My meditation space, which is the balcony off my bedroom here in Singapore, happens to directly face the Indonesian Embassy next door. And my favourite time to enter meditation is in the moments before the dawn.
The streets below my balcony are still and sleepy and my mind is clear and open, before the mental traffic of the day comes streaming in. In this still pause before the daybreak it is easier to connect with the highest possibility that already exists in the weave of experiences and exchanges yet to play out. What’s divine about this time to meditate and pray is that it’s when Fajar begins, the first of the five prayer times for Muslims. The haunting and profound call to prayer spirals up into the predawn sky from the Embassy at ‘subh saadiq’ or true dawn; when the morning light appears across the full width of the sky. This beautiful and ancient lone voice accompanies and carries my intention into the day.
There is something enormously powerful about sounded prayer and decree. An intent that is voiced, has an emanating energy to it, that a silent prayer or intent only whispers on the Inner. By sounding out the calls from our soul, we project them into our external reality and create change. The call of the soul is a primal human expression as old as the species and it adds a powerful dimension to meditation practice. In most of the courses I offer, there is an element of sounded intent or affirmation – whether to deepen the energetic process of holding Mudras or Chakra connection; or as a tool for healing, clearing negative energy from the personal or collective field, and manifesting change.
Here are five types of Divine Decrees that I love to work with. All achieve different but potent results in meditation.
To enter a meditative state we need to settle down the central nervous system and thought activity first. The most accessible and direct way to do this is by focusing on the breath. The breath, brain and nervous system are linked in very cool ways that we can work with.
Using decrees to help settle the awareness on the breath can be very centering. It works to slip the mind into witness mode through simply commentating on the act of breathing. Combining decree with the movement of the breath creates a space internally between the body’s function and your centre of awareness. This is the internal space of meditation. The breathing needs to be nasal breathing for the physiological settling to occur, so when introducing decrees, you can say them internally or even better state them to yourself in between the breaths. Some very simple, but effective breathing decrees are:
“Receive” (then inhale) “Release” (then exhale)
“So” (then inhale) “Hum” (then exhale)
“Breathing in” (then inhale) “Breathing out” (then exhale)
Once that settling has occurred through the breath, the awareness plunges into ‘the deep now’. People often describe this plunge as quite a visceral experience, as the entire system aligns and ‘clicks’ into gear. It feels fantastic on all levels. It is when the physical body starts to heal and regenerate, and it is where the deeper states of meditation can be accessed. When I feel that ‘plunge’ occur, I honour it with a decree. My all-time favourite decree for this purpose is Thich Nhat Hanh’s:
I have arrived
I am home
In the Here
In the Now
I am stable
I am free
In the ultimate I dwell.
There is a power in the simplicity of these statements; a very resonant truth. My tip is to learn them by heart, so you can decree them from the heart.
There are many beautiful decrees to open the heart space for meditation. Gratitude, Compassion, Forgiveness and Loving Kindness meditations all require an activation and opening of the heart-space for the vibrational alchemy to occur. My new most favourite decree to use for this purpose is the Reiki affirmation. To enable a flow of healing Light to the person seeking healing, the Reiki practitioner must expand their heart space. It is a similar process in Shamanic Healing too. The Shamanic practicioner must transform their awareness to ‘the hollow-bone’ and I suspect every energetic healing modality requires a displacement of the small ‘I’ and an opening of the heart, so that a higher flow can be accessed.
To open up the heart for Reiki to flow, there are five simple but powerful affirmations used. In my experience they are far more powerful when sounded; when decreed as statements of truth. These statements work beautifully in meditation too. They are a fabulous way to start every day.
Just for today, I am free from anger
Just for today, I am free from worry
I am grateful for all that I have
I work hard on myself for the better
I am kind to all
As with all Divine Decrees, the magic is in the experience of them. These simple five statements have such a profound opening effect on my heart space and therefore my entire system it tricky to put into words. Just try them and feel it for yourself!
The Japa Mala and The Holy Rosary:
It’s quite trendy these days to wear Japa Mala beads or Rosary beads as a necklaces, however the true spiritual use for them is far, far beyond aesthetics. In fact dedicated practitioners of both the Japa Mala and Rosary never wear them and when using them keep them hidden.
Integral to practicing Japa is the mantra. Whilst there are four types of Japa: audible, whispered, mental and written, it’s the audible/sounded Japa that we currently practice in my classes and retreats. The mantra can be a personal mantra given by a Guru or in a dream, or any of the themed Sanskrit mantras to engender certain states and transformations.
The word Japa means ‘to rotate’. I find this process simply delicious. By gently and steadily repeating the mantra whilst rotating through the 108 beads the consciousness is gently ‘rotated’ towards the highest truth of the mantra, enabling an embodiment of that truth.
Sometimes I will practice Japa with an affirmation; a statement of truth that I wish to nurture and grow within. For example: “I am unconditional love,” or “I am free.” Other times I repeat one of the ancient Sanskrit mantras. The beautiful vibration of “Om Mani Padme Hum” is a favourite. It powerfully enables embodiment of compassion deep within my heart, my inner spaces and every cell of my body.
Another form of a ‘rotating’ decree is the Rosary. My mum has a deep and abiding connection to The Holy Mother through the Rosary. She practices it every day and it was our household prayer of choice when growing up. The Rosary works in the same way, and the sounded mantra or prayer is the invocation and worship of the Divine Mother, ‘Mother Mary’, and all that she represents: compassion, unconditional love, healing, protection, and guidance. There are 54 rotations in the Rosary, which is interestingly exactly half the number of rotations of the Japa. I love to ponder what the real connection is between the two actually is. Perhaps it is in sacred numbers, or perhaps influences gathered by early church pilgrims through Northern India in the 12th century.
Lat year my girlfriend Jane brought me back a pretty quartz Rosary and some holy waters from the grotto at Mejugorje, the sacred site in Bosnia where apparitions of the Virgin Mary have been received for the last 30 years. It has become one of my favourite sounded ‘rotations’ of late. Sometimes I wake slightly earlier than the predawn meditation time and I am prompted to practice the Rosary. I dedicate each decade to a woman in my field who is seeking healing and wholeness. It is an enormously powerful way to use Divine Decree and connect the healing powers of the Divine Feminine with women in need. I love it!
Keep meditating and don’t be shy to make some noise when you do!
© 2017 Dani Van de Velde. All Rights Reserved.
Originally published at themeditationteacher.net