HMC Day 7: Mantra meditation

Holiday Meditation Challenge Day 7

In mantra meditation, you essentially calm your mind by giving it something to do, i.e. think the same word, sound or phrase over and over.

The repetition of a mantra creates a tunnel of awareness that is really helpful for those who find their minds wandering endlessly during other types of meditation. You are allowing your brain to think, but about just one thing — the mantra. You can’t recite a mantra AND think about all the tasks waiting for you at work.

Of course, mantra meditation is no more a cure-all for a wandering mind than breath awareness meditation or the body scan. There’s always the likelihood of the mind periodically drifting away into thought. But for some, the concrete task inherent to mantra repetition is very effective. As soon as you notice any extraneous thoughts, your task is 100% clear: return to the mantra.

A mantra can be anything you want.

  • Think about what you’d like more or less of in your life and select a word that encapsulates this,
  • Consider sayings that already carry meaning for you, or
  • Go with a sound or an ancient Sanskrit word that will lull you into peaceful trance

Some ideas: “Right now it’s like this,” “I am love,” “Be here, now,” “Shanti” (Sanskrit for peace).


Choose a mantra. Sit for 5-7 minutes and chant the mantra until your time is up. Notice any thoughts or feelings that arise during meditation, and be sure to shift your focus back to the mantra whenever possible.

>> If you’re feeling bold, say your mantra 108 times. The number 108 is a sacred number in Hinduism and appears often in meditation and yoga traditions. A full set of mala beads (pictured above; similar in function to Catholic rosary beads) will help you keep track!

**If you missed the introductory post, welcome to the Holiday Meditation Challenge! To receive a summary of each week’s assignments in e-mail form so you can go back to them anytime, click here: