A mantra is the repetition of a phrase, word or syllable. The mantra is the focus of our meditation and the meditation itself. The mantra, its meaning, sound and resonance are at once an anchor for the mind and an invocation of a spiritual force, power or quality.
Let’s start with a simple mantra exercise: make a list of spiritual qualities you need in your life, for example: Peace, Love, Light, Joy, Compassion, Forgiveness, Wisdom, Patience, Determination. Include mono-syllabic and multi-syllabic words.
Take up your meditation station: sitting relaxed with your spine straight. Focus on your breathing for a few minutes, to calm the mind and bring your attention to a still point. Mantras can be practised either with the eyes open or closed.
Chant each word from your list aloud for a few minutes in turn. Each repetition of the word will fit exactly to one exhalation. Vary the length of the word and the breath according to your feeling, being sure not to strain or exert yourself beyond your capacity. Everything should be controlled and steady.
While chanting, focus all your being in the word, its production, its meaning and its resonance. Allow no other thoughts or distractions.
Feel that you are chanting not with your voice but from your heart centre, and feel the vibration of the word resonating from your heart throughout all your body, mind and the room around you. You are fully absorbed, immersed in the creation, vibration and sensation of each repetition.
According to your feeling, vary the pitch, volume and cadence for each word. For example, you may find “Peace” works better when chanted softly, slowly and at a lower pitch, whereas “Joy” might sound better at a louder volume and a higher tone.