the mala and when you reach the Guru bead (a large stopper bead), you can either end the meditation or switch directions and go all the way back around.
Choosing a Mantra
For me, an important part of choosing a mantra was finding a mantra that to me was demonstrative of the present moment and evocative of reality. My choice was Om Mani Padme Hum, which has been working wonders for me as I continually discover more about this old and popular mantra.
Whatever you choose, it should be something that moves you. If you can’t find something that ignites a spark of recognition in your heart, then choose a mantra that appeals to you intellectually. Don’t be afraid to try a few different mantras out and read about them. Google is your friend.
Mantra Technology, Pt. II will be an in-depth exploration of mantra meditation’s effect on human development.
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