This time of the year is joyful, with the holidays coming up, but it can also feel hectic. People are excited but also stressed trying to get year-end stuff done, shop for gifts, and plan events, and oh, so many things. What if you had a simple 7-day mantra practice to keep your balance?
In my book, The Yoga of Sound, I develop four streams of sacred sound in the Indian spiritual tradition. We look at their historical development, and practical application as well. Here below, you get a summary of important points and a practice for this week:
FOR MORNING PRACTICE: A VEDIC MANTRA
Vedic Mantras are great for morning practice. What better way to wake up and know what you want? And with a sense of protection from the universe?
Vedic mantras are the original source of modern affirmations. But mantras goes much further and deeper than affirmations. They tap the deep substratum of being, of language itself.
For your daily morning practice, try the classic mantra from the Brihadāraṇyaka Upaniṣat, asking to be led from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality.
om asato mā sad-gamaya | tamaso mā jyotir-gamaya |
mṛtyor-mā amṛtam gamaya |om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ||
Here is my version from Shabda: Mantra Mysticism (The Relaxation Company)…
FOR MID-DAY OR AFTERNOON: TANTRIC MANTRA
Then there is the lesser known and grossly misinterpreted “Tantric” tradition. Mantras form a very important part of this method, which is to direct energy to its highest.
But what’s the use of knowing Tantric mantras if you don’t know how to use it to boost your energy at times of the day or periods in your life when you need it the most?
Effective mantra practice is not only about knowing mantras, but also know how to use them in the specific and practical circumstances of our everyday life.
Tantric mantras are a fantastic pick-me-up in the middle of the day, especially in the period following lunch when we may not have the enthusiasm of the morning.
This month, try OM GAM GAṆEṢĀYA NAMAḤ … Here, the seed syllable is “gam”, a Lord Ganeśa bīja. Repeat the bīja thrice for more energy! Here is audio to help:
FOR YOUR EVENING PRACTICE: A BHAKTI MANTRA
It is also important to know the “effects” of certain types of mantras and know when not to use them, especially because of the way life is configured for us in the west.
For instance, devotional mantras melt your heart. But is this how you would like to show up at work on a Monday morning? Or to a decisive meeting?
On the other hand, devotional mantras are perfect at the end of the day, to help let go of the day’s stress and sink into the deep love at the core of our being.
Devotional mantras can help us forgive others and ourselves and prepare us to engage lovingly with our family, friends, or help facilitate a contented evening by ourselves.
They are also great during the holidays …
My all-time favorite devotional mantra is: sri rāma jaya rāma jaya jaya rāma. Use it this month to bring light and joy into your life and into the world.
Here is my version from PM Yoga Chants (The Relaxation Company) …
Oh, and what about the fourth stream? This is “Nada”. It is not so much about mantra as it is about listening, and OM, and energy flow, and interior tuning, and pitch, and modulation of voice. Try listening with all of your being just before you go to sleep. That should do it!
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Have a centered December!