Of the many different meditation techniques being taught today mantra meditation is one of the
most highly effective in terms of increasing happiness, well-being and health. And of the highly
effective meditation techniques, mantra meditation is by far the easiest to learn and practice.
The following instructions are based on decades of mantra meditation practice by our staff and
the meditation practice taught by Harvard Medical School to doctors. If you learn to meditate
using these instructions and then meditate regularly chances are good that your life will get better.
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You learn to meditate by meditating. The silence and stillness you experience in meditation and the increased happiness and diminished stress you experience outside meditation are so attractive and welcomed that you naturally teach yourself how to go deeper into that silence and stillness each time you meditate.
To meditate you sit comfortably and quietly with your eyes closed and effortlessly and silently inside repeat a word or a short phrase called a mantra. Your mantra can be any word, sound, prayer or short phrase you like that is in your native language.
For example your mantra could be any one of the words: inner peace, compassion, love, one, calm, or gentle, or any short combination of those words. Your mantra can also be from your religious tradition. For example if you are Roman Catholic your mantra could be “Hail Mary Full of Grace”, which in Spanish would be “Ave Maria”. If you are Protestant your mantra could be “The Lord is my Shepherd” or “Our Father Who art in Heaven”. If you are Jewish your mantra could be “The Lord is my Shepherd” or “Shalom” and if you are Hindu your mantra could be “Om Sat Chit Ekam Brahma”. If you are of Tibetan Buddhist faith your mantra could be “Om Mani Padme Hum” and if you are of Islamic faith your mantra could be “Insha’Allah”. Your mantra could also be a simple prayer from your childhood or your family.
To begin meditating sit comfortably and quietly, and close your eyes. Start by relaxing your muscles, first in your feet, calves, and thighs, then by shrugging your shoulders and rolling your head and neck around. Then just sit quietly with your eyes closed for about a minute. During that time thoughts will come and notice that those thoughts come simply and without any effort. Then after a minute or so silently inside start thinking your mantra in the same simple, effortless way as thoughts came during that first minute.
Continue repeating your mantra in that same simple, effortless way for 15-30 minutes. That repetition may not be a clear pronunciation of your mantra but instead may be just a faint idea of it. As you continue thinking your mantra, thoughts and distractions will come, and that’s fine; having thoughts during meditation is natural. When thoughts and distractions do come just gently return to thinking your mantra in the same simple, effortless way as all other thoughts come. Choose the amount of time you meditate based on what suits you.
It’s important to not strain to make the mantra come, but rather to relax into effortlessness and let the mantra come in the same simple, effortless way as thoughts come. If you strain to make the mantra come that can create stress that tires you or cause pressure in your head or even a headache.
Meditate every morning and every evening for 15-30 minutes. It is best to meditate before you eat. When you have finished meditating lay down and rest for 4-5 minutes. It’s fine if you fall asleep during meditation, but when you wake up meditate for a couple more minutes and then lay down and rest for a couple more minutes. If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, try meditating before laying down to sleep. If you have trouble with waking up in the night and not being able to get back to sleep, sit up in bed in the dark and meditate.
Avoid looking for experiences or signs of progress or failure with your meditation because that hinders meditation. Just be confident that after some time you will start to notice the benefits of meditating during your day. You may be happier, feeling more at ease and calmer, and getting along better with others. You may start noticing these benefits soon, or it may take up to six months of meditating regularly before you start to notice these benefits. So just get in the habit of meditating regularly and then stick with it. And be patient with yourself – if you stop meditating for a day or two, just go back and start meditating again.
After you have been meditating regularly for one year, add this instruction to your meditation: Until now your mantra has probably been coming from your head, or from nowhere in particular. From now on during meditation, gently shift your attention so that the mantra comes from your chest. To help center your mantra in your chest, notice your breathing occasionally. If you would like us to contact you when you become eligible for other advanced meditation techniques, you need to contact us now.
We are continually updating this site with more information about meditation and how to increase inner peace, so check back in occasionally. We also offer a corporate program, contact us for more information about those.
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There are side effects to meditating. Immediately after meditating you are generally more vulnerable to suggestions and outside influences. So avoid making decisions or taking on things of importance immediately after meditating.
If you find that sitting quietly is difficult for you for any reason then give up meditating with a mantra and instead consider walking alone in nature, doing yoga or tai chi, or running to relax your mind. Also, if meditating is disturbing, upsetting, or disquieting to you then give up meditating and do not do it any longer. Finally, meditation is not for solving serious emotional or psychiatric problems; so if you have such problems do not meditate and instead get professional help.
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Question: "I used to mediate regularly but stopped. Now with Inner Peace Meditation I am finding it difficult to quieten my mind and let the thoughts pass.”
Inner Peace Meditation works by relaxing into effortlessness. You say that you used to meditate. There are many different types of meditation and many of those such as mindfulness require that you focus your attention and concentrate on getting rid of thoughts, or on how you are sitting, your breath, a thought, a sound, or an image - any of which require that you exert some effort to DO those things. Perhaps the meditation you did in the past required such efforts and so now you are expecting Inner Peace Meditation to require effort. Also, you say you are finding it difficult to quieten your mind and let the thoughts pass, which suggests that you may be exerting effort trying to quiet your mind and in letting the thoughts pass.
Again, Inner Peace Meditation works by relaxing into effortlessness. When you exert effort and try to DO Inner Peace Meditation it does not work, and such effort may even give you a headache.
Thoughts come for everyone when practicing any meditation, that’s natural. When thoughts come while practicing Inner Peace Meditation you do not exert any effort against them but rather you let the thoughts come as they will and then you gently think your mantra in the same effortless way as the thoughts are coming. Then the mantra will be gone and thoughts will have come again, and again in the same effortless way that those thought are now coming you again gently return to thinking your mantra. When doing mantra meditation everyone goes back and forth between having thoughts and thinking their mantra throughout meditation. So don’t be concerned as thoughts come, just relax and do not resist your thoughts or try to quiet them, and then gently return to thinking your mantra.
Trying to meditate - exerting effort to meditate - is the most common problem people have with mantra meditation. That is understandable since success in life usually comes through exerting effort, so exerting effort has become our habit. Consequently when people start Inner Peace Meditation many exert effort out of habit and try to DO something, but mantra meditation is about learning to do nothing and relaxing into effortlessness.
Relaxing into effortlessness is quite pleasant but it is also an unfamiliar experience for most people. Just know that it is through relaxing into effortlessness that you gain the deep rest and resulting benefits of Inner Peace Meditation. And do not be concerned when you fall asleep during meditation; everyone falls asleep occasionally during Inner Peace Meditation and that’s just fine. Many people in fact do Inner Peace Meditation to help get to sleep, or to get back to sleep when they wake up in the night.
Finally, just as each day is different each meditation is also different. During some meditations you will have thoughts almost entirely, during others you will be thinking your mantra more often, and sometimes thoughts and your mantra will be absent and you will simply be aware of your self. So do not be concerned about differences in your meditations from day to day, week to week or month to month. Just know that every time you meditate you are getting very deep rest that is building up in your physiology and that that deepening reservoir of rest is what yields the many benefits of mantra meditation.
For Discussions of The Following Questions
"It is important to me that my meditation practice supports my belief in a universal
spirit. Will Inner Peace Meditation support my belief in a universal spirit?"
"What am I? Where did I come from? I do not believe that life was created by a
universal spirit or God. Yet to me life seems sacred and holy."
“Why did people start meditating originally? What was its purpose?”
“What does scientific research tell us about which meditation technique is
"Where can I get more information about meditation and related topics?"
Also visit our companion site InnerPeaceFellowship.org. This is an excerpt from it:
"We are living in the dawn of a new beginning. Traditional religious and spiritual ways
are in decline and new ways are replacing them. This is happening because people
want inner peace, not just promises of inner peace. People want to experience what
is sacred directly, not through the words of middlemen. People want lives filled with love
and brotherhood, not lives filled with stress and separation. People want communities
that truly have their back, not communities that let the powerful prey on them. This web
site provides tools for this new beginning."
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