As we move towards the end of the year we should be thinking how to do better in 2017. Endings are a natural time to reset, to take a good look at where we are and where we want to be. As chanting japa (mantra meditation) is one of the key ways we develop our relationship with Krishna the following excerpt by HH Sacinandana Swami shares some ways to be more focused and move to deeper levels of meditation in our chanting:
“At the very least, try to chant without external interruptions. Attach your mind to the Divine Names, one by one as They move over your tongue. To be attentive, you must be present ‘in the here and now’ – relentlessly. Practice it! Bind your mind to the ‘naked now’ – weld it to the Name, which is right now! Seize the present Name.
To be attentive and present you must be patient. Endure your inner dryness that always pushes your thoughts into seeking relief in the ‘oasis’ of past or future possibilities. There is no past or future; they are only figments of the mind. Krishna will be watching all this from a hidden place. He is especially interested to see where you will run for relief in those dull moments of dryness. Convince Him that you know that only he can truly relieve you, and then He will come out of hiding. He will respond to you in the heart when the time is right.
Meanwhile, be happy to stay in His presence. No matter how much you try to quiet your mind, thoughts are bound to disturb the peace, eventually. It is similar to the blue cloudless sky; eventually clouds are sure to form and roam across its vastness. There is no need to battle the mind in the hopeless effort to annihilate distracting thoughts. Let the impersonalist yogis try to fight the mind; they will find out that it will not work. Our strategy is positive. Instead of trying to empty the mind of what is bad, let us fill it with what is good: the Names.
If you fight the mind it will only get more strength from your attention. Attentive chanting is simply to lay aside our thoughts. It is not a savage fight of furious repression. It is a soft, beautiful, persistent act of engaging the thoughts within the Holy Name. Look up! Turn to the Lord! Ask for help with the expression of a joyful child turning to its mother. Then you will see the spiritual world unfold, not by your own power but by the power of the Name.
Above all, stay conscious of the people you are addressing – the ones named by the names. Then you can chant with a devotional mood and an inner attitude of worship, making the effort to please the Divine Couple by calling on Their names.”