The Mantra As A Salve

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Maybe we begin our daily meditation feeling somehow anxious. Perhaps there is a woundedness, or a recent reactivity, sitting in the heart. Often these feelings can swirl in the heart – everyday anxieties and life pain – without us doing much about them. Or can we?  

Perhaps as we continue in our meditation practice, we will experience the mantra itself as a kind of inner salve, a balm or a soothing ointment, for these things of the heart. As we meditate, practicing attention on the mantra itself, anxiety dissolves and our life pain is soothed. We experience this directly, that is, we are not ‘thinking it up’ or imagining it. It is a gentle soothing, a graceful salve. Divine Love is administering comfort and healing. For the Christian, Jesus, the divine physician, is going to work. As we meditate in faith, this faith allows Jesus to minister to us. The fruit of this is an increasing ability to be love for others.

The trick is to not notice what is happening. This may sound like a strange thing to say. However, if we notice what is happening, that is, if attention moves away from the mantra and becomes an observer of the experience itself, then we risk the receding of this soothing experience. We are then but a short step away from daydreams and distraction. At these times, attention serves the ego.

However, as we practice meditation, over time, attention can become, more and more, the energy of the mantra itself. Attention and the mantra are becoming one. It is during these times, when the mantra is sounding gently in the heart, un-self-consciously (that is, without observation), this energy of the mantra can sooth and save. Attention and the mantra are one with the heart and energy is being divinised.

This unity may only happen sparingly, and when it does it may not be long before attention is once again in the realm of ego. All this is ok. We may feel discouraged, and this is understandable. What is important is that we continue in our practice. For those of us who have chosen this way of meditation as the principal practice of our human and spiritual lives, then our daily practice is vital. As we continue this practice, day after day, it is not unreasonable to say that the experience of the mantra as a heart-felt salve will become more consistent. All we need do is practice without noticing. Say your mantra in growing faithfulness, with gentle attention.   

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