For any practice to truly be transformative it has to awaken the heart; not simply the emotional heart but the deep heart that IS love, peace and joy itself. There are few things as direct and powerful as mantra to help us relax out of ego mind, enter into the non-linear dimensions of grace and be spiritually rejuvenated.
Sanskrit mantras in particular are very powerful. Rishis throughout the ages discovered that certain sounds exert specific effects on the subtle body, through tuning the spokes of the chakras. Further, there is a Sufi saying, that “intoning any name of God is like pouring your consciousness through a fine mesh cloth – removing the impurities.”
Thus chanting a mantra or working with it in meditation will bring about helpful effects, refining of your consciousness and expanding your access to various essential qualities, depending on the mantra. Furthermore, intoning a mantra connects you to the devotion of everyone who has ever dissolved in that mantra. Not only does this significantly amplify your practice, your prayers become part of a continuing stream of grace beyond your own efforts.
Wherever you find yourself on the path, and indeed on any given day, working with a mantra can help you. In difficult times it can serve to cut through a dense wave of judgment, to change the channel from unwholesome habits. It can uplift your spirits and re-connect you with the boundless love, peace and joy of your deepest nature. Ultimately, there is something natural and deeply pleasurable about focusing your attention on a holy name, and feeling sound and vibration awaken your remembrance of unity.
Intoning any mantra or prayer with sincerity does not have to be “subject-object”. It still has an important place even as we open into non-duality. Devotion is not limited to a “separate self” speaking to a “God” or deity. Rather, it is a way to turn more substantially into pure Being and marinade in the sound and vibration of holiness. Mantra keeps you spiritually hydrated and energized.
Ultimately, whenever you turn into any mantra with sincerity, you are entering a living stream of Grace – dissolving to feel yourself as part of all that. This takes us beyond what the linear mind can dissect, into realms of refinement and possibility that truly nourish.
Singing or listening to mantra is a beautiful way to pray: not necessarily by asking for this or that to happen, but as a way to turn deeper into your heart’s purest intentions and longings, and give yourself back to the Source of your being. As you work with a mantra, it naturally welcomes your deepest prayers for yourself, and for our world. All can dissolve into the silence before the sound.
Recorded in the spring of 2013 in Holland with friends from the Venwoude Institute where Miranda leads retreats bi-annually. Sometimes ordinary language cannot accurately express the deepest dimensions of our being – the love for the sacred mystery that is our deepest heart.