Chanting Japa – Mantra Meditation
Benefits of Mantra Meditation
When one is out and about in daily life, things tempt to knock one off balance emotionally, which can lead to one getting angry and stressed and developing negative sentiments towards other people. Such sentiments and emotions are not healthy for one’s body, mind, or spirit. They cloud the mind, pushing one into unproductive mental circles of negative thinking. They cause tension in the body, which leads to disease. They degrade the quality of one’s consciousness, work, service, and life.
Developing an inner calmness and maintaining it helps one develop and maintain good physical, mental , and spiritual health. It enhances the quality of one’s work, service, and life. Experiences happen in life to knock one off balance…it’s part of living. The test is to maintain balance throughout such experiences, so you can maintain the quality of your consciousness, work, service, and life.
It does take discipline. It is a challenge for us all. Mantra meditation is a tool to focus the mind. Focusing the mind can help one to develop calmness and clarity in life. For what causes and maintains disquiet, if not letting one’s mind dwell in negative thoughts about the experience that triggered ones disquiet. And what causes and maintains a cloudy mind, if not letting one’s mind dwell in the very thoughts that cloud it.
The ability to focus the mind helps one to bring disquiet to quiet, and to clear the cloudiness to reach a clarity in one’s consciousness. This helps one maintain the quality of one’s consciousness, work, service, and life.
Hare Krishna devotees do mantra meditation by chanting japa. The purpose is to develop the consciousness into “Krishna Consciousness”. The Hare Krishna way of Mantra meditation is to chant the Maha Mantra…the famous one that goes like this:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Devotees chant this mantra on Tulsi Mala, a.k.a. Japa Beads. These Japa Mala have 108 beads in a loop, plus one big bead which represents Krishna.
One starts on the smaller of the 2 beads next to the Krishna bead, holding it with the thumb and the middle finger, and chants the mantra, while rolling the bead with those fingers. After finishing the mantra, one proceeds to the next bead, opposite the Krishna bead, and chants the mantra on that one, then goes around the circle of beads as such to finish a ‘round’. It is recommended to chant 16 rounds like this each day.
The way to chant is with attention and focus, to listen carefully to the sound vibration. Notice how it sounds. You don’t need to analyze it with the intellectual mind, as that is counter-productive. All you need to do is listen and feel the sound vibration and you can go deeper and deeper into it. You can notice other things as well…the feeling of the beads, your breathing, perhaps the smell of the incense or flowers, the sights, feelings, and sensations in the area. Again, no need to analyze these things with the intellectual mind. Just notice things, while keeping the mind focused on the mantra.
Silencing the chatter of the intellectual mind like this allows one to develop deeper understanding and realizations about many aspects of life.
For portability, the beads are held in a japa bead bag, which has a hole that is big enough for one to slip their hand in while holding the beads.
This enables one to go on Japa walks. In the woods, around the block, or to the park, Japa walks make for a nice walking meditation.
So whether you walk, sit or stand, chanting Japa as a mantra meditation can help you develop peace of mind, calmness, and clarity…a state of focus and awareness which you can carry with you throughout life.
The best of health and true happiness to you and your loved ones in your lives. May you grow ever closer to Krishna.