You can follow your breath to meditate. Or you can use another technique in which you use mantras.
When we use mantra meditation, we place our attention not on our breath, but on a word or phrase. In Sanskrit, that word or phrase is called a mantra, which comes from two Sanskrit words: man = mind and tra = vehicle. So a mantra is essentially, a mind vehicle. No matter where our mind drifts, as long as we have an object of our attention (such as our breath or a mantra) we will stay present.
Feel free to use any of the techniques I mention on my blog, weekend meditations, or on Hay House Radio. Find one that resonates with you, and use it consistently for 21 days. If you determine that you’d like to use a mantra as the object of your attention, instead of your breath, there are some classic universal sounds I recommend in Secrets of Meditation, including the traditional mantra Om; or the so hum mantra which has been used in meditation for over 3,000 years and was popularized by my teacher, the prolific author, physician and spiritual icon Dr. Deepak Chopra.
TRY IT! As you breathe in, silently repeat SO; and as you breathe out, silently repeat HUM. So – hum. So – hum. So – hum. Do it for a few moments now with your eyes closed. How does that feel?
There’s no perfect speed; it’s whatever feels right in the moment. As you repeat your mantra meditation, it will change. Even though you are repeating it silently, it may get louder or fainter. It may speed up or slow down. It may become jumbled or distorted. It may even vanish, However it changes, continue to repeat it innocently. Just as following your breath works to connect you to the present moment by disconnecting you from thoughts, silently repeating a mantra over and over and over and over accomplishes the same thing.
If you prefer to use an English mantra meditation, you can use the one popularized by the brilliant author and speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer – I Am. If you took a few minutes and just repeated, “I Am” over and over and over and over, you would experience the same destressifying benefits as any other meditation technique. Yes you will have thoughts (no thoughts means your dead…thoughts are okay); you will hear sounds, you will have physical sensations, you might experience deep stillness…and you might even fall asleep. But as soon as you realize you have drifted away from “I Am”, simply drift back to it and begin silently repeating it again.
Let’s try it now for a few minutes…
How do you feel? Does one technique resonate more than another?
The mantra technique that has worked for me for many years, and the one that I have taught most of my students over the past decade, is a technique based on the vibration the universe was making at the moment you passed from the unmanifest into the manifest and came into this world of form and phenomena.
I believe that using it on a daily basis has sharpened my clarity, provided tranquility, released my stresses, strengthened my understanding of existence, lessened my potential for anxiety, offered thousands of insights, exploded many of my limiting beliefs, expanded my capacity for compassion and forgiveness, profoundly connected me to source, and given me immeasurable gifts that I am unable to articulate.
This mantra-based meditation technique dates back thousands of years and incorporates primordial bija sounds—the very first sounds of nature, the earliest primal sounds of the planet, the most subtle sounds of the universe that existed at the dawn of creation, before there was industry, before electricity was harnessed, before there was language, before there was meaning.
Feel free to use any of these mantras, any you find online, and if you’d like to personalize your practice, consider attending one of my workshops, retreats, or teacher trainings.
Learn more about the Secret of Mantra Meditation in my book the Secrets of Meditation.