Mantra meditation is a very simple method of meditation.
It was the technique Sagara used when he began to meditate, and had an enormous impact on his life.
The meditation technique is particularly suitable to those who have more difficulty being able to focus and concentrate.
This is because it can work as a coping strategy.
It can cut thought off almost immediately, and provide some relief from the torment of the current narrative.
It’s much more than a coping strategy
Having said that, to see this technique just as a coping strategy, is to miss the point.
Like all concentrative meditation techniques, it develops the habit of moving away from the narratives that thought weaves, and returns us to what is actually happening right now, in this moment.
And when we return to that moment, something magical happens. There is a transformative power of awareness, and being in the present moment, that in itself, brings about change.
How it works
In Mantra meditation, the object of concentration is a word, which is said internally. The mantra I usually give people is ‘shiam’, pronounced ‘shy-am‘.
Mantras are often used in religion and are associated with a god or deity. But this word, or sound, has no meaning or religious significance.
So you sit to meditate, possible doing a short Body Scan to prepare, then you begin to say this word in your head: “shiam… shiam… shiam… shiam”.
Try not to go too quickly with the mantra. Select a moderate pace and stick with it. Just keep saying with it, and allow it to be the focus of your attention.
Concentrate, Recognise, Congratulate, Return
As described on the Mindfulness Page, what will happen is that thought will come in and begin to ‘talk’. It may be about the past, about the future, or even about the meditation you are currently doing.
When thought does this, you will lose attention on the mantra, and you may lose the mantra completely. Don’t worry about this – it is going to happen!
Instead, recognise that you have drifted away from the mantra. Then congratulate yourself for noticing. Then gently and non-judgementally, return to saying the mantra in your head.
This Mantra Meditation Practice really is that simple. But its effects can be incredibly profound.
Ideally this practice would be done twenty minutes a day, every day – unless you are alternating it with the Loving Kindness Meditation Practice.
Once your ability to concentrate has improved, you may want to consider swapping to the Breathing Meditation practice.
And if twenty minutes a day is too much, try to do ten, or even five. Every day is the key. Just keep plugging away at it, and the benefits will come – often when you least expect them!