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Sunday, April 13 2014

Mantra Re-Visited


       It’s not unusual for me to have a second thought about something I send out.  Often it’s a clarification or an additional point I wish I’d made – or an aesthetic turn of phrase I wish I’d used.  Typically, after some regret, I let go.


       This morning I awoke with three substantive points I’d like to add about mantra practice.  And I decided, in this case, to act.



       Mantra as first aid:  When I notice that I’m caught up in swirl of suffering stories that evoke fear, shame or resentment, I congratulate the awareness, breathe compassion to my suffering, and use a mantra to re-orient the mind.  I stay with the mantra as long as needed; then move on with my day. 


       Note: the mantra helps us disengage from negative thinking.  Generally, this is not the time to debate with our negative patterns.



       Mantra as formal practice:  When I use a mantra as an aid in formal meditation, I may begin by saying (or singing) it aloud or at a moderate-to-high internal volume, to match or slightly exceed the level of chatter in the mind.  I give myself a clear invitation to attend to the mantra. 


       As the practice unfolds, I allow the mantra to grow gradually quieter.  This helps me move toward the deeper quiet of inner spaciousness.  There are times when the mantra goes silent, mirroring a silence inside.  Inevitably, I pick up a distraction, and, when I notice the distraction, I begin with the mantra again at a level that slightly exceeds the level of the distraction.  Then, I move again toward the quiet.


       Please check out the Richard Moss videos, referenced yesterday, for an excellent tutorial on using mantra in formal practice.



       Mantra and engagement with life:  Mantras are tools – used as needed – to help us disengage from negative narratives that create suffering, so that we can re-engage with life with an open heart and a spacious, creative mind.  Mantras are not meant for permanent refuge or escape from life.  The goal, always, is to be fully present – right here, right now, embodied.



May we be happy.

May we be well.

May we be at peace.

May we be fully alive.






Posted by: AT 11:51 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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