Music and Mantra
I had a really interesting experience last night.
I started a simple meditation routine with the mantra “Om Nama Shivaya” in my head. I coordinated it with my breath, which was most comfortable at six seconds in, six seconds out, and I kind of settled into a rhythm of two groups of three:
Inhale: Om Nama Shivaya Om Nama Shivaya
Exhale: Om Nama Shivaya Om Nama Shivaya
Next thing I knew, I had drifted into improvising one of my favorite flamenco guitar pieces in my head. Wait a minute, I said. You’re supposed to be meditating. And I gently returned to the mantra.
Then it happened again. I was playing the Tientos instead of reciting the mantra. I again refocused on the mantra.
After several rounds of this, I suddenly realized that the rhythm of the mantra (two sets of three in groups of six) matched the rhythm of the Tientos, so I just couldn’t help being drawn into it.
I gave up and just let my mind move back and forth between the music and the mantra.