Mantra, is a Sanskrit term for “word.”
And basically, that’s what a mantra meditation entails—simply repeating a particular word or phrase over and over on every exhalation of breath. It would be similar to doing the basic Breath Meditation mentioned in the previous post, but instead of focusing solely on the breath moving in and out of your body, with every exhalation of a “Mantra Meditation,” you actually say-out-loud a chosen word.
This was the most effective type of meditation for me when I first started to meditate. I used a single-word mantra to help hold my concentration and help control my breathing.
Well, you might ask, if you wanted to learn a mantra meditation, what word should you use?
I’m not being facetious about this, but that IS a good question. There are some words that are more effective than others for mantra meditating.
Any single-syllable word has potential as a mantra: love, peace, one, etc. (Use a nice one! You ARE what you think, you know.)
Aum or OM, is Sanskrit, and refers to the sound of the Universe, or the sound that brings pure consciousness into manifestation. It is an often-used mantra by devoted meditators because of two main reasons that I am aware of: One, is the intention behind saying it which implies a desire to unite and become one with the whole of universal consciousness; and Two, the actual sound of the word itself—the internal resonance that is created in your pallet and vocal box when the “Oooooo-Mmmmmm” or the “Ahhh-Oooo-Mmmm” vibrates in your throat and then the sound moves upward toward your nasal cavities.
From my personal explorations, I find that the “N” sounds (like “ONE”) or “M” sounds (like OM or AUM) are very effective for meditation because they give that added resonance in your head when you say it. Some sources, such as Barbara Brennen, cite that extra vibrational resonance in the nasal cavity area helps to stimulate the pineal gland, which is also the gland most associated with further developing 3rd-eye (psychic) abilities.
So, since the OM and AUM sounds are so popular with devoted meditators who often have amazing higher-consciousness experiences, I would guess that there is some validity to those claims.
But try it for yourself. Create exactly the same relaxing situation for yourself as you did with the Breath Meditation, and then with every exhalation, simply say the word that you wish to use for your mantra meditation, and really stretch it out when you say it. Make it extend through the entire out-breath. Then slowly intake a breath, ….center it in your abdomen, ….and again, ….exhale while saying the word.
Because of the sound aspect to meditating using a mantra, it lends itself to more private meditation sessions or group meditations for those who do use the same mantra. Or once you have become familiar with the word and the process, you may be able to simply say it in your mind and have similar calming effects.