Om namahshivaya, omnamahshivaya- I could not but stop for a few moments listening to the soothing chants coming from a nearby temple. At that moment, my mind was clouded with a lot of disturbing thoughts. Completely mesmerized by the effect of the chants, I felt something pulling me towards them. As I entered the temple, the sound intensified as if resonating in every cell of my body. I felt my scattered mind calm down as I sat and closed my eyes. I could feel my body and mind becoming still. In just a few moments, I effortlessly slipped into meditation.
How often have you found it difficult to have a deep meditation? There may be times when simply sitting with eyes closed does not help. Or even if we are able to meditate well, we definitely want to enhance our experience. That is when mantras and chanting can play an important role.
What is a mantra & what does it do?
Our ancient seers identified certain specific sound vibrations that bring the mind to a state of calmness and peace besides bringing other benefits. These sounds are called mantras. They allow the mind to dissolve and repose. “Mantras are as subtle as the air that creates ripples in the water as it gently moves over it (the water),” shares Bhanumathi Narasimhan, Sahaj Samadhi meditation teacher. These subtle, positive vibrations create that same field of positivity in us as well.
#1 Mantras create a shift from sound to silence
“The sound of someone crying can make us feel sad while the sound of someone laughing can trigger a sensation of joy in us. When the sounds of crying and laughing can affect us so much, mantras are much more powerful and help us to move into the inner, silent space effortlessly,” shares Bhanumathi. The purpose of sound in chanting is to bring silence in the mind. When that happens, we find it easier to meditate.
#2 Resonate with positive vibrations
Explains Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, “Just as protons and neutrons are in the center of the atom and electrons are only the periphery, same is with our lives; the center core of our existence is bliss, positivity and joy but it is surrounded by a cloud of negative ions. Mantras (Sanskrit chants) remove this cloud of negativity.” Chanting charges up the atmosphere with positive vibrations and in such a space, meditation becomes natural and effortless.
#3 Brings the mind to the present
In Sanskrit, it is said Mananatrayateiti mantra: Mantra is that which saves you from repetitiveness. Observe closely: we worry so much about everything in life, but what exactly is worry? It is nothing but a repetitive thought about something in the past or an anxiety about the future. And our mind keeps oscillating between past actions and future events and gets caught up in a swamp of worries.
Mantras come to our rescue, save us from continuous botherations and help bring our mind to the present moment. It is then we enjoy a deep experience in meditation.
Although you can start your journey any time of the day, morning time is a good idea. Start with listening to some chants (omnamahshivaya, for instance) before you sit for meditation. You could also get your own mantra from a Sahaj Samadhi meditation teacher. This will help you go deeper in your journey.
Also consider meditating with a group of people – could be your friends or family. It always has a deeper effect on your meditation experience. You could choose a quiet corner to meditate to save yourself from distractions.
Chanting adds beauty to meditation. Little can be understood about this in words – you truly need to experience it yourself.
Inspired by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's wisdom talks
By Divya Sachdev
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