Q: I find mantra practice challenging. When I do it with pranayama, it’s much easier. If I meditate without a mantra I can go right to that quiet place. Am I doing something wrong?
A: Many students often allow mantra to get in the way of meditation. I suggest that you first find that place of stillness and non-disturbance you can arrive at without the mantra. Settle into that quiet place. Hold the awareness of it, then begin to remember the mantra. The mantra should not overshadow the quiet place and the quiet place should not completely overshadow the sacred sound you have been given. When you feel that you can sustain both (the meditative state and remembrance if the mantra) slowly begin to pick up your Jappa–repetition of the mantra. The two–awareness and mantra–can then merge. First become anchored in stillness and then quietly allow the mantra to fill body, mind, and soul.
Q: I notice my mind either active or restless when I am going through the mantra. I find that I get caught up trying to understand the mantra intellectually. ie. what is the success, the victory, the auspiciousness referring to? What am i meaning, what am i intending through these terms/definitions?
A: The short answer is that transformation in mantra practice occurs not so much because we understand it intellectually as our level of faith. Surrender, not intellect, is the bridge to the soul. One thing to consider is if you repeat the mantra too slowly or infrequently, the mind wanders aimlessly. If you do it too fast, it speeds up and activates the mind. Find the middle ground.
Arrive at a certain level of stillness, quietly open your heart, then just allow the word(s) to speak to your heart. It needn’t be anymore than that.
Q: I am starting to hear my Mantra throughout the day. Is this okay?
A: Once you’re practicing any mantra enough, then you’ll continue to hear it all the time. Do not hesitate to allow it to reverberate through your consciousness at any and all times.
Q: I am so happy to have received a mantra and be part of a lineage. Maybe I am over-excited or trying too much. It’s been only a week but I don’t feel connected to it yet.
A: Just do it work with innocence, openness, and a sense of longing to know the nature and the power of your mantra. Its presence will unfold perfectly.
Q: Can you tell me the definition of the Mantra?
A: Since the mantra I gave you is a Bija mantra, which means “seed”, it doesn’t actually have a meaning. More to the point, a Bija mantra awakens certain characteristics, giving us access to certain powers and potentials including healing, inspiration, and knowledge.
Q: The practice you gave me is starting to help. I feel more focused and personally stronger. But it seems like there should be more. Am I doing it right?
A: Mantra is an invocation of the supreme light. Mantra seats you in your true light. That light is the fire which is the force behind all change and evolution in the Universe––both internally and externally. I’m quite pleased that you feel a bit more focused and confident. Continue to honor yourself. As your focus increases, begin to make note of what elements of your self need nourishing and what elements you recognize you need to grow. The mantra will give you the clarity, the conviction, and the strength to make it possible. The most important thing is that the mantra now connects you to healing and empowerment, and helps you overcome any limitations from past issues and experience.
Q: When I do Jappa I find that I have to mouth the words if I don’t want to get completely bogged down in it. Is this right?
A: No, you do not have to mouth the words. Jappa becomes more and more a purely mental technique. The mind continues to get quieter and the body stiller so that the listening becomes more and more effortless and deep.