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Learn to Meditate

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For thousands of years, people have used various techniques to bring their minds to a quieter state of being using an array of practices to expanded states of consciousness. Although religious and cultural influences vary the method in which people meditate, some examples include chanting, breathing, ecstatic dancing, healing touch, listening to music, making love, visual stimulation, aromatherapy and even ruminating on the taste of chocolate. When you learn to meditate, each technique is specifically designed to move the mind from its current state of activity to one of present-moment witnessing awareness.

Although you may not realize it, you have already experienced the phenomena of present-moment witnessing awareness many times throughout your life. These are the moments when you are in the “still zone.” It’s that moment on a roller coaster when you are screaming at the top of your lungs as your body plunges downward, or when you are playing sports and every shot you take, every move you make, is the perfect one. It’s during that big presentation—rather than reading a memorized script, you spontaneously seem to channel just the right words in an effortless flow.

When people want to learn to meditate, I first introduce them to mantra meditation. The traditional image of a meditator is someone sitting cross-legged with eyes closed and their hands resting on their knees, with thumbs and index fingers touching to form a circle as they chant the sound Om. That chanting of Om is what’s called the chanting of a mantra. has hundreds of FREE guided meditations delivered to your inbox every week. You can listen to the weekend meditations on davidji’s blog.

The word “mantra” comes from two Sanskrit words: man, which means “mind,” and tra, which means “vehicle” or “instrument.” So your mantra is your mind vehicle . . . your mind instrument. It is a tool to transport the mind from a state of activity to one of stillness and silence. We get the words “train,” “travel,” and “transportation” from the Sanskrit root tra. Most mantras are comprised of the 50 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. Mantras can consist of a single letter, a syllable or string of syllables, a word, or a whole sentence. Typically, most mantras are sounds, syllables, or vibrations that don’t necessarily have a meaning. Their value lies in their vibrational quality, not in any meaning that humans, society, culture, or civilization has placed on them over the last few thousand years. For this reason, they go beyond the state of human existence on this planet. And they take you deeper, because they are vibrations that have existed since the dawn of creation.

All guests at my retreats, if they don’t already have one, receive their personal mantras in a special ceremony. But if you don’t have a personal mantra, using the “hymn of the universe” works just fine.

Om, often referred to as the hymn of the universe, is the oldest mantra sacred to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Om is considered the ultimate vibration, because it contains every vibration that has ever existed and every vibration that will ever exist. Just as white light contains all the colors of the spectrum, Om contains every sound in the vibrational spectrum—even those we can’t hear with our ears.

 TRY IT! First, take a deep breath in through your nostrils and hold it for a moment and then slowly let it out. Do that again.Say Om out loud and feel the vibration as it is birthed, then sustains, and then dies out as you purse your lips.

Now let’s whisper it. Om. And now begin repeating it silently to yourself. Om, Om, Om, Om.

Close your eyes and silently repeat the mantra over and over.

When you notice that you have drifted away from the mantra to thoughts in your mind, sounds in the environment, or sensations in your physical body, gently drift back to the mantra. It will get louder and fainter, faster and slower; it will even become jumbled, distorted, and inaudible. However the mantra changes, simply keep repeating it, and when you notice you’ve drifted away just gently drift back. Back and forth and back and forth again. Gently surrender to the back and forth.

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Learn more about mantra meditation, in my book “Secrets of Meditation.”

When you have a consistent daily meditation practice, instead of only having sporadic tastes of the bliss of present-moment awareness, you begin to experience that bliss more and more in your everyday life. As you meditate regularly, a physiological shift occurs that grows deeper, stronger, and more profound with repetition. Like building any muscle in your body, meditation is a practice that transforms your entire physiology over time. This shift is subtle at first, and as the process of physical and emotional softening occurs, you begin to view life in new and expanded ways. Life takes on a different hue . . . a deeper meaning . . . a more universal understanding that pervades every cell of your being. The present-moment awareness you experience in meditation begins to flow throughout each thought, each conversation, each keystroke and each breath.

Interested in learning about other meditation methods? Visit our Meditation Room and explore other ways to learn to meditate.