Chapter Eight | Dropping Deeper
Floating on a Magic Carpet with Mantra Meditation
Surrounded by stunning nature, the sun’s rays caressing my skin, Mother Ganga’s song in my ear, the fresh Himalayan air in my lungs, I sit still.
I focus on my breath, on my body’s contact with the earth, I focus on the silence out of which all the sounds emerge. And for as long as I sit in stillness, I observe thoughts coming and going. The idea is not to engage with them, but to be honest, it’s a struggle at times. My mind amazes me in it’s capacity to churn out one thought after the other, nonstop, on and on it goes. Moments of inner calm last for seconds at a time in this way. I crave more. Luckily, I have found something that helps me drop deeper and longer into my self: Mantra meditation. Part of the weekly yoga & meditation programme at Phool Chatti Ashram, we have learned a number of mantras during morning meditations and as part of the daily evening Kirtan (sacred chanting). Somehow, the act of chanting a mantra and feeling its sounds vibrate throughout my body, occupies my monkey mind enough, to meditate for longer. Although even then, sometimes I observe thoughts coming and going while I’m chanting - multi-tasking at its worst I guess... In the second or third week here (anyone else completely loosing track of time?!?), one evening, we came together in the group and chanted Hari Om TatSat Jai Guru Datta for about an hour. This mantra is said to invoke spontaneous meditation and through purification, remove kundalini, so that prana (energy) can flow freely. The first 20-25 minutes were accompanied by the sounds of the drum, played by Lalitaji, the programme director. Then we just sat and chanted in harmony, there was no set duration and you could stay as long as you liked. By that time of my stay here, I had more practice in sitting still for longer than 30 minutes and my body became more comfortable doing it. Having been told over and over as a child that I can’t sing, I am very self-conscious and hesitant about chanting in a group, however after about 15 minutes or so, my ego seemed to just take a break from all the thinking.
Just so in the moment, I sang along without concern for what others might think, how I sounded etc. And I started to feel the energy rising in my body. Every now and then, the ego came trying to check-in again, but my deeper self must have politely informed it that its room wasn’t ready yet*. Minutes passed, the sounds of the drum eventually stopped and we just continued chanting. This was the first time that I felt weightless during a meditation. Like my body was floating on a magic carpet, unaffected by gravity. The sense of even having a body somehow faded away. And this sensation lasted for a while. After about an hour, people started to drop out and venture to their rooms and when I stopped chanting, I stayed there on my magic carpet for a little while longer, feeling the tingling in my body and enjoying the flow of energy that this sacred mantra had cleared the path for. Slowly, slowly, the weight returned to my muscles and bones, but even on my way to my room, I felt a little light headed. That night I had the best sleep. Days later, I noticed one of the other girls here was reading Healing Mantras by Thomas Ashley-Farrand, borrowed from the ashram’s library. I recognised the book straight away since I had it sitting in my Amazon basket for months and just never bought it. Coincidence? Perhaps not. Having now finally read the book with great interest, mantra mediation has become part of my morning practice and evening routine over the last week or so and I am getting more and more moments during which I feel less bound to my body and more connected to Source. During those moments, the mind is quiet, there are no thoughts of the past or worries about the future, no commentary on the present. It’s pure bliss. It’s freedom from form. The only other time when I have experienced a similar tingling throughout my whole body was during a mediation class in Edinburgh, when the teacher was guiding us into our soul’s library and to get there used his counting down technique, starting at 10 and offering you to relax more and more as he counted down to 1. Finally there, I felt similarly weightless and had lost control over my body. The feeling of relaxation was so profound, that I couldn’t move anything even when I tried (in a good way). The amazing thing is that you can learn this count down technique and use it yourself for example every night before going to sleep. Check it out: Online Meditation Course for Beginners This was just one of the firsts I have experienced in my first month of living in an ashram. More about ashram life next time. Lots of love, Jessy *Can’t help it with the hotel analogy after working in hospitality marketing for over 5 years...