544. another excerpt from 17: the way of the mantra

the guru said, “pick a mantra, any mantra!”

one of his students said, “om!”

“that’s great!” the guru replied.

another said, “#zen!”

“fantastic,” said the guru.

a third said, “won’t picking anything we want defeat the purpose of mantra meditation, which is to utter a particular vibration that is connected to the universe?”

the guru replied, “that’s a wonderful mantra!”

before the student could object, the guru continued, “once you have a mantra, you close your eyes and say it, out loud. and then you say it again. and then you say it again and again, and you say it at different speeds and in different tones of voice.”

and the student replied, “is that a mantra, too?”

“no, those were instructions.”

“is that a mantra, too?”

“no, i am explaining myself!”

“is that a mantra, too?”

“oh,” said the guru, “you have found you mantra!”

the student said it over and over again, and as he did, he passed through the three stages of mantra meditation: meaning, non-meaning, and new-meaning. “in meaning, you understand the literal meaning of the phrase. in non-meaning, it means nothing. in new meaning, you have a new understanding of it. when you find new meaning with a mantra, and you feel as if you have learned something, that is when you stop. this is mantra meditation.”

if you enjoyed this meditation, purchase 17 for whatever you are willing to pay.