Japa meditation is an ancient practice of mantra chanting, usually done with a mala. Japa is a two part Sanskrit word, 'Ja' meaning destruction of the birth-death cycle, and 'Pa' meaning destruction of sins, liberating the soul from the bondage of the web of samsara. Generally speaking it is usually described and translated as the utterance of sacred sound, mantra, or divine name.
This type of meditation practice is to focus on the divine, to call it in, channel it, connect to it, and ultimately become it.
When we chant mantras we use our instruments of voice and mind to create the vibration of that essence, affecting the vibrations of our being, altering it to the frequency of the divine name, and elevating our consciousness.
Before we get too far, let's cover some basics...
Mantra is also a two part Sanskrit 'Man' meaning mind and 'Tra' meaning vehicle or tool. Thus, mantra meditation is a "tool for the mind". This practice keeps the mind on a single focus, and like the breath or a song that is stuck in your head, it will continue in the background of your mind when it wonders off course.
It will pull you back in like the undertide of a wave pulling you back into the ocean of consciousness.
Japa meditation is traditionally done using a mala, a sacred rosary of 108 beads plus an additional Guru bead, also known as a Meru bead meaning mountain bead. 108 is a sacred number in many cultures that represents spiritual completion, unity and wholeness, there are 108 moon’s distance between the moon and the earth, 108 sun's distance between the sun and the earth, and numerologically the number 1 represents divine consciousness, 0 indicates a void because everything on this earth is only temporary and eventually we all return to the void in which er came, and 8 represents the infinity of creation. The Guru bead hold all intentions, prayers, and essence of the mantra being chanted.
A mantra can be chanted out loud, in a whisper, or in silence. In the beginning it is most common to chant out loud so that there is more external stimulation to keep your monkey mind coming back into focus, however as the practice goes on, becomes more sacred, and the connection between you and the divine increases it is likely you will naturally slip into the more subtle, quite ways of practice. To whisper or even chant silently is to quiet the mind and truly listen to the divinity being called.
That being said, it is very important that you know what it is that you are calling in. It is important to gather knowledge and guidance of the mantra you are chanting, and to gain clarity on your intentions for the practice.
Mantras are like magic spells that when chanted invoke divinity and cultivate power beyond our ordinary human capabilities. It is important that your heart is open, your intentions are pure, and you are ready for the magic that will enter into and change your life forever.
When you begin chanting a mantra, slowly but surely you will observe changes taking place inside and outside of your mind. Your thoughts will change, your beliefs will evolve, and your concept of "I" will become less stable. You will likely notice that you are developing the qualities that you are calling in, that synchronicities happen more obviously, and the connection between you and the divine will grow stronger and stronger, until one day there is no more separation.
One more thing before you go...
Japa and mantra meditations are often recommended to be done in 40 day cycles in order for real change in your psyche to be established. I strongly suggest and recommend this discipline for anyone that is being called into this practice. Chanting the same mantra each day (without missing a day) creates a rhythm, a Sadhana (spiritual practice) for those who are seeking more than the mundane and illusory human life.
and so it is, you come back to the oneness of our divinity,
If your curious about embarking on this adventure and are looking for guidance check out my Meditation Transformation Page.