“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.” ~ Voltaire
Every day millions of people throughout the world use meditation to move beyond mental and emotional turbulence into profound peace and expanded awareness. There are many ways to meditate, including observing the breath, mindfulness practices, guided visualizations, body awareness, movement meditations, and countless other techniques.
Almost every meditation practice will bring you greater peace and relaxation, so if that is your primary aim, then a simple breath awareness technique is fine. If you want a meditation practice that will allow you to experience your core Self – the timeless, formless field of all possibilities – then you need a practice that can take you beyond the mind and into the space of pure awareness. For that, traditionally what is needed is a mantra-based meditation, such as Primordial Sound Meditation.
A mantra is a subtle sound or vibration that you repeat silently to yourself during meditation. The word mantra has two parts: man, which is the root of the Sanskrit word for mind; and tra, which is the root of the word for instrument. A mantra is therefore an instrument of the mind that takes you into a deep state of meditation. As you silently repeat a mantra, you dive below the roiling surface of the mind, which is always preoccupied with thoughts, memories, and desires, into a place of pure consciousness.
The Power of Mantras
Sanskrit mantras are sounds that have no particular meaning, which prevents the mind from getting caught up in telling itself a story about the meaning of the mantra. For example, if you used the English word peace as a mantra, your mind would bring the lifetime of associations it has created around that word. Instead of drifting into a state of pure awareness, you might find yourself thinking about peace and spinning off into stories about how you might have more of it if the neighbor’s dog would stop barking, if politicians would do what you wanted, and so on . . .
Sanskrit mantras have a subtle vibratory influence on the human awareness that is independent of any meaning or understanding of the word. As you repeat a mantra, it creates a mental vibration that allows the mind to enter the silent space between thoughts – that space of pure consciousness commonly called “the gap.” In the deepest meditative state, all thoughts and worries drop away and you experience the quiet that always exists beneath the noisy internal dialogue of the mind. In this stillness you may feel oneness with all life and profound peace.
Primordial Sound Mantras According to the Vedic tradition, the ancient sages were able to hear the subtle vibrations produced by everything in nature – the sounds of the wind, thunder, butterflies, rushing rivers and all other creations. They recognized that these sounds are the manifestation of spirit into matter. They identified Om (or aum) as the most elemental sound, representing the infinite universal consciousness.
The Vedic sages also identified approximately 100 primordial vibrations or mantras that make up the universe. Sometimes referred to as the bija or seed sounds, these mantras are at the core of the Primordial Sound Meditation practice taught at the Chopra Center. When you learn Primordial Sound Meditation, you receive a personal mantra based on the vibration the universe was creating at the moment of your birth. The mantra is calculated according to Vedic system that factors in your time and place of birth.
Why Meditation Instruction Is Valuable
There are some skills in life, which although easy to learn, require a teacher. In our experience at the Chopra Center, meditation is one of these. Just as you wouldn’t have a child watch a video or read a book to learn how to swim or ride a bike, the optimal way to learn meditation is through hands-on instruction and guided practice. We encourage you to receive instruction from a certified meditation instructor who can guide you step-by-step through the process. Then you will be confident that you are meditating in the most effective way.
The Chopra Center includes Primordial Sound Meditation instruction in every workshop and seminar we offer. Join us at Seduction of Spirit this August and receive your mantra to jump-start your dream life. In addition, you can learn Primordial Sound Meditation at the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California, where we teach a complete three-day course each week.
There are also Chopra Center–certified meditation teachers throughout the world offering individual instruction. To find one in your area, please check our website at www.teachers.chopra.com.