Beginning and seasoned meditators alike are bound to ask this question at some point in their practice. A method employed in many religious practices, the use of a mantra comes from the traditional custom of chanting sacred sounds or names as a way to establish a deeper relationship with the Divine. Today, mantras are not only found in certain meditation practices, but also in popular meditation music from artists like Deva Premal and Miten.
In this Intent post on mantra meditation, Ed and Deb Shapiro discuss the origins, use, and benefits of using a mantra during meditation. According to the Shapiros, while the meaning of the mantra is important, the purpose of a repetitive chant is to create harmony as a way to worship the sacred.
Mantra meditation is like spiritual food; it awakens your creative process and nourishes your spirit, while habitual or agitated thinking patterns are released. In the process you discover the silence behind the sound. It is like a broom that sweeps your mind free of clutter. What more could you want?
To practice mantra meditation, sit comfortably with your back straight. Take a few deep breaths and relax and settle your body. Then begin to repeat the mantra, either silently or intoning it out loud if you are alone. Repeat it in rhythm with your breathing. If you get distracted or drift off into thinking, just bring your mind back to the sound.
Read more about mantras and their importance in meditation here.