May 14, 2022
Conventionally, a mantra is a short formula, which, when repeated again and again, promotes concentration of the mind. This process is called japa. A shorter mantra promotes intense concentration. Naturally, it is of use only when the mind is close to concentration. If you use a longer mantra, then the mind is busy working out the mantra.
Supposing the mantra is short (and that is the ideal), how does one use it? If your mind is restless, then it is possible to shout the mantra and deliberately make it fast. In other words you are 'hitting' the concentration. Loud repetition is very beautiful. When the mind is caught in this rhythm and this sound, then it is time to glide gently into the next method. You stop the sound now but make the lip movement. In the third method even the lip movement stops and you are repeating the mantra mentally.
"Am I repeating the mantra mentally or not?" When you ask yourself this question, the mind becomes concentrated, the attention becomes powerfully focused on itself. For a few moments I am repeating the mantra, concentrating on the mantra, and for a few moments I am thinking of something else; the attention goes away.
From there on it is an unending effort, till one learns the art of dropping all the effort. The effort must not be abandoned prematurely because if you do so, then the fun continues, and you accept distractions as normal. We want to find out if it is possible for the mind to be engaged in just this one work of repeating the mantra.
No distraction can really distract you unless you want to be distracted; so don't blame distractions. You go on observing the mantra sound and the sound it evokes within and then a question arises: “What is this mantra sound and what is this inner figure made up of? They are both experienced in me." When this question arises seriously, the mind is saturated with the mantra and with this figure. You suddenly learn that this is mind. Whatever this mantra was made of, whatever this figure is made of, that is the mind.
This must be discovered, not thought of, so that this knowledge arises within yourself without your thinking of it. When the answer arises within you there is a thrill of joy and there is stillness.