Tools of the Trade: Meditation, Mantras, Visions, & Radishes

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

After spending the last seven months being trained in the Teachings of Silence, I have found a mantra.

It’s okay, the teachers that trained me in the Teachings of Silence gave me the mantra. As a goodbye gift they gave each of us students a strand of rudraksha prayer beads, and the mantra with translation:

Om Namo Mantra

At first I thought, “Okay, nice, I like it, but I don’t think I need it. Prayer beads are just a tool, and with how far I’ve come in the last seven months, I don’t think I need a tool like that.”

So the beads and card became part of my bedroom decorations along a shelf which is turning out to look like an altar. I’ve never been one to memorize lyrics or words, my mind has always functioned on the sounds and tones of music. I thought the structure of the sound of words of this mantra wouldn’t resonate with me. However, about a week ago, I just started glancing at the words and before I knew it they had become memorized.

Last week I knew I was going to have a tough day ahead of me. I was getting ready for the day and I put on a beautiful floral blouse, almost like a tunic. I saw the beads and thought to just put them around my neck, but tucked in the shirt. Instantly, I began reciting this mantra; amazed that I remembered the thing. As I drove in my car, “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.” As I was at the place that I knew was going to be giving me trouble, “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.” Every time I felt the beads move around my neck, “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.”

The reason why I felt as if I didn’t need the mantra is because I’ve been doing quite well with my own Present Moment Awareness Practice. I’ve been practicing the same practice with much luck since late 2011. I thought, “To put my mind on a mantra might even take me a step back!”

As I was washing dishes, “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.” To center myself before going out, I grabbed the beads, laid down with my dog, and pushed each seed along as I recited, “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.”

At this moment, I wasn’t sure how well the mantra was “working.” The cadence of the words was not ringing well with me. However, I have a habit of experimenting with myself, and I got the feeling that this was my new experiment.

I sit here now, after just attending my Wednesday Morning Meditation (a practice that I picked up from my recent Yoga Teacher Training), now aware of the power of the mantra. I’ve known for quite some time that the purpose of a mantra is to bring your mind down to “one thought” so that it will be easier for you to get to “no thought.” Seems logical: instead of going from a thousand thoughts to none.

So I took my place at Morning Meditation, and I started to apply a teaching that I had just picked up this weekend at an online yoga conference: The first step of meditation is to find stillness. In my notebook, I have written, “Relax the way you hold yourself and let your seat hold you. Your body can quietly deepen its state of stillness.” Finding my position, I did just that: I allowed the blankets and floor to hold me.

The first thing I do when I meditate is to become aware, and become one with my breath. I’ll often achieve this by first watching my breath, but then by practicing Three Part Breath or Dirga Pranayama:

Begin by bringing your awareness to your belly, notice the breath expanding here on your inhale. Maybe even place your hand on your belly to really feel the effect.

Exhale, and feel your belly deflate.

After a few breaths in this fashion, notice your belly rise and then your lower lungs expand as well on the inhale.

On the exhale, allow the lower lungs to fall, then the belly, fall.

After a few rounds of this bigger breath, on the inhale: belly rises, lower lungs rise, and then upper lungs all become inflated.

As you exhale, deflating, upper lungs, lower lungs, belly.

I surf around on this for quite some time, quieting my thoughts, focusing on the circuitous breath. Some days I deepen this practice by sending it through my lower back, then slowly, slowly, slowly up the spine.

However, this morning, “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya” made it’s presence be known right along with my first breath. I thought, “Okay, okay, I like this, we can do this.” Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya immediately found its true cadence:

The Belly Inhale : Om

The Lower Lungs Inhale: Namo

The Upper Lungs Inhale: Bhagavate

The Long Exhale: Vasu-deva-ya

Mantra and breath synchronized on it’s own, and I just watched. And I watched, and I watched. I kept a part of my consciousness on the translation, but most of my awareness was very centered.

Each inhale elevated my awareness to a higher and higher perspective. This perspective was within my being, but it was higher than my usual “found perspective.” If you’re a fan of my writing, I’ve described this perspective as the “Fisherman’s Perspective,” or even made mention to it by describing it as a Horizontal Plane within my mind. Well, this morning, it took a step further. I hesitate to call it a Halo Perspective, but that’s exactly what it felt like. Upon looking at my hesitation, I realize that I’m only hesitating out of fear, so let’s drop fears, judgement, any negativity. Upon my head, between the crown and back of my head, felt like a disc, and I felt my awareness looking down on me from that disc. This is not a new phenomena for me, but with the addition of my mantra, I was creating a new experience.

I spent some time sitting quietly in this state. Quietly, as in my mind was only on the mantra, no other thoughts. Eventually I thought, “What if I were to Let Go here?” So I Let Go of the mantra, suspended in an elevated space. Shortly after, the thoughts started to creep back in and I quickly realized how powerful a mantra was at keeping the thoughts at bay.

Without hesitation, I brought the mantra back in, and as soon as I did I had a glimpse, or a vision. For the past few weeks Rainbows have been popping up everywhere, but I know it’s because I’m more in tune with seeing them.

The vision: I saw a rainbow, but amazingly it was slightly different than any rainbow I have ever seen. I laugh, because we all grew up with the idea of the Gold at the End of a Rainbow. Well my vision was Gold at the End of the Rainbow, but not at the end of a rainbow, along the long end: the top arch of it. Along that end, right above the layer of red. Just to see this concept in a new perspective felt like such a cosmic giggle given to me.

When I get these visions, I have the strangest of feelings: my teachings tell me to be sitting in silence, not with visions. So I don’t get hung up on the visions, I notice them, and then remember: quiet.

So bringing myself back to stillness I began to see the wispy colors I’ve seen throughout the years. Usually, it’s a bunch of blue sparks. This morning, it was blue sparks, but then a bunch of yellow wisps. These wisps caught my interest because I’ve been noticing these wisps everywhere the last few weeks: just as long as I’ve been noticing the rainbows. The wisps look almost paisley-like, and they remind me of spirits. Well, this morning, the yellow wisps began to appear over the blue sparks. I was coming from a very centered state of mind, so my awareness was completely centered, but noticing the overlap of the images. As they began to overlap, they created a smoke, or a grey cloud, and I was able to see through the cloud. The vision through the cloud was of two hands, faced in the same direction of how mine were, but these hands were touching: thumb to thumb, and each finger to the relative finger on the opposite hand. Then the vision vanished.

I thought, “Like a circuit! Maybe I’m not sitting well enough. I mean, my legs and back are in quite a meditative position, but my hands are just resting on my knees.” So, within my lap, I copied the vision, creating a circuitous circuit.

I remained there until the end of the practice, until my teacher began the CD of one of Bhagwan’s latest recordings. He got right to it: His talk was about Letting Go. My mind sparked with delight: It was just last night that I quickly scanned through the latest Pinterest feed, and the common quote that was popping up was about Letting Go. And just minutes before this present moment, I had done just that whilst meditating: I got to a point where I just Let Go.

Bhagwan took it deeper as he asked, “Who is Letting Go of who?” Who is it that you tell yourself you are, everyday? Who is it that the world tells you you are? Can you Let Go of that Who? When you Let Go of that Who, who are you?

I’ve been trying to make it a habit of writing about my meditation experiences, so when I got home I googled “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya” just to see what the internet had to offer.

The internet was giving me a slightly different translation than what my teachers had given me:

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya means “prostration to Krishna” or “surrender to Krishna.””

What? Krishna? I Love Krishna!

krishnai-dev-ki-108-name-ofkrishna-ji-108nameofkrishna-thehindufacts-the-hindu-facts-2

It wasn’t until recently did I really start to learn about Krishna, and I completely felt connected. My spiritual experiences parallel so greatly with his.

I continued to read:

“Krishna also proclaimed “Everybody should recite “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya” mantra daily whenever possible so that I will stand by them. I respond to the call of the heart immediately and invariably. See me in your duties. I am committed to those who are committed to their duties. Believe in putting faith in me and make me your own”.”

Beautiful. And make me your own, the true spiritual path.

I wasn’t sure how this post would end, but I think I just got it.

I recently got a Jon Kabat Zinn book from the library. If you don’t know who he is, he is like the man on mindfulness meditation. Anyways, I didn’t get to read much of the book, but there was one quote that stood right out to me. If you don’t understand the quote, I’m sure these words will resonate somewhere deeply within you, for we must all find Our Own Way.

The Way, with a radishSo, I share my radishes, I mean words, to those that will listen.

Greatest of Gratitude to You, Namaste.

Now on with my day…

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya


2 thoughts on “Tools of the Trade: Meditation, Mantras, Visions, & Radishes

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