Often, I get questions about whether people are holding the mala right, how to breathe during the practice, if the tune is right, how to sit, where their hands should be, etc.
These are great questions. In my opinion, there’s no one answer or “right” way to do it that applies to everyone, so I won’t attempt to offer blanket advice.
However, if after learning the correct, letter-by-letter pronunciation of your mantra for meditation and some general guidelines about mantra meditation, you’re concerned about the technicalities and it’s distracting you from your deeper goal, I’d like to offer a few words that would apply universally.
In general, since your intention was around resting, centering, calming, and relaxing the idea that you have to control everything, I challenge you with love to apply that to this practice.
It can be easy for us to use the meditation/yoga/spiritual practice as just another exercise for our egos to “get it right” and feel good because we’re doing it well… That’s a natural extension of the way we approach other, more external goals in life.
But here, you don’t “do” yoga, it undoes “you!”
If you’re blessed enough to have the wisdom to engage a 40-day mantra meditation practice, right here and now you have a chance to relax into that infinite auspiciousness/peace (a.k.a. “Śiva”) which is your True Nature.
I encourage you to let the technicalities of the practice support that intention rather than distract you from it.
I suggest you do the opposite of what you said is your normal approach to life (control). Simply enjoy. Enjoy the feeling of the beads in your hand. Your butt on the cushion. The breath in your body. The words on your tongue. The sound in your being.
Enjoy for the sake of the enjoyer…
(who is, also, aka Śiva, from a tantric perspective!)