“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?”
Sufis say: “there is a Secret hidden in the heart of man”. It reminds us about itself with every beat of the heart. It’s secretly present in each breath. All religions and spiritual traditions talk about it. All confirm the sacredness of the inner space of the heart. Yet, the Secret hidden in the heart of man is revealed to very few. And very few chose to actually stop for a moment and listen to their heart’s secret melody.
Oh, if people would just know, how many wonders are hidden in their own hearts!
Practicing meditation since more than 10 years, I am still astonished, how much beauty and how many secrets can be found in a human heart.
When I saw my heart’s secret light for the first time in my life, in one of my first meditations ever, it was a lifechanging experience. In moments like that, if you are an atheist, you are immediately transformed into believer. Because you simply can’t deny your own experience.
In the tradition of yoga or sufism, there are plenty of meditations of the heart. But very few people know, that even the saints of early Christianity, were advising to their disciples a meditation on the heart. Recently I’ve found this wondrous meditation written by Saint Nicephorus of Mount Athos from 13th century:
You can find this wonderful description (and many other gems) in the Philokalia, a collection of texts written between the 4th and 15th centuries by spiritual masters of the Eastern Orthodox hesychast tradition. Saint Nicephorus writes further about the prayer of the heart:
And then… he advises to chant the mantra.
No joking. In fact, Saint Nicephorus and other saints, whose works you can read in Philokalia, give there a very detailed description of meditation with mantra practice, with the only difference, that they use Jesus Prayer as their mantra. They explain in great detail how the inward chanting of the mantra should be aligned with the breath, and even with a heartbeat… They describe also beautifully a whole process of chanting the mantra in such a way, all benefits coming from it, as well as potential obstacles that a beginner can experience on his way.
They call it Prayer of the Heart.
I was so impressed when I read this for the first time. The description of Eastern “Prayer of the Heart” is in so many places so similar to the ancient yogic practice of meditation with the mantra. Similarities are even in the name itself! Mantra comes from the combination of two sanskrit words: man which means “the heart”, and tra, “repetition”. Thus, mantra is something to be repeated in the heart. A prayer of the heart.
That’s the true meaning of the mantra.
Most people start to chant the mantra, to get some external effects coming from it. Stress relief. Calmness. Concentration. Healing. Or simply to “restart”. (All of that I was explaining in my previous blog post.) And if you are also seeking one of those, you will surely get it from diligent repetition of the mantra. But there are very few who actually ask the important question:
But why? From where comes the source of power in mantra? Why does it bring me inner feeling of calmness and security? Why it seems to attract good things into my life? Why is it so potent?
You think, that if you would just sit down and repeat “parrot, parrot, parrot”, you will get the same effect?
There are such words, such mantras, and such prayers, that awaken something deeper in the heart of man. You might not notice it in the beginning. You will notice maybe only that you are more peaceful after the mantra practice. That your mind is more clear and intellect more sharp. You may even have some physical sensation of certain lightness in the body, like some heavy burden was taken away from you. But this peacefulness, this feeling of harmony, which you experience after mantra practice, comes from something much deeper… From the source of the Divinity within you.
It’s the Divine itself that awakens within human, when you call it consciously or unconsciously through the mantra. In fact, process of chanting the mantra is nothing else but calling of the heart for the Divine within you to reveal itself, and manifest the harmony in your own life.
Chanting the mantra is calling for your true nature to reveal itself.
If you practice the mantra regularly, you will get this “glimpse” of the higher consciousness one day. Many people reveal, that the more they chant their mantra, the more they start to feel certain warmness in their heart, certain longing, combined with deep joy and serenity… Everybody experiences it differently, as each soul is unique. When the vibrations of your heart are being raised, you feel it as a wondrous mixture of feelings, that is hard to experience in any other way. Your whole perception of the world changes, and things that used to bother you before, don’t have any power on you anymore.
Instead of soaking all the inharmonious noises from the outer world, you start to feel the inner “melody” of your mantra so clearly, that no noise can possibly drown it out. When you become aligned with the inner “song” of your heart, everything becomes easier, as the higher “melody” within you, starts to guide each of your steps towards harmony.
And then, one day, you realise, that this sacred inner melody, which starts to secretly work through your life, bringing meaning and guidance to each of your actions, peacefulness for your mind and bliss to your heart…
…is nothing (and no one) else, but the Divine.
And when that moment comes, the tremendous shift in the perception happens. It’s hard to even put into any words. The moment, when you truly realize, that all this peacefulness, all this bliss, comes from higher source within you, you will want to have it more and more. Would you be satisfied with just a little bit of cash, if you know you can have a whole bank? When the soul realizes, what it’s really seeking for, then meditation or chanting the mantra is no longer obligation or discipline for the mind. It becomes an enormous joy that one is looking forward to. Each moment of meditation becomes the moment with the Divine. And each such moment becomes so precious, that you wish to get at least one such a minute every time you get the free time.
I tell you, I know so many people, who during their job go to toilet and meditate there for at least one minute! Do you think they do so, because they are so disciplined or so concerned about their stress relief?
No, they do so, because for them, each such a moment is the moment with the Divine. The sacred moment of the soul. The moment, when they simply feel bliss.
If you are a beginner in meditation with the mantra and reading this article, you might not understand much of what I wrote here. You might think: “It all sounds very nice, but such experiences are very far away from me”. But is your heart very far away from you? This potential, to experience the intimacy with your own soul, lies within each one of us. I remember, how in the beginning of my journey with the mantra it also seemed to me that I make no progress in meditation and such experiences don’t lie within my reach. But today, after 10 years, I look at my life from before, and I can’t even recognize this person, whom I was before. So many positive changes has happened in my life, that it would be enough to fill whole book. So many true soul experiences.
That is why I wish to share this with you.
I know, how important it is in the beginning of our journey with meditation to read about the experiences of others. And that’s the only reason why I am writing all these blog posts.
But, please, don’t get satisfied with just this, what is written here! Make your own experience. If you already practice meditation with the mantra, you probably already know, that the mantra, the prayer of the heart, can bring some good into your life. But, please, don’t stop just on that experience. Go deeper into your inner forest, because there is so much more waiting to be discovered!
When this inner longing will awaken in your heart, it is when your meditation with the mantra will turn into true prayer of the heart. Mantra will become the first thing you will hear inside of yourself in the morning, and the last one your heart will repeat before going to sleep. In fact, there is no better prayer than the mantra! You will understand after some time, that there is not even a need to ask for anything during such a prayer. Everything will be given. Simply because your mind will be clear enough, and your vibrations divine enough to attract all the goodness into your life, so effortlessly and naturally as your breathing.
But words are of no use here. You can only make your own experience.
I know how greatly this inner prayer of the heart, the daily practice of a mantra has changed my life and my gratefulness for that will never cease, as every single day I face this or other miracle along my journey. Little by little, I try to write some of those experiences here. But it’s all just to encourage you to make your own experience. If you wish to start your own journey with the mantra, please, feel free, to contact me. I will gladly share with you this precious gift.