There are written a lot of articles about mantras, and when people hear the word “Mantra” a lot of them automatically think of mantras like “AUM”/“OM”, “Om Saha Naavavatu” or “Om Namah Shivaya”, “Om mani padme hum” etc., and this is correct, these are old mantras that has been learned for centuries within yoga/meditation and which are by some linguists considered to be the “perfect language”, as its correct pronunciation is said to evoke a special vibration in the Universe and in the human body. It is also said that by pronouncing them you are placing into motion whatever you are trying to manifest through your mantra. I also use mantras like the above mention based on what kind of meditation I perform. But does a mantra only have to be like these old Sanskrit/Hindu words?
From my experience with teaching/guiding meditation I have learned that it can often be a difficulty with these mantras for those who are new to meditation. Meditation in our society is very far from what else we do in the daily life, where everything normally is about communication, action and interaction, and suddenly you need to concentrate on yourself and your inner. For those who are beginners in meditation there are some things you need to do and think about as you don’t do in everyday life; you need to sit in a position that you might never sit normally, you often have to breath in a special way and you at the same need to let go of all thoughts! What's more difficult than NOT thinking about something when your told you can’t do it… For someone this leads to the point that they get a lot of thoughts in their mind about everything and nothing, and it’s easy to get frustrated when the feeling of not be able to let go come in to your mind. When you as a beginner in meditation have all these thoughts in your mind you can easy get more stressed than relaxed.
"Never underestimate the healing power of a long, deep breath. Not only does it create inner calm, it gives you space to acknowledge and appreciate that this breath is not your last one."
It is in such situations I prefer to use a mantra that we normally not think of as a mantra; “breath in/breath out”, even if it is usual in Breath Meditation, which was one of Buddha’s favourite exercises for mindful breathing and still is of great importance in Buddhism and yoga/meditation. Buddha shall even have said; “That (breathing) is the only way to enlightenment.”
When you only listen to the instructor repeating “breath in and breath out” you not only have a “logical” mantra to concentrate on, but you also get help to breath in the right tempo that is required of the specific meditation you perform. This is also a nice way of setting some intentions like; “Breath in Love, happiness/Breath out stress, fear”.
“Breath in/breath out” is a mantra in the same way as other mantras, and if you have never tried this before, I recommend you doing this next time you would like to perform a meditation. When you master this technique you can go further and experience other mantras you may like.
Heidi Faugli Feurer
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