Welcome to day 12 of our Cookbook for a Sacred Life virtual course!
Today our topic is Mantra.
Every millisecond a new thought arises in our monkey mind, leading us in every direction. Each thought tries to seduce us into believing it, yet when we listen closely, we often find them contradictory, confusing, and even unhelpful.
This thought spiral can be exhausting, even though the mind is simply doing what it’s designed to do. So, in order to move beyond this mind-centric existence and find some peace, we need tools to help us get there.
Mantra can serve as the anchor that helps to steady the mind, bringing us into stillness beyond our ocean of thoughts.
What are the steps of the process of calming the mind? Think of a lake in whose depths lies hidden what you seek. You try to see down into the lake, but you can’t because the surface is covered with waves going in all directions…choppy water…thoughts coming from all directions…from your senses, from your memory…habits of thought you learned unconsciously, running off mechanically…the causes of which are too subtle for you analytic mind to grasp…
Now, create an artificial wave…consciously add a new component…choose a single thought…and consciously set about making that thought dominant…so that the continuous sequence of even waves all coming from one direction overrides all the choppy water, as an ocean wave absorbs all the eddying waters at the shoreline. Now each wave is the same thought over and over again…no other thought can capture your attention…
PROMPT: Today is about bringing Mantra into your practice. What was new to you are helpful in today’s reading and talk? Did you learn something new? Did it inspire you to start or continue a mantra practice? Any questions about starting or continuing a mantra practice?
Log into Teachable to access your day 12 teachings here: Day 12 - Mantra - March 27th | Ram Dass Courses
I’ve tried mantra practice but driften towards other tools of contemplation and concentration. It seems some of my hangups have resisted using mantras, yet I do have several mala bead necklaces with the hopes of someday expanding my repertoire. Chanting in english seems to help me better reflect on the object of intent, with ideas, images, thoughts, and feelings radiating out similar to insight meditation.
Recently I’ve been in the process of restoring a morning meditation practice after months of making excuses… I’m sure some can relate I keep coming back to the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” (“Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus”) - Ram Dass talks about it and it’s a well-known Tibetan Buddhist mantra that I’ve found extremely comforting and grounding over the years, and I’ve found it so helpful and centering when I’m meditating and my monkey mind wants to plan my trip to the gym, or re-hash the conversation I had with a friend the day before… there are also some really nice chants on YouTube of the mantra that I play sometimes even when I’m working or just walking around the house… it can bring a real sense of grounded equanimity to my life:
Today’s teaching is a great reminder for me to get back into mantra. I’ve gone through phases of reciting mantra daily for a month or so at a time and then it falls away to a few times a week, and then only comes to mind when I’m having trouble getting quiet before bed or while meditating.
“Om namah shivaya” is the one my mind jumps to most easily when I start craving a mantra.
I want to love “om mani padme hum” because I love the visual of the gem in the lotus but I get so caught up in my mind wondering if I’m pronouncing the “hum” correctly that it feels counterproductive. Anyone else experience that or have any tips for getting past a block like that?
Thank you for this reading/talk. They way Ram Dass described the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra resonated with me. Specifically the rounding of the mantra and the pronunciation of Hum. This gave me a physical sensation along with the sound. Trippy
My main experience with mantra is from being a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation. I used my TM beej mantra for many years, but have fallen away from meditation and also mantra since then.
This lesson today has inspired me to see if I can incorporate “Yeshua, Yeshua, Yeshua” into my days as an anchor for my consciousness.
I was very resistant to mantra for a long time… I guess I didn’t feel like I could make use of it in a way that felt authentic… until I heard Ram Dass share the Aditya Hridayam mantra. It moved me so much that I was excited to incorporate it into my practice. It honestly saved me from complete despair a time or two.
The last several months I have been working more within the Buddhist traditions, so perhaps this is an invitation to give Om Mani Padme Hum a try thank you @Rachael_LSRF for the beautiful recording
I love Mantra meditation. I was first introduced to the practice years ago in a 21 day program, which gave you a different one each day as part of an overall goal. In it, we were encouraged to repeat it silently to ourselves, for a period of time-10-15 minutes. It was a lovely way to learn to focus the mind, and to change the neural pathways of the brain as well. Since then I have also been introduced to some mantra using Mala beads, and to speak it out loud. There is a power in the spoken word that I don’t think is the same as when we’re only in our heads. Actually hearing the sound, thinking of the meaning of the words creates a different energy.
I think that with the use of Mantra, it’s kind of like, maybe exactly like a prayer, with the same intention and the same result. It is a means of focus and one-pointedness for our awareness. I highly recommend the practice. There are so many to choose from…
From the audio teaching/Day12 Mantra PDF:
“…it’s a way of tuning yourself to the Absolute through love, and through honor, and through…” (devotion, action, speech, intention, concentration, being, …)
“Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram”
“Sri = honorable, radiant”
“Ram = Absolute, God”
“Jai = acknowledge, hail”
“The concepts behind it aren’t what it’s about. It’s a feeling quality of an emotional opening and offering, and bringing God into your heart, bringing the Absolute into your heart.”
Being present with the Absolute,
may I use these gentle utterances and frequencies,
to open into being in greater resonance and oneness with the radiant Absolute nature of all existence.
I feel you Emily. I’ll open YouTube and type in my words/ pronunciations for vocal prompts to help me. Repeating it a couple times over and even after the fact, just practicing and if need be going back till it’s there. Ever so present you got this
Thank you Pamela
I use mantras every morning and I’ve been feeling ‘off’ by them (recently) and I believe it’s because I stopped saying them out loud.
I just did, when I read your post, and felt them come alive again.
I use mantras pretty often. Everyday, through the day. But I’ve been feeling sorta stuck on my morning mantras, the ones I say right when I wake up. I think it’s because I haven’t been saying them out loud.
After listening and participating in Ram Dass lecture from todays course and reading Pamela’s post, saying them out loud…I felt my insides like ‘come online’ again!
I don’t know why I got so shy about speaking them out loud. A question for my journal . Buttt I’m gonna try it, out loud, more often and see if that’ll keep me in spirit and not in my head.
Thanks for reading and as always team, thanks for sharing .
Mantra or chanting is my main spiritual practice. My parents and I do Transcendental Meditation, and then I also do chanting, usually along with Krishna Das songs. Its interesting how both are similar yet also somewhat different. I find both TM and chanting/mantra calms me, is soothing, makes me happy, and sometimes there is that wonderful moment, where I am totally one with the chant/mantra, where its just a flow state, in the zone. Since Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram, is a chant I often do, I decided to try a mantra from the ones Ram Dass suggested that I hadn’t tried before. I went with “Shalom”, and I enjoyed it! That quote by Lama Govinda spoke to me, that the mantra “cant be heard by the ears, but by the heart”, that feels true to me. I hadn’t heard that story about Ram Dass sleeping with the mala beads on his chest and waking up and chanting, then falling back to sleep. I’ve heard Krishna Das and others mention how Maharajji would have that “Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram” mantra going all the time, and all his journals would be filled with Sanskrit Ram Ram Ram filling every square inch of the journal. The idea of having the mantra going 24/7 in ones mind makes total sense and is such an interesting concept. And it makes sense that by doing this, you’d start to see everything as basically Bhakti Yoga, Holy beings all around you and in everything. Such a lovely practice!
So awesome Leila! Glad that was helpful…it really does change it all up doesn’t it?
I love chanting with a group, the power of the voices in unison is powerful! By myself I usually listen to Krishna Das and find myself engaged and dancing around my home.
Thank you, Leila! I will try that today
I really liked the part where Ram Dass says that we give our stuff to the akash, and it’s then available for the next person who needs it. I liked that visualization of it.
Today definitely inspired me to get a little more serious with my mantra practice I used to be more consistent and I noticed its effects, it’s a really beautiful practice. RamRam
I wanted to share this playlist on Spotify called “COSMIC MANTRAS.” I have hopefully successfully linked it here. I return to this often: beautiful songs incorporating many of the mantras mentioned in this lesson, as well as others. I first heard these songs when in a crystal shop on E 9th St in the East Village NYC, and I had to ask what their playlist was. It brings peace to my heart and heightens the vibration in the space
Hello beautiful people
I’m somewhat familiar with mantras… However, this mantras are new to me… I really resonated with Sri Ram jai Ram Jai Jai Ram .
My monkey mind can be quite distracting… I will %start chanting this mantra throughout my day… Just recently I been chanting the mantra Hare Hare Krishna and when I do I do feel a sense of peace…
I’m looking forward to connecting with the vibration of these mantras…