Om meditation is one of several types of meditation in which users recite a mantra or chant while meditating. During meditation, the word "om" is repeated multiple times and is believed to contain cosmic energy that helps relieve a person’s individual suffering. Some medical studies even suggest that om meditation may help relieve the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suffered by soldiers who have experienced active combat.
Also known as transcendental meditation, om meditation is purported to increase mental clarity and calm nervousness. By using om chanting meditation, practitioners report the ability to make better decisions, as well as the benefit of living with a more peaceful awareness of the world. Other reported benefits of meditation include enhanced memory function, better interpersonal relationships, more restful sleep and significant stress reduction.
Those who engage in mantra meditation maintain that most people can learn to practice this type of meditation with relative ease. By simply being still and repeating a mantra, the body shifts toward a natural state of relaxation. Some people merely repeat "om" several times in a rhythmic fashion during meditation, while others repeat the words "hari om" instead, where "hari" is translated as "the remover." Often, this type of meditation is practiced alone, but can also be practiced in a group setting or with the guided assistance of an audio recording of a mantra being repeated multiple times.
Unlike other meditation techniques, om meditation does not require intense concentration and effort, nor does it require those doing meditation to intentionally attempt to control their mental state. Mantra meditation, instead, relies on the energy created by the mantra to help quiet stress and produce the desired results from meditation. Practicing meditation also does not require special preparation, as mantras can be simply whispered, spoken out loud or even silently repeated in the mind even while a person is immersed in an otherwise busy setting.
Doctors who have studied the effects of practicing om meditation on soldiers returning from war have found this particular meditation technique to be particularly helpful in reducing stressful thoughts and memories. Soldiers who suffer from PTSD have shown marked improvements in coping with stress and anxiety, and appear to benefit from better sleep habits after engaging in mantra meditation. Om meditation has also helped soldiers more positively adjust to civilian life with improved communication with others and fewer negative reactions to stress.