Monday, May 27, 2013

Day #4 - Meditation Challenge - The Zen of Japa Mala Meditation

Today is Day #4 of our meditation challenge.  I am so amazed to see how many people are emailing me to share how just a few days of this practice is transforming their inner peace and daily lives.  Meditation is a powerful practice and it helps us to quiet the monkey mind.

Our body is compared to a chariot in the Katha-Upinashads, with the body being the chariot, our senses are the five courses dragging the chariot, the reins are the mind, the intelligence or Lord of the chariot is the mind.  Peace of mind is important for focus and therefore a focused journey.  So if our mind is controlling the chariot it would be beneficial to learn to control the mind. 

Today's option to adapt into your meditation is japa mala meditation.  Often times you will see Yogis wearing beads around their neck or wrist, these beads are meant to be used for meditation.  Nearly every faith uses prayer beads (Christian, Islam, Buddhist, Sihkism, and Hindu).  The Hindu Japa Mala is done on 108 beads.  The beads are 108 to represent the 108 energy channels or nadi lines that stem from the heart chakra.  When we recite our mantra 108 times, we liberate our heart, and awaken this powerful life force through our entire body via the nadi lines.

To do Japa Mala
  1. Sit tall on your meditation seat/cushion/bench
  2. Hold Japa Mala beads in the right hand letting the beads glide over the middle finger
  3. Using the thumb after reciting your "mantra", pull the bead towards you and progress to the next.

People who practice japa mala meditation often times will recite a mantra like "OM" or "Hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare" or "Om Nama Shivaya".  The Sound of OM (Aum) is a beautiful way to begin the practice of Japa Mala Meditation as it is the Universal Sound that exists in all things.  Mantra is powerful, much like affirmation and will alter the chemical pathways in the human brain and cells of the body to create happiness.  When we use the beads and recite the mantra we put our body in a hypnotic state which allows us to calm the noise and find peace.  When we recite the name of God (regardless of our faith) we are uniting with higher consciousness.  Christians, Buddhist, Sihks and Muslims will chant their own prayers with their specific prayer beads. 

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