A mantra is simply a word or sound we make over and over again, either by repeating it aloud or simply by thinking it. According to Vedic tradition, a mantra is an instrument of the human mind; repeating a mantra such as “Ohm” facilitates a very deep meditative state and is believed to expand our awareness of our own divine God or spiritual guide, whatever each of us believes that be.
Mantras and Meditation
As we meditate with our favorite mantra, we are able to enter into a much deeper level of awareness. As the mantra being repeated fills our minds, it allows us to fall into the gaps between random thoughts. Mantras are also helpful because repeating them leaves very little room for disruptive thoughts that may interrupt your meditative flow. According to Deepak Chopra, mantras are said to lead us into a field of pure consciousness. This state of pure consciousness then allows us to reach the very source of the mind, which is our spirit.
Mantras as Intentions
In Sanskrit, “Man” (pronounced “mon”) means mind. “Tra” (pronounced trah) means instrument. A mantra, therefore, is an instrument we use to connect us with our spirits. Mantras can also be considered our intentions. When we repeat our intentions over and over again, they become our focus, which in turn leads us to our intention naturally. This is a double-edged sword though – negative self-talk is also a mantra of sorts but it is the kind of mantra that leads us straight to our own doom. For example, if you are constantly thinking, “I’m so overweight. I’m so much bigger than her. I’ll never be skinny,” these things will manifest in your life exactly the way you thought about them. You will remain overweight, which leads to depression and often self-medicating behaviors such as drinking to excess, drugs or other risky behaviors. This is obviously not the ideal. Understanding and using positive mantras is how we create our own realities, through conscious or unconscious intentions. If there is an area of your life that you feel needs extra care and attention, assign a positive mantra to those thoughts and repeat it daily as many times as you can.
You can think of your mantra as your “power words” that have the ability to unite us all in the very powerful state of oneness with all beings. Though many people repeat their mantras while meditating, it is not necessary to be secluded or in a silent room to successfully use our mantras throughout the day. Simply thinking about your power words over and over is like a mini-meditation. Try it next time you are waiting on a bus or in a crowded elevator. Repeat your mantra and you will notice right away that everything else around you—the chaos, noise, sounds and movements of other people—falls away as your mind focuses on your positive word, instead of taking notice of all the perceptive annoyances of everyday life. Making this habit a long-term lifestyle goal has the ability literally to change not only your life, but also the lives of people whom you may come in contact with in your professional life, on the train, or at home with your friendships and romantic partnerships. Your deeper level of awareness allows your mind to be open to more possibilities, thereby enhancing your creative abilities, problem-solving skills and aptitude in general.
Some Mantras to Try
- I Accept Myself
Self-acceptance is not easy. We must be honest with ourselves, accept the way we are and take the necessary steps to make changes if we don’t like what we see.
- I Am Gentle with Myself
Especially if you have a demanding professional life or are really active while staying at home to raise your children, it’s important not be too hard on yourself. Examine your self-talk. Would you talk that way to another person? Be kind to yourself.
- I Will Take My Time
Too often we let the shortcomings of other people stress us out, rushing around to do more than our fair share of work for the sake of the project. This is not good self-care. Not only will slowing down enhance the quality of your work, it also makes you a better listener, which in turn translates into better working relationships, both at home and at work. Think quality over quantity.
- I Have An Open Mind and Open Heart
Being open is challenging, especially when you may have been hurt in the past. But remaining open in your heart and mind is essential to living a positive and balanced life. Being open takes courage.
Mantras can be very helpful in positively affecting your life both professionally and personally. You will find your thinking is clearer, your ability to focus is enhanced and your awareness is heightened. What will your mantra be today?
Bernal, Sirena. (2014). “4 Simple Mantras to Help You Stay Positive and Happy.” http://tinybuddha.com/blog/4-simple-mantras-to-help-you-stay-positive-and-happy/. Internet. Retrieved 29 December 2014.