Mantras for Meditation - Music For Healing and Soothing
Mantras can stimulate the emotions, calm the soul, and inspire the mind. Mantras affect both the people who hear them, and the person who chants them. Similarly, music can be very helpful to relax, inspire and heal, both through inspiring words and the effect of the sounds and rhythms on your emotions. Both mantras and music share repetition and patterns of sounds.
The word 'mantra' itself originates from the Sanskrit word "mantrana", which literally means a suggestion or gesture. In some ways, every word is an effective mantra, or it could be. During the day we use words for various purposes to get things done, communicate and get the things we need. Each mantra word or phrase as a particular sound pattern that paints a picture in the mind related to the meanings built into it, and the mind immediately reacts to 'sing along' and be inspired by the sounds.
According to Ramana Maharshi, repeating mantras, while focusing your attention on the source of the sound and your breathing, wholly absorbs the mind.
The source is not confined to the vocal chords themselves, but also the seed the sound inspires in the mind.
So the practice of repeating mantras is much more than inspiring a suggestion, a kernel of advice or creating a simple idea. Fundamentally, is a way of getting in touch with and engaging our inner selves.
Examples of Mantra
Below are descriptions of some mantras from the customary Indian religious tradition.
All these mantras are very straightforward to speak and are very effective, but remember that you attitude and understanding of the words are also very important.
Om Namah Shivaya
This mantra is well known as the great redeeming mantra and also as the five-syllable mantra.The meaning of the mantra is "I bow to Shiva." Shiva is the sovereign truth, your inner Self - the title granted to consciousness that resides in all of us. Shiva is the title of your true identity - your self. 'Om Namah Shivay' is a very mighty mantra. To replicate this mantra you require no rituals or observance, neither should you replicate it at an auspicious time or in a specific place. This mantra is free of all restrictions. It can be chanted by any individual, juvenile or older person, wealthy or poor. No matter what state the individual is in, repeating this mantra will purify him or her.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krislma, Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
'Hare Krishna' is the mantra which is well known to a large number of western rock stars and personalities due to the work of His Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad in spreading knowledge about it world wide. George Harrison, a member of the Beatles rock group, dedicated his whole life in spreading the knowledge about this mantra.
"A mantra is mystical energy encased in a sound structure and each mantra contains within its vibrations a certain power. But of all mantras, the malia-mantra (the Hare Krishna mantra) has been prescribed as the easiest and surest way for attaining God Realization in this present age." George Harrison (1943-2001), in his autobiography: 'I, Me and Mine'.
It has been said a person repeating this mantra regularly, with belief and devotion, can attain salvation and have their mind become still and calm.
OM or AUM
This is the most significant and important phrase of Mantra tradition. It is regarded as the origin and inspiration for all other mantra. In a most of Mantra, you will find OM. It is the most often chanted sound amidst all the sacred noise on earth. This sound is advised as the sound of the existence. It is accepted that the entire cosmos, in its basic form, is made up of vibrating, pulsating energy. Om is advised as the humming sound of this cosmic energy.
OM is the sound which is not the outcome of the hitting of two objects. It, rather emanates on its own. It is the primal sound of the cosmos that comprises all noise in itself.
The natural mantra (pronounced as So' Hum') This mantra chants itself in all of us!
So'ham is the natural inherent mantra. Most mantra need to be repeated by the mediator. This mantra does not need this because it is relentlessly repeating itself in all of us. This mantra is So'ham - the natural mantra of your inner self. It is not owned by any belief or religion in the West or the East. So'ham is implicit within everyone; it recreates itself constantly, linked with our breathing. It is said that while this mantra resounds within, there will life in the body. To learn about the essence of So'ham you only need to examine your breathing process. When breathing we draw breath and exhale it. If you simply study your breathing, you will find that as the air moves out and comes in again, it makes two sound syllables. The air passes out with the sound ' So' and comes back in with the sound 'ham'.
The Power of Music
Whatever kind of music you like, you can find music a relaxing way of calming your mind that is akin to mediation. Many people like to listen to music when working out in a gym, doing exercises at home or when jogging or riding a bike. The music becomes part of the relaxation and enhances the benefit you get from exercising. Others enjoy listening to music while preparing meals or while working on a computer or driving a car.
So whether you enjoy meditating using a mantra or playing music to relax you will be tapping into a fundamental mode of using sound repetitions to inspire and relax you.
Sound and music can be powerful tools in the healing process. They can be utilized as medicine in some cases, but in all situations they can certainly be used as a pleasant adjunct to any form of medical treatment.
History has shown that music is therapeutic. In ancient Greece, the god of medicine - Apollo was also the god of music. Ancient Grecians regarded music is an art permeated with power to infiltrate into the depths of the soul. In the Bible, Saul was healed by David's harp.
Sound, in the form of chant, music, tone, and natural sounds is increasingly being used for health care in areas such as general health, improving vitality, palliative and hospice care, for treatment of many behavioral and psychological conditions, and especially for controlling stress.
Many people claim that there is a direct link between a person's attitudes, thoughts, emotions and perceptions and the overall health of the immune system, which depends on keeping the mind and body calm and receptive.
"... the essence of non-obstructed, indivisible, flowing movement of the self's internal harmony transcribed into the external world. When the internal and external are at odds with each other--dissonant--the result is disease or a break in harmony. In tonal music the appreciator sought the fundamental in the music as a metaphor of spiritual unity, the ending of a journey. In new music one seeks the fundamental in one's self; the return to the fundamental is anywhere, anytime, and any direction, because the fundamental is everywhere and here." David Bohm, in his book 'Wholeness and the Implicate Order'.
© 2011 Dr. John Anderson
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