Awake in the World

Awake in the World

Mantras and Centering Prayer to Focus the Mind

Using a centering prayer or mantra to focus the mind is an ancient practice that continues to bring peace and fulfillment. It helps to uplift the mind when all around are filled with worry and fear. 

Using a centering prayer or mantra is easy. Choose a word or divine name that you wish to focus on. The word maybe “peace,” “love,” “Om,” “Shanthi” (which is Sanskrit for peace) or another word that elevates the mind. If you prefer a divine name like Buddha, Jesus, Allah, Rama, Krishna, Mother Mary or another, choose one that you’ll remain loyal to and hold it in your mind.


Here’s the simple practice:

1)    Choose the word or name.

2)    Repeat it over and over for one minute. When the mind wanders, bring it back to the word or name. A mala or prayer beads may help to connect the physical movement to the mental practice. A bead is moved forward with each repetition.

3)    Let the mind continue to dwell in the peace and joy of the word or name.

4)    When worrisome or troubling thoughts enter the mind, return to the repetition of the centering prayer or divine name.

This practice is deceptively simple. It trains the mind to remain focused and it helps to pull it up to elevated thoughts and feelings. It has a powerfully transformative effect. Give it a try for yourself and see.


A mantra may be as simple as the word, “Om,” which is said to contain all the sacred elements of sound, or it may be more complex like “Om Namah Shivaya” or include mantras to the elements or specific deities. Mantras are considered powerful because sound invokes the energies of the particular element or deities. Find a mantra that holds meaning and power for you and repeat it over and over silently to yourself or aloud. This practice energizes and calms the wayward wanderings of the chattering mind and can be particularly useful in times of stress.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at

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