As readers of this blog know, I recommend an effortless mantra meditation rather than one using concentration or similar. This is because a mantra is a sound with known effects. If we try to use the mind to manipulate it, we’ll stay in the mind. If we try to use the mind to control the mind, we’ll struggle. But if we let the mantra go where it will, it will naturally settle into deeper layers of the mind. This causes the body to become more restful than deep sleep. It then takes the opportunity to purify which increases physiological activity, bringing us back to other thoughts. And the cycle repeats.
As we cycle through this process, the mantra will occasionally take us down to the depths of the mind, where we transcend the mantra and thought altogether and experience pure consciousness, awareness without content. All this without trying to control anything.
The experience of pure consciousness is known as samadhi in Sanskrit. Extensive research has demonstrated that such meditators experience samadhi on a regular basis in each sitting. In a prior post, I reviewed the layers of samadhi described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the root text of much modern understanding of yoga, meditation, and so forth.
The deeper samadhis become increasingly common over time, creating the ground for consciousness to wake up to itself – what is commonly called Self Realization.
Various traditions prescribe other techniques like inquiry or mindfulness. But to be effective, these assume an existing quality of consciousness that can be consistently self-aware. That is cultured through samadhi. And this is why Vedic and Tantric traditions place mantra meditation as a core practice, even if some have mistakenly added effort.
The word Mantra is derived from manas and tool, thus it literally means “mind tool”. But mantra is not actually limited to meditation or the mind.
You’ve undoubtedly heard of Om (more correctly Aum), the primordial sound of the universe, the sound from which all sounds arise, and so forth. This points to a simple detail. Our universe and everything we experience originates in vibration. Physicists point to subatomic particles as being both particles and vibrating waves. Even deeper as vibrating “super-strings”. Explorers in consciousness point to the subjective experience of vibration as sound, mantra.
As Lorne Hoff put it during a recent webcast, “The world is the mantra of consciousness.” It is all mantra and nothing but.
I’ve talked about how liveliness stirs alertness and it becomes aware. Then awareness becomes aware of itself and in that recognition, creation arises. That liveliness is vibration. Thus, as Lorne put it, “Consciousness itself is mantra.“
One way we experience this is that we are aware and experiencing in the first place. Another way is we feel bliss, vibration within. Another way is the world itself. It’s all mantra.
From the perspective of Brahman, “…[there is] not really a world appearance – it’s all consciousness.” said Lorne. Not even a maya. Just consciousness, flowing and vibrating within itself.
There is only mantra.