Basic "Non-Expectation" Meditation

Week 3 Mantra, or 'Prayer of the heart'. Walking meditation. The obstacles of aversion, attachment, denial, habitual
tendencies, feeling stuck, scaring ourselves.
 

Mantra, or a "Prayer of the Heart"

In some traditions, the student is given a specific incantation of Mantra (or sacred syllable) when they are initiated by an
enlightened Guru. Be aware that some people hold the concept far more dearly than do others.

In its original sense, a "Mantra" is a composed verse in the Sanskrit Language, mostly in two lines with specific information for invocation of divine powers, Mantra is defined as a 'Man tarati san Mantrah' "which uplifts and protects one is the Sacred  Syllable". In an other sense, it is a combination of letters and  sounds, or an arrangement of words with specific spiritual potentialities. These potentialities unfold themselves in the physical body as a result of awakening the power centers in the body because of the sound waves released by the repetition of the letters of the Mantra. The real power of Mantra lies hidden, and is in the form of syllables which is awakened by uttering the Mantra repeatedly.

Neither of these is specifically the sense in which we will be examining Mantras here.

A mantra is a phrase, sentence or paragraph that you repeat, either vocally or in your mind, to serve as a focus for your editiation. When using a Mantra, it is helpful to coordinate the syllables with your breathing. It is not necessary for a mantra to have any particular meaning to serve as a focus, but you may find it more effective to find a passage that is meaningful or soothing to you, one that reassures and calms you; or that has the added power of ritual and tradition of having been used for centuries by countless of others who have preceeded you. Some will use a quotation from a famous person whom they respect. Others choose a favorite religious passage. It doesn't matter what phrase you choose. As you say your mantra over to yourself, it becomes like a favorite old pair of pants, soothing and comfortable.

It is best to select one mantra, perhaps after some experimentation, and to stick with it. Traditionally, mantras using Divine Names are very powerful. The use of beads or a knotted cord, along with a mantra, gives you the added benefit of occupying your hands.

Take your time when you set out to choose a mantra for yourself.  After you have chosen one, say it to yourself during times of calm and relaxation. If you do relaxation exercises, remember to repeat your mantra a few times when most relaxed. This will help your body to associate serenity with the sound of the mantra in your mind. It becomes a cue for your body to relax whenever you think it over in your mind.

There are many reasons why a mantra is a useful aid. It is very portable. A mantra is always with you. You will never forget it at home. When you find yourself caught up in the business of the day,  your mantra reminds you of the calmness and serenity that occur during quiet times of relaxation.

During times of stress or anxiety, a mantra provides a focus for your inner attention. Many find that they can ride out fear, panic, anxiety and other disturbing emotional states by repeating their mantra over continuously in their mind. It helps you maintain your presence of mind. This reassures you that there is a part of you that is not overwhelmed by emotion. You and your mantra sit in the center of the panic, like the calm eye in the center of a cyclone, an anchor to hold to in a storm. This will enhance your ability to tolerate stressful times.

Some Mantras that have been used:
 

  1. Om/AUM

  2. Meaning: (Sanskrit) Aum is the basic mantra of all Sanskrit mantras. It refers to A(jagrat), U(swapna), and M(sushupti). The three regions refer to the three planes of existence, physical, astral and casual. A trancendental sound used in the beginning of every Vedic hymn. The silence which follows each utterance of Aum suggests the state of Absolute being, or Brahman, which is the source and end of  everything. Used as an orison, the Om purportedly decreases one's material desires.
  3. Om mani peme hung/Aum mani padme hum. Meaning: "O, The Jewel in the Lotus."
  4. Om namo bhagavate Vasudeva Meaning: "I pay my respects to the supreme truth (God/oversoul/supersoul/superconsciousness)."
  5. Om tat sat  Meaning: "Absolute, eternal, truth."
  6. Govinda jaya jaya Gopala jaya Jaya Meaning: "I offer praise to Govinda Gopala, the embodiment of truth giving pleasure and protection to all living beings."
  7. Jaya Radha Madhava Kunjabirari Meaning: "Glorification of the Supreme Loving Reciprocation of spritual Oneness in Diversity."
  8. Jiv jago, jiv jago Meaning: "Wake up sleeping souls. Wake up sleeping souls."
  9. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Meaning: O Lord, O supreme truth I want to know you. I want to be with you.
  10. Jaya Radha Shyama. Jaya Radhe Meaning: A plea to the Lord and the feminine energy of the Lord.
  11. Rama, Rama, Rama Meaning: When pitched properly, this mantra is useful in erecting protective shields.
  12. Eng, Em, Enga, Ema, Aing, Aim, Ainga, Aima (essentially the same bija mantra) Aim Aim Aim

  13. Meaning: (TM) The name of Saraswati, Devi of learning, music, speech, the fine arts
  14. Shiring, Shirim Shreem S'rim S'rim

  15. Meaning: (TM) The name of Mahalakshmi or Lakshmi, Devi of wealth
  16. Hiring, Hirim, Hreem Hrim Hrim

  17. Meaning: (TM) The name of Bhuvanesvari, Mahamaya
  18. Kiring, Kirim Kreem Krim Krim

  19. Meaning: (TM) The name of Devi Kalika
  20. Shyam, Shyam

  21. Meaning: (TM) The name of Shiva
  22. Ram, Shriram (Ram plus Shri) Ram Ram Ram Meaning: (TM) The name of Agni, Deva of Fire
  23. The "Jesus Prayer" Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us
  24. "Ave Maria"/Hail Mary
    Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
    Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the
    Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners
    Now and at the hour of our death. Amen
  25. A Wiccan or Pagan "Hail Mary"
  26. Hail Goddess, grant me the vision to see beyond the illusions of this world
    grant me the ears to hear beyond the words to the true meaning
    and grant me a voice in which I can speak truth and compassion in your name. So Mote it be.
  27. Paternoster/Lord's Prayer.
    Our Father,
    Who art in Heaven; hallowed be Thy name
    Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. 
    Give us this day our daily bread; and 
    forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,
    and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
    [For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, Forever and ever.] Amen.
  28. Kyrie eleison
    Meaning: (Greek) "Lord, be favorable"/"Lord be Merciful"
  29. Bene Gesseret Fear Rite (from Dune)
    I will not fear.
    Fear is the mind killer.
    Fear is the little death that brings total oblitheration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will allow my fear to pass over me and through me.
    When it has passed, I will turn my Inner Eye to see its path,
    Where it has passed there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.
  30. A single word such as "Peace", "Love", "Holy", "One"

Walking Meditation

Walk slowly and mindfully (aware of every aspect of what you are doing) from one end of the room to the next. Pause briefly,
facing the wall. Turn around mindfully, and repeat. The focus of the meditation is with the movement itself. Placing the concentration in the soles of the feet often helps. Give your full attention to the actual walking. This is an excellent way of breaking up long sittings without losing mindfullness.

Some like to coordinate this walking with their breathing, while others find it needlessly complicated. Follow the proceedure for non-expectation meditation in working skillfully with thoughts.

Obstacles

Working with obstacles is part of the package regarding any spiritual practice. The obstacles of Aversion, Attachment, Habitual Tendancies, Feeling Stuck, and Feeling Fearful usually arise out of our desires for results -- desires that are normal human desires and laziness, but which have been reinforced by our culture's teaching us that the answer CAN be found in the resolution of every half-hour sitcom. We want to avoid work, avoid unpleasant truths, avoid pain. We are attached to those things that feed our egos, and the lies we tell ourselves every day. We have bad habits, many of which are rooted in our egos and images we create of ourselves. The remedy to all of this is  simply to relinquish our goals.

The "Catch-22" of enlightenment in any form is that if you want it, you'll never reach it. But unless you work for it, you'll never reach it either. The "Zen" traditions call Meditation the Goal-less goal -- a paradox worth pondering deeply.

Aversions and attachments arise from our insistance on cultivating judgment. Habit reliably yields to discipline, and the consistant discipline of meditation will eventually loosen the most tenacious habitual behavior, like running water eroding stone.

Fear is the perhaps the greatest challenge to us, and many people avoid meditating because it soon becomes clear that it will  give us a better view of our interior depths, and many people are afraid of what they will find within.

The only way to overcome that fear is to face down that which frightens you (and is the real essence of the Law of Dominance and Submission). However, you can not do it all at once. You must learn Compassion -- compassion most of all for yourself. Give yourself permission to move slowly. Affirm the nature of your own internal wisdom. Do not push beyond your own deepest consent (since if you do, you can do yourself more harm than good, in the long run). Cultivate your courage and humor and remember that "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." The reality of Liberation, of dominating the fear and learning to set it aside, is often the most effective antidote to a fearful mind's state.