February 17, 2011 by ravenstarshealingroom
“The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-92) would repeat his own name to himself again and again like a mantra, and by doing this would access a different state of consciousness in which whole poems came to him that he could then transcribe.” Paul McKenna
The gentle repetition of a mantra is a technique used for concentrating and focusing your energy. It points you to pure awareness, allowing you to let go of any attachment that would draw you away from the present moment. Paying attention to a mantra, either spoken aloud, whispered or thought upon, anchors you to your center, silences the mind, allowing spirit to hear the inner voice and make contact with the Divine.
Words have a tremendous effect on the body and mind. Silently reciting or chanting a mantra activates a large group of nerves in the throat area, and the creative power of the thyroid gland. The current of sound (thought by the heart and spoken by the tongue) then flows to the thymus gland, stimulating the body’s nervous system. This vibrational awakening stirs old brain cells and triggers layers and layers of knowledge stored in the DNA and deep inside the cells of the physical body.
“I begin my daily yoga practice with this mantra: “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo”. It’s meaning, in essence, is “I call upon the divine teacher within”. This mantra may be chanted out loud three times in this way:
Take a deep breath and exhale “ong namo”, on the same tone; take another short or half breath and exhale the last three words of the mantra. Dev is chanted one half tone higher than ong namo guru and the name is the same tone as ong. I like this mantra because it centers me and affirms my inner wisdom. I sometimes repeat it before doing readings or other psychic work. DIANE MARIECHILD
A mantra should not be confused with an affirmation. Affirmations are used to let go of unwanted and unneeded ‘stuff’. Repeating a positive phrase stimulates the release of toxins, negative thoughts, old memories and suppressed emotions…..we observe and ‘feel’ the emotional distress in our body, heal it and release it. Eventually there is an enery change and we discover the thought(s) that are/were controlling us.
If you’ve read other articles in this blog, you’ve probably noticed the mention of the medulla oblongata more than once. This tiny structure at the base of the brain stem is truly the seat of life in the body. Respiration and circulation are controlled by this center and it is the place where cosmic energy enters and feeds the entire body with prana/chi.
“It’s like having a door open in the back of my head. The door is tiny but what’s in back of the door is huge.” Cythnia Gale
When we invoke a mantra, the medulla oblongata acts like a tuning fork, vibrating in sympathy with our own ‘sound’. This creates a physical sensation that vibrates in the body and mind, immediately normalizing the heartbeat in which the entire body automatically adjusts and responds. In a spiritual sense, Jim Kepner (psychologist and author) spoke of “a feeling of something opening up behind me, or sort of like falling back into another space behind me…almost as if something were shifting in the bones at the back of my neck.”
“…Take a comfortable, deep breath and then hum a low note quietly to yourself. Pitch the note near the bottom of your register so that it resonates inside you. How does that feel in your body? Can you feel a sort of tingle or vibration deep inside. Take another deep breath and quietly hum a high note near the top of your register. How different is that as a sensation within your body? Did you notice different parts of your body react to each note? Did you find the high note or the low note more comfortable?
For meditative purposes, it is accepted that a lower note is more in harmony with your body and that it is easier to relax with a lower note than a high piercing one.” TARA WARD, Meditation and Dreamwork
A SIMPLE EXERCISE – INTO THE WORLD OF SOUND
“How often have I sat down at out-of-tune pianos….winced at the first notes as I pressed the keys’ nevertheless….I have found that from that moment I started to enjoy the music my ear started to correct the inaccuracies. My listeners, too, as they adjusted themselves inwardly to these out-of-tune sounds, experienced the odd phenomenon, with all the intervals suddenly seeming to be in tune.” Peter Michael Hamel
Cover your eyes and plug your ears with your hands. Listen to the sounds of your breathing for ten full breaths. Then gently put your hand on your lap, palms open, and keep your eyes closed.
Now pay attention to the sounds around you. Listen closely to every single sound, you may be surprised at all the sounds you’ve never paid attention to before.
At first you may tend to identify and label where the sounds are coming from, what they are. That’s okay. Just identify as many sounds as you possibly can.
Now begin to listen without identifying them. Observe the sounds rather than labeling them ‘annoying’ or ‘beautiful’ or ‘harsh’ or ‘soothing’ Listen as you would to an orchestra or rock group. You hear the total effect without indentifying the individual instruments and voices. You are in the midst of an orchestra of sound.
Without identifying the origin of the sounds, notice the subtle textures. One sound is often made up of many other sounds. Pay attention to the variations in pitch and intensity. How many different ones do you notice.
Floating as you are in an ocean of sound, your body becomes very still and your spirit opens up. Notice your connectedness to this vast ocean of sound. Notice what you feel. Then return to the world of sound.
You are a listening post to this universe of sound. Again note your feelings as you listen. Do you feel stillness, love, a sense of being part of a harmony? Then return to the world of sound.
Alternate between the sounds themselves and the sense of harmony you feel with them. Back and forth. Two sides to a single harmony.
Know that God’s power underlies and sustains each sound. It is the divine harmony sounding around you. Listen to the divine symphony.
Rest in this world of sound
Rest in God/All is One.
CHOOSING A MANTRA
“First of all it’s better not to use a real word. A mantra should not hook you into any train of thought or emotional pattern. “Although some words such as “peace” or “calm” might sound very comforting, the problem is that you may be tempted to think about their meaning and what the words mean to you. The purpose and power of a mantra lies in your ability to lose yourself in its rich, sonorous sound and the way it vibrates around and through your body. If you are thinking consciously or unconsciously about the word, it stops the mantra from doing its job.” TARA WARD
Counting your breaths from one to ten and then starting over again will work and long as you don’t make it into a competitive game or criticize yourself when you lost count and congratulate yourself when you don’t.
It is best to choose a mantra that you don’t recognize or is in a language that is foreign to you. Beginners are usually shown a mantra with no more than one or two syllables. The first reason for this is to keep it simple and secondly it keeps us focused.
Here are some examples of one or two syllable mantras……
MAH – NUM
VO – HUM
LAH – NEE
VEE – NONG
DA – YAM
RAH – MAH
SHAH – LOON
And these too…..
AUM MANE PADME HUM (Sanskrit)
KYRIE ELEISON (Greek)
NAMU AMIDA BUTSU (Pali)
DOMINE MECUM (Latin)
All these expressions qualify as ‘sacred’ and, their unfamiliar language removes any emotional patterns.
When you’ve chosen your mantra see it in your mind’s eye. How does it look to you? How does it make you feel? Take a deep cleansing breath and say it out loud or speak it softly. Let the mantra continue until you have finished your breath. Then take a deep breath and repeat it again until your breath runs out. Do this at least 3 times or more. Notice what feelings and sensations your mantra creates and where you feel its vibration in your body.
Start again and really feel the word vibrate through and around you. Lose yourself in the sound and feel it spread outwards from you body in a beautiful gow of energy. Merge with the sound and become one with the sound itself. When you do this you’ll find yourself unware of when you’re breathing in….this is because the sound seems continuous as its vibration spreads wider and wider. Stay with this as long as you can. It creates a magnetic flow through the body. Once you feel/sense your conscious mind is totally engaged in the chant “bring it down into the subconscious by whispering. While chanting in the subconscious offer it, too, up to superconsciousness [with eyes closed gaze upward] at the point between the eyebrows, until you feel your entire being vibrating with the words, the melody and the rhythm.
…..to spiritualize a chant, keep it rotating in the mind—for days at a time. If necessary: not only in meditation but as you go about your daily activities. This practice is also called Japa. Christian mystics, too, speak of the continuous “prayer of the heart,” and of “practicing the presence of God.” All this is japa. ” J DONALD WALTERS, Superconsciousness, A Guide to Meditation
The following Sound meditations are from Kripalu’s Self Health Guide, an great book based on Kripalu’s Eight-Step Approach.. These are very simple and great for those just starting.
MEDITATION ON THE SOUND OF OM
Choose a quiet place where you won’be be interrupted or disturbed. If you’d like, dim the lights, light candles and/or incense to create a space of calmness.
If you need a chair use one, if not sit comfortably on the floor, spine erect and chin parallel to the floor, tucked in slightly. Sitting cross-legged is best or if you have one, a meditation bench. It is more important to be comfortable than correct.
Take a couple of breaths and let your shoulders and neck relax. Close your eyes abd begin breathing calmly and slowly, taking about 10 deep breaths slowly in and out.
Let all your concerns go….if a thought comes up, visualize it on a blackboard and erase it away. Another idea is to imagine putting each thought into a bubble and let it float away.
Drop all expression from you face and consciously relax various parts of your body, especially the face, shoulders abdomen, and hands.
Continue taking slow, deep breaths for two to five minutes, practicing the focusing of your total concentration on your breathing. Then gradually allow your breath to return to normal and feel yourself becoming very still within. Remain with the sensations in your body rather than with any thoughts that may flow through your mind.
Mentally repeat Om very slowly. Feel the vibrations of the thought/sound. Listen with your whole being. After several silent, mental repetitions of the sound, very softly begin to chant the sound aloud by taking a full deep breath in and sounding Om on the exhalation, making each repetition as long as is comfortably possible.
As you continue to chant, experience the effects. Feel the peace that is created by the vibration. Imagine that the sound is flowing from deep within your abdomen that you are opening up to let it flow out. Feel all worry, fear, and tension dissolve.
Remain still for a period of time, enjoying the feeling of quiet and peace within and around you. When you are ready, gradually open your eyes.
Practice this technique until you begin to feel that you are gaining some control and concentration. Then move, if you wish to a more complex technique.
MEDITATION ON THE INTERNAL SOUND of So’ham
So’ham (pronounced “so-hahm”) is an easy but powerful meditation technique that is also based on awareness of breath. It is one of the most scientific approaches for learning the deep concentration and inner stillness necessary to experience meditation.
Take time to prepare yourself as you did in the previous meditation and consciously relax the various parts of your body. Allow your consciousness of external surroundings to fade as much as possible. Then practice a few minutes of Yogic Deep Breathing, focusing your attention on the breath.
After approximately two to 5 minutes, allow the breath gradually to return to normal, keeping your concentration on it. Watch your normal flow of breath with unattached objective awareness. Remain releaxed, not trying to control your breathing in any way. Without expectations, just watch the breath flow in and out. You will notice that the breath automatically begins to become slower and more shallow.
After a slow, gentle breathing rhythm is established, begin to hear within, the sound of so’ham (“I am That”). Do not actually make the sound, but imagine that it is the sound of the breath, “soooo” on the inhalation, and “haammmm” on the exhalation. Let the brething and the sound absorb your mind as completely as possible.
After a few weeks, add concentration on the point between the eyebrows (known as the ‘third eye”). Begin by practicing so’ham for about ten minutes and greadually make your sessions longer. Each time the mind wanders away from the technique, gently lead it back until the periods of mental stillness increase.
Excellent! There is a wealth of information in this fantastic and excellent pdf article (108 pages) on Mantras. http://www.wahmusic.com/images/book/chant_sample.pdf