Creating space for stillness.
For as long as I can remember a part of me wanted to meditate, intuitively sensing that the practice of meditation would do wonders for me – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Why may you ask? My German upbringing was ingrained with a cultural norm to continually strive for more; I always had a tendency to work too much and felt lost when I was asked to relax. Kinesiology gradually helped me release some of my rigidity and rewire myself and my brain - accepting that ‘doing nothing’, can indeed be one of the greatest achievements (a.k.a. enjoyment), cultivating creative ideas and solutions.
Thus, concepts such as slowing down, finding balance, creating awareness and practising mindfulness are high on my agenda - including meditation. Over the years, I’ve engaged in meditation on many occasions and in many ways (also via various apps), yet I never managed to stick to a consistent practice – until now.
In 2019 I started a 40-day transformation journey with David Ji (online via DailyOM) and discovered Mantra Meditation to tap into - as David Ji would say - the stillness and silence that rests within. I’ve since come back to this type of meditation and thought I share some of the things I’ve learned, thanks to David Ji’s teachings.
What is a mantra?
- Mantra comes from two Sanskrit words: “man” = mind; “tra”= vehicle or instrument. Therefore, a mantra is a mind vehicle or instrument, a tool to shift our mind from a state of activity to a state of stillness and quietude
- Mantras are ancient – they existed before there was language, they go beyond our human existence i.e. they take us to a deeper level
- Mantras are powerful when spoken; a whispered mantra is even more powerful and reciting it silently to yourself is the most potent way of working with mantras
- A mantra can be a single word, sentence, sound, symbol or vibration – it mostly is about its vibrational quality, its ability (through repetition) to disconnect us from thought, activity and meaning – mantras often are in Sanskrit but they don’t have to be, e.g. you can recite ‘shanti’ or the word ‘peace’. You could choose an I AM mantra such as I am intentional, I am present, I am safe.
What is mantra meditation?
In simple terms, during mantra meditation, one focuses on a chosen mantra and keeps repeating it over and over again, until it feels like you are hearing it in your own mind and, in a way, it feels like you are listening to it.
As you gently repeat the chosen mantra, it may change, it may get louder, it may get fainter, it may get faster or slower, it even may start to get jumbled or distorted. However it may change, allow it to be and continue to repeat it, in a relaxed way.
Sometimes it can take a while to settle on the mantra and naturally, our mind can be distracted by thoughts, sounds, physical sensations or emotions. You’ll realise soon enough ‘ooops, I don’t repeat the mantra anymore’ – that’s ok, simply drift gently back to the mantra and keep going.
David Ji talks about comfort is queen and after attempting to meditate in traditional cross-legged position on the floor (which almost always gave me cramps), I discovered that if I elevate my hips and sit on a yoga block, the blood supply to the legs won’t be constricted and it becomes really comfortable. Another way that works for me is sitting up with a straight back against a wall or bed head, stretching my legs straight out in front of me.
Ideally, the aim is to meditate for 30 minutes every day, however, my motto is anything is better than nothing, and I’m grateful if I can sit in stillness even for just 5 or 10 minutes.
Consistency is key and whilst the flow of life may not always allow me to meditate, I am very conscious of not letting the practice slip and if I miss a day, I will ensure I do it the following day. Interestingly, on a busy or challenging day, when my mind is overstimulated and overloaded, I look forward to the moments of silence and stillness, to the point of craving it.
I find this practice enriching and empowering - it is a truly grounding and connecting experience, instilling presence and awareness. I recommend it to some of my clients, suggesting a mantra based on a key affirmation or aspect from the kinesiology session. If you need help with a mantra, feel free to join my mantra series on Instagram or Facebook.
Feeling inspired to give it a go? Remember, there is no right or wrong way – make it your own and it will become a wonderful tool to help you stay calm, centred and present.
With grace & inspiration,
Last reviewed and updated - June 2022