If I had to add my personal touch, I’d always say silence meditation is the best choice, but I would be biased since everyone is different. The same can be said for mantras.
We previously explored whether you needed to focus on your breath to meditate, and I brought up mantras as an alternative. But do you really need these mantras to meditate?
For starters, mantras can steer newcomers in the right direction when they’re first starting out with meditation, and while we can’t always control how fast we breathe or the temperature of our breath, we have more control of what we chant.
At least, many would have an easier time meditating if they focused on mantras while meditating, but you don’t need a mantra to meditate.
Just like you don’t need to focus on your breathing when meditating, there are some reasons why you’ll want to choose mantras over many other means of meditating, such as increased concentration and in some cases, enhanced functions of the brain.
There Isn’t Only One Mantra
Unlike breathing, there isn’t just one mantra to choose from, but you can’t breathe in ten different ways. This provides meditators with more options as to how they want to do their meditation, without compromising comfort, since they can find a mantra that resonates with them.
There are even mantras tailored for specific purposes, such as love, whereas other mantras such as “Om” focus on more general meditations where we reach a deep stage of relaxation.
At first, no matter which meditation you choose to do, you may find it meaningless and just feel like you’re sitting still without doing anything.
We constantly have an urge to do something, or the brain starts firing neurons in countless different directions, but breaking out of this thinking allows us to experience a new reality.
At the very least, with mantras, it’s a way to make the meditation experience less boring and keep the mind focused, rather than giving it the freedom to wander everywhere, which in many cases is a high-risk high-reward situation, in the sense that your bind can bring about the most peaceful experiences to the most dreadful experiences that you want nothing to do with.
This is not to say that it can’t happen with mantras, but mantras give you more control over your meditation experience, even if what you experience isn’t something you can predict beforehand.
Mantras are like a cheat code to meditation, where, when everything else fails, it’s what you turn to, to have a meaningful deep meditation.
The more profound you enter with your meditation, the less you’ll want to interrupt the practice. Meditation can be seen as working on a project that you don’t have the motivation to do, but once you get into it, it’s hard to stop since you want to finish it.
Enjoyment from meditation comes while you’re at it, and while many people rely on motivation for their daily routine, which is why they give up, if meditation becomes a routine like rubbing your teeth it becomes easier to do.
But given the wide range of mantras to choose from, you’re already setting yourself up for success and a clear roadmap to make the meditation experience less intimidating. Be mindful about your goal with meditation and choose a mantra that resonates with that.
Guided Meditations Use Mantras
I remember back when I started meditation, I used to question why I was instructed to repeat mantras during guided meditation audios.
But it’s a way to give us a sense of direction, rather than mindlessly wandering, especially with the volatility of emotions.
While a meditator instructor likely doesn’t know you personally or what’s best for your situation when meditating, guided meditations tend to be popular and work for many through mantras.
This is because it finds a common ground sweet spot where a lot of meditators find themselves in, and thus, they’re able to achieve similar results from following one mantra-based meditation. But nothing is guaranteed.
It’s the ability to focus that many struggle with when they first get started. If you have something to focus on with the meditation, it will feel less directionless, and many people are wired to follow a certain roadmap, which, under normal circumstances doesn’t lead to thinking that develops creativity or thinking outside the box, but meditation is the exception to that.
Meditation removes clutter and brings focus into our lives, so someone could start off with mantra meditations and later turn to breath-focused meditations. But it can also be the opposite if breath meditation is something you started with but failed you.
Both are valid meditations that can bring a deep sense of tranquility and peace, as well as release stress, which is the goal of many starting out with meditation.
If You Don’t Want To Use Mantras Or Focus On Your Breathing
I’ve glorified the idea of using mantras to aid with meditations, but some don’t want to focus on something they produce themselves or simply feel uncomfortable with the idea of mantras or focusing on their breathing.
And in reality, narrowing down meditation to the most basic principle, anything that helps you to stay within the borders of the present moment without the mind wandering off to a place that doesn’t exist, such as the future and past would technically qualify as meditation, in terms of mindfulness.
Listening to peaceful sounds or surroundings can be a way to enter this state, but it’s rare since we don’t have control of our surroundings.
The less we focus on variables outside of our control, while not impossible, the harder we make the meditation for ourselves.
Another alternative, while not optimal, is meditating with music or binaural beats that are made to bring the brain waves at a specific frequency, making some feel relaxed.
But binaural beats can be a double-edged sword because of their intense effect, so it’s important to choose wisely.
You Don’t Have To Chant Mantras Verbally
So long as you’re able to hold a mantra in your mind, it would be enough to put you in the present moment.
One advantage mantras have over breath is the ability to think of these mantras, whereas when doing breath meditation, the attention is on our breath as we observe any thoughts we get without judging these thoughts.
This can of course lead to very intense meditations since being in complete silence lets us connect with our mind and body.
Not everyone needs complete silence when meditating, some need a middle ground where it’s not too quiet that their mind has the freedom to experience thoughts that would drive the meditation practitioner out of the meditation, but that’s not to say that a novice can’t start out with breath meditation. In fact, it’s recommended in many cases.
Are Mantra Meditations The Easiest?
Obviously, I can’t generalize and say one meditation is easier than the other since we’re all at different stages.
But in general, mantras are up there on meditations that are the most recommended, as they provide meditators with a sense of direction.
It’s a sense of direction that makes it easier for someone to stick with the practice, among other things.
So the correct answer would be that anything that allows the mind to stay present for the longest time without the temptation to wander is the easiest way to meditate.
The more distraction-free your meditation is, the easier it becomes, and to make the meditation free of distractions, it’s not just limited to the meditation method but the environment. For instance, how quiet it is and how a certain spot for meditation makes you feel.
Needless to say, meditating in an environment we find comfortable and relaxing makes it easier to meditate, to begin with, rather than meditating in, let’s say an obnoxiously loud place.
Some advanced meditators, however, thrive no matter where you put them, as they’ve internalized meditation and made it more of an experience that they find enjoyment from within and can put themselves in a meditative state almost on command. This is the reward for mastering ourselves and peace of mind.