Welcome once again to Meditation Monday. In this weekly series we examine some of the types of meditation as well as some of the common issues. While the first few posts have looked at meditation from my experience, I also want to branch out and discuss some of the other types of meditation out there. Today, we are discussing mantra meditation.
Mantra meditation involves focusing on a sound, word, or phrase, which is repeated, as opposed to focusing on the breath, which is what I do. It might be what some people stereo-typically think of when they think of meditation, with the person sitting cross-legged on the floor chanting “ooommm, oooommmm,” or something like that.
The purpose of this is to promote focus and attention. To be more scientific about it, some studies suggest that mantra meditation can help calm the default mode network. An overactive default mode network can cause distraction, heightened anxiety, or other mental health problems, so a less active default mode network demonstrates, scientifically, that mantra meditation is focusing the mind.
However, just because the science says it works, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. For example, the one time I tried mantra meditation, I simply got very annoyed. Of course, I’ve gotten annoyed with the mindfulness meditation I still practice, so it is possible I simply gave up on mantra medication too soon. Regardless, if you try mantra meditation and find that it isn’t for you, there is nothing wrong with that. There are many other approaches you can try. But if you are curious about mantra meditation, then hopefully this brief introduction helps.