One of the basic ways to meditate is by using a mantra, prayer, or sound vibration. A short phrase or several syllables is good to use in the beginning. You want to be able to remember your mantra and repeat it with devotion, so that it takes you into a meditative state when you sit quietly.
Choose a mantra that you are comfortable with. If you have a short prayer in your religion, that would be appropriate. For example, I was raised Catholic and used to say 'Jesus, Mary, Joseph' repeatedly with an attitude of devotion. If you do not have a religious bent then a universal peace mantra might be your choice, such as Om Shanti, or Om.
The important point is to use the mantra with which you feel most comfortable, and that uplifts your thoughts and feelings.
I’ve included this photo, because I see the woman portrayed in a peaceful meditative state.
Coordinate the repetition on the syllables of the mantra with your breath. If you are using Om Shanti, breathe in on ‘Om’, and breathe out on ‘Shanti’.
It is not necessary to have an in or out breath with each individual syllable.
Mantra repetition is most often a silent practice as part of your meditation. You needn’t actually say the syllables out loud. Again, coordinating with the breath is important to achieve harmony.
Mantra repetition serves more than one purpose: It uplifts your thoughts, and slows down the racing of thoughts through your mind.
Perfecting the recitation of a mantra is not the end in itself. It is a means to experiencing yourself as transcendent peace and bliss.
After mentally reciting your mantra for a period of time you may begin to hear the inner sound seeming to emanate from under the crown of your head. At this point stop repeating the mantra and instead listen to the soothing internal sound, sometimes referred to as the celestial music, music of the spheres, and in religions as The Holy Spirit, Om, Naam, Amen, The Word.
However you understand the essence of your mantra, it will eventually lead to the spiritual experience of bliss and harmony, and what could be more useful in daily life than that – becoming one with the peace that passeth all understanding.
I invite you to join me in a world-wide cyber meditation every day of the year. Click on this link to read about it.
Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Susan Kramer: Portrait of an Old Woman by Barthel Bruyn de oude, 1524; Kroeller-Mueller Museum, The Netherlands
For offline reading
Gentle Yoga and Meditation – for All Adults
Gentle yoga poses and meditations for adults of all ages, plus a dose of yoga philosophy and virtues. All poses illustrated. 107 pages. Table of contents at this link.
Meditation for All Kids
Sitting, walking, dance and group circle meditations, along with positive affirmations, verses and benefits of meditation for kids of all ages and abilities in a 100 page book with illustrations.
NEWSLETTER: Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter of updates to the meditation site by filling in the blank below the article with your email address - which is never passed on beyond this site.