While meditation is often referred to as the practice of tuning out of everyday strife by relaxing the mind and body, the fact is that meditation is actually used to tune in and get in touch with our inner selves at both a spiritual and personal level.
“Mantra” is an ancient word that can be found in the Ṛeg Veda, where it refers to poetic hymns which were sung by Sanskritists to the Vedic gods. A mantra is basically a phrase that has no meaning. The idea is to use a word or a sentence, and repeat the same thing over and over again while being in a state of meditation. ‘I am Alex’ has meaning as there is a history behind it. But using the words ‘I am’ is just a statement of one’s existence. For example, Jesus said, “before Abraham was I am”. The idea behind using a mantra or sacred syllables such as Om Mani Padme Hum is that there is no association with an object or particular perception so your mind is inclined to become quiet.
The constant interference between a mantra and a person’s thoughts, while they are in a state of meditation, allows them to slide into a spiritual state which is known as a ‘gap’ or their core consciousness. This is the connection to a person’s soul and to the mystery of their existence.
The Mantra is also usually defined as a spiritual tool that is used to purify the practitioner’s mind from disturbing and negative thoughts. It allows a person to delve deep within their subconscious and concentrate on their heart and soul. The only way to make the mantra work will be to practice it with complete devotion. It is important to remember that even though there are several techniques that one could use, there is no one-size-fits-all formula to using the mantra and each person needs to find the mantras which will work for the best.
There is no correct formula for how much attention one should give to the mantra during meditation. The balance is mainly determined by what your mind and body need during meditation and should come easily to you as you go through your spiritual evolution.