Spiritual Exercises – Mantras
We know that sound of a certain frequency shatters glass. A sound can have a calming or unnerving effect on our mind and body because they are vibrations through the air. Since we also vibrate at the atomic level, sounds can have a beneficial or detrimental effect on us.
If you are exposed to the sound of a power tool for some time, your head can feel sensitive afterwards, and you feel a bit jangly.
If you listen to sounds from nature like water trickling or falling, or a fire crackling, it is soothing.
Mantras, which are chanted vowel combinations, have a soothing and healing effect on our mind and body. Mantra is a Sanskrit word that means ‘mind protection’, and, a sacred word or sound.
Sacred words and sounds are universal in all religious mystical traditions because the root of all creation is in the Great Breath or the Word (the Logos) –
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… All things were made by him..! [John 1:1]
The seven major chakras (energy vortices) are meta-physically linked to systems in the physical body – the spinal cord, the autonomic nervous system, and the endocrine system, and, surrounds us with a vibrational energy called the ‘aura’.
The vowels of the alphabet correspond to five of the major chakras of the subtle (light) body. Vowel Mantras are chanted out loud in meditation.
When I practised spiritual psychology with the Gnostic Movement, one of the group activities was the chanting of the vowels – A, E, I, O and U.
Here are the five Vowel Mantras and their chakra points with their corresponding psychic faculty.
Third Eye Chakra ‘I’ – Clairvoyance
This chakra is associated with the pituitary gland, located between the eyebrows, and holds the faculty of clairvoyance.
This is the ability to ‘see’ an object, place, event, or person, without seeing with the eyes. It can appear as an image flash in your mind’s eye.
The vowel that stimulates this chakra center is ‘I’ – pronounced like the ‘i’ in the work ‘ink’.
Throat Chakra ‘E’ – Clairaudience
Colour: Sky blue
This chakra is associated with the thyroid gland in the larynx, and holds the faculty of clairaudience.
This is the ability to ‘hear’ sounds that are not audible to the physical ear.
An example of this is when a person hears a voice in their head. It could be that of a recently deceased person or their higher self. It can be ‘heard’ as a whisper or a distinct voice. This faculty is responsible for saving people from danger, like when a voice may warn, ‘Don’t go there now’.
The vowel that stimulates this chakra center is ‘E’, pronounced like the ‘e’ in the word ‘egg’.
Heart Chakra ‘O’ – Intuition
This chakra is associated with the center of the chest, the heart area, and holds the faculty of intuition. Intuition is that knowing, or hunch, or ‘gut feel’ you get – quite subtle but definite.
It is insight that comes from beyond the rational mind. Intuition is very useful, as we know, and also helps with interpreting dreams and their symbolism.
The vowel that stimulates this chakra center is ‘O’, pronounced like the ‘o’ in the word ‘door’.
Solar Plexus Chakra ‘U’ – Telepathy
This chakra is associated with the pancreas, located in the area just above the navel, and holds the faculty of telepathy. This is the ability to perceive the thoughts and emotions of others.
Examples of telepathy include thinking something that someone then says out loud in the next moment. Or, when you think about a person out of the blue, and the next minute, they call you.
The vowel that stimulates this chakra center is ‘U’, pronounced like the ‘oo’ in the word ‘moon’.
Lung Chakra ‘A’ – Past life memory
Colour: Green (a subsidiary chakra to the heart chakra)
This chakra is associated with the lungs, located in the pulmonary area, and holds the faculty of recollection of past lives.
The vowel that stimulates this chakra center is ‘A’, pronounced like the ‘a’ in the word ‘march’.
Mantra chanting technique
1. Sit in an upright chair and keep your spine straight in a good posture.
2. Inhale through the nose slowly to fill up the lungs, then,
3. As you exhale, vocalise the letter in a continuous chant like – aaaaaaaaaaaaa – until your lungs are emptied.
4. As you chant, you can picture in your mind’s eye, the chakra spinning like a wheel. All the chakras spin in clockwise direction.
Chant one vowel for each session, don’t mix them. A session should last 20 minutes, non stop. At first, start out with one session a day for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then build up to 20 minutes.
The physical benefit is felt after doing a session of at least 20 minutes long. Internally, you feel silky and lighter in the body.
Build up the ability to chant vowels
When you first try vowel mantra chanting, it will seem like work. But don’t worry, as with all forms of exercise, you need to develop the muscle strength. For this reason, try to do a session each day and stay with one vowel for four weeks, before moving on to the next one.
This will allow you to develop a feel for each chakra and give you time to see how you are developing the associated faculty.
Once you’ve been doing this for six months or more, those chakras will spin more smoothly and be quite balanced. It is then that you can combine all five vowels in one mantra session. Like this:
Inhale, then exhale IIIIIIIIIIIII
Inhale, then exhale EEEEEEEEEE
Inhale, then exhale OOOOOOO
Inhale, then exhale UUUUUUUU
Inhale, then exhale AAAAAAAAA