Background: These last few practices have been rooted in the experience that changes in my breath are not caused by “me” (whatever it is that I am!) Rather, it is the universe breathing in me.
There are some who believe that there is something sacred in the precise words chosen for the mantra. This has not been my experience. Part of the vision of The Faith-ing Project is that you might fall in love with a certain practice and then go to the source and context of that practice, though. If the idea that there is something sacred inherent to the sounds chosen for a mantra resonates with you, I wish you peace as you explore that possibility.
The value I see in a Mantra is in the constant repetition of a word and phrase. One thing that happens here is that the words come to individually seem suspect. Do they mean anything at all? After saying them over and over again, it feels as though they individually have no meaning. And yet, the meaning is still there. It seems to become bigger than the individual words. This can feel like a metaphor for the nature of the universe itself, this wearing down of the boundaries between all things.
- Find a comfortable position. If you can, sit straight. Place your palms upward, in a receptive gesture.
- Breathe deeply three times.
- With the next exhale, begin your mantra. Say it repeatedly.
- With the inhale, continue thinking the mantra.
- Fall into a rhythm if you can. Chanting can be very powerful.
- When you are ready, open yourself to the possibility that this breath is not your breath. It is the universe breathing in you. It is the universe breathing you.
- Continue this for a while, chanting your mantra, holding the possibility that the universe is breathing within you.
- When you are ready, try on the possibility that the mantra is not your mantra. It is not you saying it. The mantra is the universe speaking its truth in you.
- Maintain this for a while: chant the mantra. The words and the breath are not you or yours. You are the universe’s instrument.
- When you are ready, on the inhale, hear the mantra still being said. This is a goal for mantra-based meditation. To see the speaking of the words as just taking up a mantra that is already in the air.
- Release the mantra and sit in a time of worldess union.
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