Mantra & Silence
As if it isn't difficult enough to find the time to meditate, some styles of meditation prescribe complete silence as their way of getting into the zone. Confusingly, other schools advocate the use of mantras or chants to go deeper. Then there's guided meditations. Also lets not forget the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra a 5000 year ancient Indian text considered by many as the last word on meditation that contains 112 techniques!
These two groups use Mantra Meditation: Christian Meditation and Transcendental Meditation rather then Mindfulness silence and both make valuable contributions to Meditation in Schools. Mantra meditation is a well established and valuable meditation practice that has been around for many centuries. More information and contact details are on the left side navigation with links to related pages.
Many, possibly most, of the practitioners of Meditation who use a mantra use Sanskrit mantras though the science of Meditation does not tell you what mantras to use. The mantra might be in Sanskrit or any other language, either one's native tongue or the language of one's chosen religion. Some of the more brief meditation mantras are simply sound vibrations that are not from any particular language, though being root sounds of languages. These are called seed or bija mantras. Often the mantra is prescribed by one's teacher or lineage, or is practiced in accordance with one's religious affiliation. Or it might be a universal mantra such as the Soham mantra.
Is one method really better than the others?
The Verdict: There's value in all kinds of meditation techniques, so experiment and choose the style you prefer.
Asking if silent meditation is better than vocal meditation is like wondering if chunky peanut butter is better than smooth. You and I may have our own preferences, but neither is inherently better than the other.
The range of Meditations taught in UK Schools form three streams:
An example of these are the Guided Focus Meditations with Daniel Goleman.
Many people find the use of mantras (repeated words or phrases) to be a great benefit, and Transcendental Meditation (TM) is the most widely known. Every TM student is given a specific mantra to use for the entirety of their practice where in Christian Mediation the mantra is shared.
Secular mindfulness meditationis is the major form taught in UK schools. One of the main organisation teaching secular mindfulness to pupils, teachers and parents in the UK is the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP).
The 5000 year old Vigyan Bhairav Tantra contains 112 techniques of Meditation and a detailed commentary was given by Osho during 1972-73 in India. These were published in a book titled 'The Book of Secrets' pictured above. Many consider this book as one of the most important of the 698 books of Osho. Links: PDF and Audio.
With acknowledgement and thanks to Jenn Sturiale