What is Japa/Mantra Meditation?

Mantra meditation, also known as japa, mala, or chanting meditation, is a form of meditation that encourages focusing on a particular phrase or set of words to develop awareness or other enhance certain faculties of consciousness.

Holding Space with Mantra Meditation Techniques

Many traditional and esoteric schools of thought, ranging from Christianity to various schools of yoga, support the idea that the universe was formed through sound vibration. Following this train of thought, sounds that are produced in nature or through human vocal chords can have similar properties as the divine sounds that gave formation to the universe.

Many mantras are taken directly from ancient spiritual texts. Many of the first mantras, spoken thousands of years ago, were taken directly from the Rig-Veda - the oldest and most sacred Hindu scripture. However, as mantras spread and became more popular, words were taken from different sources. 

Nowadays, mantras may not come from religious or spiritual scriptures whatsoever. In fact, modern psychology has adopted the mantra as a useful tool for self-improvement. By focusing on a phrase such as, “I am happy,” or “I am loved,”  we are able to reinforce or strengthen ideas in our mind that can help bring us peace and clarity. 

Sacred Mantra Meditation Methods 

One of the best ways to engage in mantra meditation is to use a set of mala beads. Also known as japa beads or prayer beads, a proper set of mala beads will have 108 beads on it. The number 108 holds huge significance in Hinduism and many other spiritual traditions - Buddhists claim there are 108 earthly desires, for example, and the Sanskrit alphabet is composed of 108 masculine and feminine characters.

Holding the necklace by its first bead, you should chant the mantra once before slipping the next bead into your grip. Repeating this 108 times is said to trigger a divine influence, ‘activating’ the mantra. At the very least, repeating any phrase 108 times will lock it into your subconscious, leading to profound benefits.