So, we all have heard that meditation is a good thing. A meditation practice can help us de-stress, gain focus, enhance clarity, and in general has a positive effect on our overall well-being. Meditation, when practiced regularly as part of yoga, can also grow our spiritual selves and transport us to nirvana, the end goal of the most devout yogis.
Contrary to some mainstream beliefs, we need not renounce our earthly lifestyle and spend hours per day in breathing, chanting devotion in order to attain the good stuff that comes from meditation. One of the best tools to use in beginning your practice and enjoying a big slice of bliss pie is mantra.
The Purpose of Mantras
A mantra is a simple word or short phase that gives our busy minds something to focus on while we practice connecting with our sacred selves. Though many mantras are expressed in the ancient Sanskrit language, a good working mantra can be as simple as “love” or “all is well.”
When we have a calming statement to call upon, every moment of life can become meditation—an opportunity to observe ourselves and respond in new and transformative ways to everything life may have in store for us.
Today, I am suggesting the following mantra as a means to beginning your meditation journey: Ham-sa. Ham-sa means “I am that.” I am here now. I and the divine are connected.
Meditation is designed to pull us out of “the soup” of an adverse emotion, situation, relationship, etc. so that we can become more aware of our own experience. Once aware, we turn into our own coach or teacher instead of drowning in our circumstances and getting bogged down by our oh-so-human response to living. Transformation occurs only when we can step outside of ourselves, and truly observe not only our situation, but also our response to that in which we are embroiled.
Ham-sa Can Take Us There
Even saying the word helps us to breathe deeply. Try it:Haaaaahm-sahhhhhhhhhhh!(Note: It helps if you inhale through your mouth on the “Hahhhhhhm” and exhale on the “sahhhhhh.”)
Try saying Ham-sa several times slowly and breathing deeply in the following situations:
- Stuck in traffic and late for a meeting? Ham-sa. I am here right now, there is nothing I can do about all these other cars except to change the way I feel about them. I am me, they are them, and I choose to bless all the other travelers on the road, as well as myself. We are all connected. I trust the universe to get us all home safely.
- Children screaming? Ham-sa. I am here, my child is here. Crying is temporary and this is not a personal attack on me from my child. I can breathe my way through this and become the quiet energy that calms my child. From my stillness streams my ability to respond to my child’s needs.
- Struggling to finish a half-marathon? Ham-sa. I am here. I am in control of my pace. I can slow down to manage my breathing and the fatigue in my legs. I can draw energy from my connection to All-That-Is. I can speed up when I feel the return of my energy. I can see my goal ahead and I know I have the strength to get there at any speed.
The underlying message of Ham-sa is that we can be fully present in each moment, knowing it is temporary and we are not alone. Whatever our circumstance, it will change again in the next instant and we will be there as well, coping— intentionally or by the seat of our pants. There is honor and learning and transformation in both responses.
When we can use the Ham-sa mantra to transport us to the role of observer, we can take much better care of our earthy human experience and move ourselves that much closer to the peace we all crave.
Haaaaahm-Sahhhhhhhhh. See you at the next traffic light!