Mindfulness meditation brings to mind someone sitting cross-legged and chanting, “Ohm,” with his or her eyes closed. “Ohm” is the universal mantra often used during meditation. But this mantra can be another syllable or word that best helps the person who is meditating. Find out more about what a mantra is and how to find the right one to achieve your ideal state of calm and focus. What is the purpose of the mantra during meditation?
Yoga and mindfulness meditation practices are becoming more and more popular and for good reason. As more people are talking about yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, they are also inevitably discussing mantras. So, what is a “mantra”?
Our Western world has, for better or worse, has oversimplified the word “mantra,” making it out to be an inspirational, uplifting “motto to live by.” While this sort of definition is on the right track, when we’re talking about mindfulness meditation, this isn’t exactly right. A mantra requires more inward reflection than this definition acknowledges, and they are far more expansive.
Nurture Your Mantra
Mantra can be divided into two words: “man,” meaning “mind,” and “tra,” meaning “transport” or “vehicle.” Your mantra is your mind’s means of transport to a deeper, meditative state. After your meditation, it is a means of traveling throughout your world in a more mindful, purposeful way. When you nurture your mantra, you reap the fruit of your reward. The peace, joy, and healing you seek are closer than they were before.
Root of All Mantras: The Sanskrit Language
More specifically, mantras are a repeated word or phrase to help you enter this meditative state. In the sacred Sanskrit language, the root of all mantras, there are many one-syllable chants you can repeat while meditating. “Ohm,” for example, is said to be the sound of the universe. By repeating this word, you can more deeply connect with the oneness of yourself with the universe around you.
Choose Your Mantra
Of course, your mantra does not necessarily need to be in Sanskrit, or Hebrew, or Hindu, and your mantra never needs to be fixed from meditation to meditation. It is perfectly fine to chant a mantra in your native tongue. But acknowledging the mantra’s roots calls respectful attention to where all elements of spirituality began.
Setting Your Intention
Before you begin chanting your mantra, it is best that you set an intention. After all, a vehicle doesn’t go anywhere without a destination in mind.
A Theme or Mindset
Many guided yoga meditations will have a theme chosen by the instructor. If you are on your own or don’t feel the instructor’s theme fits with your needs at the moment, you may choose one that best serves you. At any rate, mantras such as “I am strong” or “I choose love” create a mindset for an aspect of your character that you wish to strengthen or a version of yourself that you wish to become.
Get to Your Desired Destination
Setting your intention in this way turns what would have been a passing thought into a mantra, a vehicle that will take you to the destination you always desired.
Still, Peace, Silence
Another one of the most important factors in an effective mantra is meditating in a space where you feel safe and are free from your life’s distractions.
In the society we live in, however, it’s nearly impossible to escape all noises and distractions. If you cannot free yourself of them all, acknowledge that they are there with you, inhaling, and then exhaling, let them go. They can coexist with you, but you do not need them. Not right now. Tune out all other possible paths. Instead, use your mantra to pave your own.
Find What You Are Searching For
After chanting your mantra during your mindfulness meditation, you should come back to yourself with a sense of what you were searching for: peace, contentment, healing, strength. You will continue throughout the rest of your day with more awareness of what is going on around you. And you will feel lighter and calmer. Also, you will feel more content with yourself and have more positive interactions with those around you.
If you don’t yield the positive effects right away, don’t be discouraged. It often takes practice and self-discipline to develop the clear focus and intention needed for mindfulness meditation. Keep returning to your mat with your attention and your mantra, and you will remain on the path you were meant to pave, steps closer to where you are meant to be. Choosing the right mantra can help. And your mantra can be changed as needed to keep you on a positive track.
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