Japa meditation, also called mantra meditation or ahh meditation, is the perfect type of meditation to teach us the power of repetition.
This type of meditation refers to the repetition of a mantra over and over again, to help the mind enter a meditative state. The repeated mantra is counted using a string of beads known as a Japa mala. There are usually 108 beads on the Japa mala.
Japa meditation is practiced by Buddhists, Sufists, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus, but many other religions use it as a form of relaxation and to achieve calmness, peace, and a trance-like state.
Japa is also an important part of Sikh tradition. The two main Sikh sacred scriptures open with sections, named after the term, and these are called Jaap Sahib and Japji Sahib.
Note – this meditation is not limited to individuals adhering to any religion as such.
Japa meditation is the easiest form of meditation for those who do not have the guidance of a spiritual teacher and is, therefore, the most used meditation practice in the West.
The Sanskrit word ”japa” is derived from the root “jap,” signifying “to utter in a low voice, mutter, repeat internally”. The notion of ”Japa” is also found in early Buddhist texts and is usually found in Tibetan Buddhism literature.
Types of Japa meditation:
- audible Japa meditation, also known as Vaikhari Japa. This type includes repetition of mantras in whispers and even audible pitch. Most beginners use this form of meditation.
- mental or silent Japa meditation, also known as Manasika Japa. During this meditation, no sound is uttered and the lips do not move.
Mantra meditation benefits:
The vibrations of the mantras are extremely effective in creating a powerful change in attitudes and mindset of the practitioners. Mantra meditation has other benefits as well:
- calms the mind;
- improves concentration and focus;
- brings joy and a deep feeling of inner peace;
- reduces stress;
- improves sleep patterns;
- reduces amplitude and frequency of brain waves.
Mantras to use in Japa meditation
When selecting a mantra for a meditation, be clear on what your intention is and use your intuition over your intellect.
OM is the primordial sound from which all creation arose. It is “a benediction, an invocation, an affirmation and a promise.”
It is the six-syllabled Sanskrit mantra especially linked with Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.
“So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to knowledge. The path of these six perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas of the three times. What could then be more meaningful than to say the mantra and accomplish the six perfections?” – Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
This mantra is accepted to be a potent healing mantra beneficial for all mental, emotional, and physical ailments. Om Namah Shivaya mantra is one of the most popular Hindu mantras and the most important mantra in Shaivism.
This mantra is composed of three Sanskrit names of the Supreme Being: “Hare,” “Krishna,” and “Rama.”
Complete lyrics – ”Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
Meaning – “Prostration to Bhagavan Vasudeva.” “Everybody should recite this mantra daily whenever possible so that I will stand by them. I respond to the call of the heart immediately and invariably.” – Krishna.
Meaning – ”There is one Creator of all Creation. All is a blessing of the One Creator. This realization comes through Guru’s Grace.” This Kundalini mantra takes thought and reverses it to come out positive.
The mantra calls on the earth, the ether, the sun, and the moon to bring deep healing.
This is a prayer each one of us can practice every day. Translation – “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the actions, thoughts, and words of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
Japa may be practiced sitting in a meditation posture while performing other mundane activities, or as part of formal spiritual practice in group settings. Furthermore, it can be practiced at any time in any place, although it is best to practice at a precise time every day, either early in the morning (before sunrise) or before sleep at night.
Find a quiet undisturbed place in your house to meditate. Sit cross-legged on the floor with an erect back (easy pose). Close your eyes. Relax the arms and shoulders. Breathe gently becoming aware of every inhalation and exhalation.
Start repeating the mantra either out loud or mentally. Repeat the mantra for 108 times. When you’ve finished reciting your mantra, transition to a silent meditation by staying in the same position and feeling any sensations that arise in your body.
Tips for ahh meditation
#1 While practicing this meditation, thoughts will arise and these must be witnessed and not suppressed. The majority of thoughts that arise during meditation are superficial and they must be cleared away to allow the deeper tensions of the mind to manifest.
#2 The more consistent you are with your mantra meditation the more effective it will be.
#3 Don’t begin the mantra meditation with one mantra and then switch to another.