I want to share a beautiful mantra and meditation practice that I did on the first day of the new year. It is not one that is geared specifically toward the new year (lol I took plenty of intention setting time this year too!), but just something that came to me that integrated a couple of other meditations that I have done.
The practice was a combination of 108 repetitions of the Gayatri mantra, combined with a sort of loving-kindness meditation. The effect on my mood was so uplifting that when I was done I immediately found my close friends nearby and gave them a group hug and told them how much I loved them and completely started tearing up with love.
If you’re not familiar with this beautiful mantra, it is a very special, sacred, and ancient chant. Look it up on Spotify or YouTube for an idea what it sounds like. The Sanskrit is as follows:
Om bhur bhuvah svaha
Tat savitur varenuam
Bhargo devasya dhimahi
Dhiyo yonah pratchodayat
Translated, it means:
We meditate on the luminous glory of the divine Sun; may the knowledge of the radiant one enlighten our understanding
With each incantation of the mantra, call a different person into your mind. Whoever comes to mind, it can be anyone you’ve interacted with. Visualize that person. Think about how much love you have for them, and how could you have more? What hardships are they going through and how can you send them positivity, compassion, empathy? If you’ve had difficulties with this person, how can you forgive them? How can you grow in your own self love and self awareness, from what you’ve learned from your relationship with them? What is one of the sweetest times you’ve shared? What do you wish for them? How can you be happy for their successes, and empathize in their sorrows?
Let it be a free-flow of consciousness from one person to the next. The four lines of the mantra allow time to reflect and really open up gates of love between you and each person you bring to mind. Some people may not even be close to you, others you may not have seen in such a long time. For me, it was not hard to call in 108 different souls who have touched me in some way or another.
When you’re done, sit in silence, noticing how you feel, keeping your focus soft and on your breath, feeling all of your physical and subtle body (koshas) radiant. I was able to practice this outdoors facing the soft winter morning sun and it was incredible.
When I was doing research about the Gayatri mantra to write this post, I came across this quote by spiritual teacher Sathya Sai about the mantra:
The Gayatri Mantra is a sacred chant that demonstrates the unity that underlies manifoldness in creation. It is through the recognition of this unity that we can understand the multiplicity. Clay is one and the same thing, though pots of different shapes and sizes can be made from it. Gold is one, though gold ornaments can be multifarious. The Atma is one, though the embodied forms in which it resides may be many. Whatever the colour of the cow, the milk is always white.
In referencing the sun, it is referencing the divine sun in each of us, as well as omniscient and universal sun. At its core, yoga is unity. At our cores, we are all one with each other.
Maybe you’ll be inspired to practice a meditation like this after reading my post, if you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!