A mantra (from the Sanskrit words man, meaning mind, and tra meaning to save or rescue) is a sacred utterance, sound, syllable, word, or group of words used to still and focus the mind.
There are many, many mantras that one can use for meditation practice. In this practice, we will simply use the mantra Om. Om meditation (also known as Pranava in Sanskrit), is similar to Mindfulness meditation, only in this practice we will be focusing our attention on the mantra Om instead of the breath.
Om is a symbol that represents universal consciousness. It is said to be the sound or vibration of the universe, and connecting with this sound and vibration can be very powerful.
Repeatedly chanting Om has been utilized for thousands of years as a way to calm the mind and produce peaceful states of being.
In India, Om is often pronounced as Aum, and is said to represent four aspects of our consciousness.
A represents the waking state.
U represents the dreaming state.
M represents the deep sleep state
The silence afterwards represents the awareness in which these three states arise and pass.
Different teachers and traditions teach the pronunciation of Om in different ways. You can experiment with chanting the mantra as Om or Aum and see what works best for you.
If you'd like to learn more about meditation, check out our Introduction to Meditation course
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