And other spiritual practices too! As per my previous “practice post” three days ago, I do a 22min sit in the morning, followed by a chant that is the traditional 108 repetitions.¹
I quite often accompany my chanting with “Trāṭaka”, which is simply staring at a flame. I learned that years ago, in my late teens or early twenties, but never practiced it seriously. It can help push you into the trance state for sure, and considering do it fresh off a 22min sit with binaural beat technology, the effects can be profound.
I almost always get creative ideas while seated. A hermetics, Franz Bardon style mental challenging is to both push those thoughts away, or to discard them, but to make a silent mental note to remember them after. I usually put something to write on down on the floor, near my mediation spot, so that I can jot notes down between the two parts of my morning practice.
“Practice” used to mean the physical practice of Astanga yoga to me. I still do yoga but don’t consider myself an Astangi, because though I still practice my own version of it, I only do it once a week, twice max, and I consider it to be firmly a PART of my exercise program, rather than the focus of my existence.
Now my “practice” is my spiritual practice, anything concerning meditation, pranayama, hermetics, chanting etc.
¹ One take: Different significance is attributed to different numbers by different people and traditions, and I will therefore not claim to have the only and final answer on this question. However, I can share with you one of the explanations that is given by the sages and scriptures in India for the significance of the number 108, and why mantras are recited at least 108 times, or multiples of this number.
In the Vedic tradition great importance is given to mantras as a means to influence vibrations and energies that are present in the creation. Mantras are sound vibrations, and as modern science now also teaches us (Quantum Physics) this whole creation is made up of energy that is vibrating in different frequencies. There is no such thing as solid matter, as even atoms and protons, electrongs, etc appear to be nothing more than space and energy that is vibrating in some way or other. In the ancient Vedic tradition they categorized different types of vibrations that have specific effects on us and our environment as devatas or gods/angels – that is why it was said that devatas have a mantra sharira, which means their body (sharira) is made up of vibrations (mantra).. meaning that they are nothing but vibrations.
Another take: The ancient Indians about 5000 BC or beyond figured out an incredible ratio. They figured out and accurately calculated that the diameter of the sun multiplied 108 times gives you the distance from the earth to the sun, and correspondingly, the diameter of the moon multiplied 108 times gives you the distance from the earth to the moon.
Western astronomy just managed to catch up just in the last 200 years with these estimates.
108 therefore becomes an amazing cosmic ratio of the closest two planets that effect earth and human fortunes.
And another: Because there are nine planets and twelve constellations. When nine planets revolve around the twelve constellations, it brings 108 kinds of changes. If there is anything wrong in these changes, it can be rectified with the positive energy of the mantras.