Mantra (man=mind; tra=liberate) is a Sanskrit word whose repetition helps us free ourselves ourselves from all the attachments of our physical and mental lives. Mantra meditation is based on the subtle nature of sound vibrations that help with concentration on a positive idea and enhancing our intuition. Whereas mindfulness meditation is based on awareness of the breath and what you are experiencing in the moment.. Many forms of meditation combine mindfulness, mantra and breath control to promote awareness in the moment and concentration on a positive idea.
Meditation follows the adage that “as we think so we become”. This conclusion is supported by the science of epigenetics as represented by Bruce Lipton which postulates that we are not determined over the span of our life by our DNA or inheritance. Rather we are more determined by our perception of our external and internal environment. This perception alters our biology in a manner that supports our negative or positive views of reality. Our DNA simply stamps out the blueprint of what our perception calls for. Darwin was one of the first scientists to use the term “epigenetics” (above genetics) to explain the extraordinary rapid adaptive changes in species that could not be explained by the slower process of survival of the fittest in natural selection over many generations.
While epigenetics offers scientific support for the use of the positive perception associated with meditation that supports “as we think so we become” there are more practical issues concerning developing a meditation practice. Practical questions include how do you select a meditation practice, what helps with developing a discipline to meditate, what are the obstacles to overcome, how do your know your are progressing, what role can a teacher play or a group versus and individual practice, how will my meditation affect others, what do you hope to achieve through meditation. These were the questions raised by instructors and participants in a recent meditation workshop at the Prama Institute. These questions have been addressed in previous blogs but nothing replaces experiencing the answers to these questions by direct participation in a meditation retreat. Join us in a beautiful and supportive environment on the French Broad just north of Asheville, NC. to develop and strengthen your meditation practice.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Sid Jordan
As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Sid Jordan taught psychotherapy and directed mental health, alcohol and drug services while in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. from 1969-1993. He began his practices of yoga and meditation in 1971 pursuing the integration of yoga and psychology in his teaching and clinical practices. In 1997 he trained as a yoga and meditation teacher in India applying the tantric yoga teachings of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti the preceptor of Ananda Marga.
Currently he is Director of the Prama Institute where he teaches yoga psychology and spiritual practices. At the Prama Wellness Center he offers yoga therapy and stress management to individuals and groups. He continues to offer his 40 years of experience and teaching of yoga psychology, philosophy and practices to audiences worldwide.