Those of you seeking to begin a meditation practice may become confused over the various types of meditation as well as the inevitable inertia against beginning one. I have written about the mindfulness meditation which centers on an attention and awareness of the breath while allowing thoughts and feelings to flow in and out of our consciousness. It is a powerful form of meditation but for some individuals, the mantra type may be easier. [Of course there is no reason why various types cannot be tried.]
Most are aware that the mantra is a word or phrase which is repeated over and over. It can literally be any word or phrase but it seems to me that those with some underlying significance or meaning add a deeper dimension to the experience itself.
Traditional Eastern practices utilize the sound OM or AUM depending on how it is spelled. I find that the mantra SHALOM is particularly powerful. It incorporates two primal sounds, the AH sound which is a univeral human utterance. It forms the basis of almost every language’s version of ‘Mom’ or Mother. The OM sound forms the second syllable of SHALOM.
It can be broken into two syllables with the SHA sound pronounced silently on the in-breath and the OM sound on the out-breath.
As with any attempt at meditation, it will become painfully obvious how quickly our minds wander away from an awareness of the inner sounds and into a variety of thoughts/feelings. This is what is known as the ‘monkey chatter’ of ordinary mental activity and is exactly the reason why meditation is so important–to begin to train our minds as many do their bodies.
When the inevitable thoughts/feelings slip into our awareness, we gently guide our attention back to the sounds of SHA–LOM.
Of course what I find particularly significant about this meditation is the meaning of SHALOM–namely the Hebrew word for PEACE. This is, therefore, a prayer for peace, both on a global level and, most importantly, on a personal level. Personal peace, equanmity, and a sense of calm is a goal rarely obtained but clearly worth seeking.
It essentially fulfills a major definition of happiness. And it is clearly a state of mind which promotes healing. The lack of peace or ease is clearly noted in the word dis-ease with its obvious meaning.
So consider practicing this mantra not only during specific times set aside for meditation, but throughout the day. It can be easily retrieved during times of driving in the car, walking, exercising or just relaxing. This meditation can clearly relax the individual to the point of falling asleep. If this happens, just be aware that it is not the stated goal of meditation which is to achieve and maintain a heightened state of awareness.
Just try it and enjoy the experience.