I've been meditating with a mantra everyday since 2010—with only a few breaks and exceptions here and there. I ask myself: Why have I stuck with this habit of twittering around with an internal sound, and how can I explain this addiction to readers who are unfamiliar or uninitiated with the art of meditating with a mantra?
Well, I think it may be helpful, or at the very least authentic, to provide some autobiographical context as to how I got into mantra meditation—or Deep Meditation, as it's called in the system of Advanced Yoga Practices (whose emblem I have tattooed on my solar plexus, incidentally).
A decade ago, I was going through a rough period and searching for answers. I realized I was going to have to look one place in particular, and that was: WITHIN. Yes, inside. Into the windows of the soul. Into the cathedral of consciousness. But to look within, I also had to look externally, and in my quest, I found a few people along the way who shared some mystical techniques with me. These mystical techniques, coupled with my intense yearning, brought about a peak experience that lit me up in a way that was transformative and lasting. After that peak experience, I was prompted to do even more research and questing, and that is when I discovered Advanced Yoga Practices (AYP) on the internet, and began practicing Deep Meditation on the regular.
Deep Meditation is nearly identical to Transcendental Meditation, with the main differences being: 1) Yogani, the anonymous creator of AYP, offers Deep Meditation for free on his website, whereas the TM organization requires a fee of several hundred dollars to cover a couple days of instruction; 2) Yogani offers a universal sequence of mantras, whereas TM gives the mantra privately to each student based on age and gender.
But both AYP and TM emphasize that the mantra is not to be focused upon or repeated in a rigid way, but in a way that allows the vibration to refine into stillness. This is a crucial point, and one that I have expanded upon even further in my own experimentation.
And that leads us to the crux of the matter, which is: I give myself permission to do whatever I like with the mantra. To stretch it out, to slow it down, to speed it up, to deconstruct it and rearrange it—just to name a few of the possibilities within the scope of the process. The point is: The mantra is malleable. Malleable as fuck. Not just in its ability to be molded as a sound, but in its vibratory ability to be absorbed by the other senses, including vision, touch, taste, smell, and other multi-sensory faculties.
And at times, the mantra does take on a life of its own, seemingly without any effort on my part at all. That is part of the magic for me, to oscillate between active and passive, effort and surrender, creating and witnessing. The dynamic makes me feel whole, and it illuminates layers in my mind hitherto unknown.
I am happy to be teaching Deep Meditation, in private sessions, and currently at Essential Balance on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM. At the end of this month, I will be teaching a fun workshop on Deep Meditation at The Green Shaman in Gulfport on Sunday, 3/31.
I hope you'll join me in giving this method a try, to see if refining and enlivening the mantra with your own inner voice can result in more peace, clarity, energy, and other scrumptious qualities.
Thank you for your consideration.