Meditation Techniques: Mantras, malas and mandalas

Meditation means a focus on the present and a clearing away of the thoughts in your mind.

Most people see clearing away the thoughts in your mind as an impossible task and so never bother trying meditation. I know it did for me for a very long time.

How could one ever stop the mind from thinking?

In fact this space of absence of thought probably frightens most. If you’re not thinking then what are you doing?

It’s actually a very peaceful, but difficult space to enter into. You should not let this stop you. Instead you must understand that meditation is a work in progress and with practice it gets easier.

There are many simple meditation techniques for beginners to help you do this.

Removing all thought

Your focus should not be on removing all thought, but instead allowing the thought to pass through your mind without paying it any attention or deep analysis.

What you should do is instead say “Wow, there’s another thought, isn’t that interesting?” and then let it go on it’s merry way.

Often you will find your mind will get caught in a thought and eventually you will recognize what you are doing and you can pull yourself out of it by again saying this sentence.

Don’t get frustrated that you can’t control your thoughts. Just let it go and move on.

Meditation Mantras

meditation mantras

Photo: Abby Lanes

A very simple way to remove the thoughts from your mind is to simply repeat a mantra or phrase over and over again. The most well known is Om which represents the sound of the Universe.

You can instead choose any word or phrases that are meaningful to you. The sound or vibration of the phrase will act as your central point of focus.

Find your mantra, test it out to see if it helps to make you feel peaceful, alert, calm and relaxed. Allow this to become the focus of your thought.

Meditation Malas

Rosewood Mala & Noble Truths

Photo: lianhua

Create your own mala to help you stay focused with your mantra and meditation.

A mala is simply a bracelet of 27 small beads and one large bead. When meditating hold your mala in your hand and move each bead between you fingers as you repeat your mantra. Pause between each bead and acknowledge the silence.

The large bead represents wisdom and when you reach this after your mantra circle,begin again, this time moving in the other direction.

Meditation Mandalas

Meditation mandalas

Photo: Bill Brown

Mandalas are circular designs used as focal points in your meditation. They are meant to symbolize the journey of self realization.

I recommend creating your own as it’s a powerful meditation exercise in itself.

To make one, create a circle outline with a bowl. Trace around a quarter in the center of your circle and then add in your own details. Include colors, images, words and symbols that are meaningful to you and will help you on your path to self awareness.

When meditating focus on your mandala as you say  your mantra.

These meditation techniques for beginners are a great starting point for your path on the removal of thought from your mind to find the space of eternal peace and stillness.

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  • Christine

    I chose a mantra on my first day of sunrise yoga my senior year of university–peaceful, grounded and stress-free. It was a mantra that I kept with me when school was stressful–and even now! Good breathing techniques and meditation are the best way to relax–I always try to do a bit before I go to sleep 🙂


    • Caz

      Doing it before you go to sleep is also great. Usually it sends me off to sleep. I think this can happen a lot when meditating. you just have to go with it!


  • Bob

    Initially, I found the use of a mala to be a little distracting as I was thinking about how many recitations I had done (the mala i use has 108 “beads”). Now I try to keep my awareness (focus?) on my breathing and the pause between each bead.


    • Caz

      That’s interesting, I can see how it can be distracting. I don’t use a mala anymore, but it did help to stop my mind wandering onto other useless things, like it so often does!! Thanks for sharing your experiences Bob


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