Focus on Meditation, Using a Mantra

This is week 7 of a progressive blog. Join us each week as we create our meditation practice.          
              What is a mantra? According to dictionary.com it is any sacred word or syllable used as an object of concentration and embodying some aspect of spiritual power. Nice! How can this help in mediation? Simple. Using a Mantra keeps the conscious mind busy so that the subconscious can do it’s job and communicate with the soul. The choice of the Mantra you use invokes the power of a specific intention. It is like a wish or prayer and we all know -be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!
             The Mantra I used while I was healing from Multiple Sclerosis was “Heal my body, my spirit, my mind.” When I first chose my Mantra I didn’t understand that it had any power, I thought of it only as words. As I sat to create it, I thought what am I trying to accomplish with my meditation? For me, it was to get better, to be healed. I started with the word heal. What did I want to heal? I was in a lot of pain, my legs hurt so much it was difficult to sleep– I asked to heal my body. But what about the deep depression caused by the chronic pain, I should ask to heal that too, shouldn’t I? I added heal my mind. Then there was the constant confusion and frustration that I couldn’t even put into words? That must be spirit! This is how my Mantra heal my body, my spirit, my mind was born. Later I found out that this was actually a common Mantra. I realized that what I thought was just a process of picking words was actually the inspired beginning of my personal adventure.
              In conjunction with my Mantra I used the foundation basics of Progressive Relaxation, Diaphragmatic Breath, and release of Monkey Mind. I did this 1/2 hour twice a day. The reason for this dedication was the severity of my illness. There was a lot of work to be done if I was going to change from being in bed 18 hours a day, barely able to speak, unable to walk more than 15 minutes at a time, I had to be committed to my cause. The enlightened individual only needs about 30-40 minutes of mediation a day to maintain an amazing adventure, and only 10 minutes a day to maintain personal balance (once achieved).
              Your choice of a Mantra can be a phrase, expression, idea, or a group of words that are repeated to keep the conscious mind focused on a single thing. The idea is that if the mind is focused it will not wander. This is a good way to start, over time you will want to let go of the meaning of your words, the pronunciation of the words, the thought of your words, and just let the rhythm take you to a place of relaxation and release. The reason for this is if you stay focused on the Mantra it is the same as having a thought.

Questions and Answers:

What is this weeks practice? Practice Progressive Relaxation Diaphragmatic Breath while reducing the distractions of your conscious mind 1-5 minutes three times a day (or 5 minutes twice a day). If it is enjoyable for you add a Mantra to help with the flow and concentration of your meditation. Do not become dependent on a Mantra, be sure to meditate with and without the use of a Mantra.

Is there more to creating a meditation foundation? No. We completed the foundation steps during weeks 2-5. Everything else is simply helping you to “tighten up” your practice, build confidence, and explore your possibilities.

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