Here’s exactly what you need to know about mantras for meditation. Mantras have been used for meditation because of the benefits they give. As a result of these benefits, people have reported increased concentration, faster quieting of the mind and unlocking of positive virtues from within. Keep reading to find out what a mantra is, how mantras are a different approach to meditation and how mantras are used in meditations. By the end of this article, you will have learned why mantras are important for meditation.
What is a Mantra
Mantras are sounds (spoken words or phrases) that are used as objects of concentration while meditating. The way mantras are used and the types of mantras available vary according to how people view it and their religious background. Whatever the case, they are known to have spiritual effects on practitioners in a way that affects the mind. A mantra is referred to as a mind protector because it helps to protect your mind from wandering from place to place while meditating. Mantras can either be chanted out loud or chanted internally during meditation. In Buddhism chanted mantras are normally associated with particular Buddhist figures whose qualities can be cultivated by the repetition of the mantra.
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 control the gods.
Unlike sentences where you can interpret their meaning most mantras do not have a sensible meaning when translated. However, some do have a meaning. For example, the Rama mantra is one of the most popular mantras used in India. You can simply repeat Rama like this: Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Rama means to rejoice and was used by Gandhi throughout his life. Other religions also use mantras without actually calling them mantras.
Christians normally chant Jesus when praying and Catholics chant Ave Maria (hail Mary) while Muslims chant Allahu akbar (God is great), Jews chant ‘Barukh attah Adonai’ which means (Blessed art thou, O Lord). Mantras are taken to be a powerful form of meditation because it helps one to stay focused and concentrated during meditation. Now that you know what a mantra is, let’s find out how mantras are a different approach to meditation.
How are Mantras a different approach to meditation?
Many people believe that mantras help them to follow through their meditation practice. Some of the reasons why they think mantras are a different approach to meditation include helping the mind to anchor, its suitability for all kinds of people during meditation and the ease of using mantras. When it comes to anchoring the mind, repeating a mantra will help you stop your mind from wandering. For example, when you say mantras that you enjoy and that relates to spiritual figures you wish to emulate, you will find that your concentration will focus on that figure alone. You will forget about every other stress or problem you have. This feeling will eventually help you to feel more peaceful and relaxed than when you started meditating.
Apart from anchoring your mind, mantras can be used by all kinds of people. School age kids, teenagers, beginners and even the most experienced meditators all benefit from mantras because they are easy to use. Not only this, mantras also help you meditate when you are facing trying times like financial difficulties, bereavement, hardship or illness. There are specific mantras for such circumstances and by repeating mantras for illness as an example, you will find your mind wandering away from your illness and focusing on your well being.
How are Mantras used in Meditation?
Mantras are generally used in meditation to stay focused while meditating. To do this, you must follow the necessary meditation steps, select a mantra, say the mantra for some minutes before concluding your meditation. Here are the exact steps to take when doing mantra meditation.
1. Select your meditation time and place. You can allocate about 20 to 30 minutes per day either in the morning or evening.
2. Get a quiet place where you can be free from distractions.
3. Select a mantra based on want you really want. You may want spiritual uplifting, better health, financial breakthrough or even a better job.
4. Sit quietly with your eyes half-closed.
5. Let about 70% of your allocated time be used for chanting your mantra either out loud, silently or internally. This would mean 20 minutes of the time if you are meditating for 30 minutes.
6. While chanting, focus on the meaning and what you want solved with respect and belief.
7. After the allocated time is reached, you can stop chanting and remain absolutely quiet for the remainder of the time.
8. While you are quiet, observe the thoughts flowing in and out of your mind. You will realize that you feel better than when you started with a positive attitude that your problem is alleviated. This is also the best time to pray.
Setting an alarm clock to assist your timing is not a bad idea. You can even use japa beads to chant your mantra instead of an alarm clock. The japa beads consist of 108 beads and each bead can represent a mantra. Once you exhaust chanting with the beads, you can stop chanting. If you don’t want to use an alarm clock or japa bead, you can decide to focus on your breathing. Each outward breath can represent a mantra repetition.
Mantras are very useful during meditation. You have seen what a mantra is, how it is a different approach to meditation and how a mantra is used for meditation. Use what you have read to practice mantras for meditation and have a great experience.