Mantras are the repetition of words and phrases of special significance, and can be said either out loud or internally, chanted or whispered. These words are very powerful and by repeating them, we are be able to elevate our spirit and enter into a meditative state because it will calm our mind. Many times the words will have no meaning for us, but none the less, they will provide us with their healing effect.
All of the spiritual paths have some version of mantra.
To name just a few well known examples:
- Hinduism has the Gayatri mantra,
- Buddhism Om Mani Padme Hum,
- Christianity the Jesus Prayer, and
- Islam the Sufi dhikr.
Many times these are accompanied by a rosary or a string of beads that will help to keep count of how many times we’ve said the mantra. In Christianity the rosary is forms of five groups of 10 beads and one in between these. Budhism uses the malas, which contain 108 beads. 108 is a significant number in Yoga too, so when we say mantras , we do 108.
In order for a habbit to be formed we need to do it consistently for a while, some say 21 days, some 40 days. So if you want to incorporate the recitation of mantras in your life, try is for at least 30 days ;o)
Why use a mantra
Mantras start with the word OM, which is the sound of the universe. Om will convert anything we say after it into a mantra.
You can even create a little song with your mantra. Sound, vibration is the essence of the universe, it is how it all started. By saying a mantra you are literally tuning yourself to resonate at the same vibrational frequency as God, or the specific deity associated with that mantra, or the healing power or intention of that mantra.
Eventually, as you come to resonate at the same frequency as the mantra, the mantra gains its own momentum. At that point, as they say in Sufism, “you stop doing the mantra, and the mantra starts doing you”.
What are the benefits
Mantras have healing powers, not only physically but also emotionally, pspiritually and mentally. Most of us have experienced being caught up in a repetitive pattern of thoughts. When these thoughts are negative or angry this can be particularly unpleasant and often damaging.
By replacing these type of thoughts with a mantra we not only break the habitual negative flow, we also create and reinforce a new flow that is both beneficial and positive.
It’s not necessary to investigate the old thoughts, simply replace them with a mantra.
What Mantras are not
Mantras are not affirmations. Affirmations work on the psychological and emotional level. Although affirmations can be very useful they should not be confused with mantras, which work at a deeper vibrational and spiritual level, and as such are fundamentally different to affirmations.
Mantras are not prayers, in the sense of using your own words to ask for something specific. For example, with a healing mantra you establish in yourself the specific intention to be healed, and then connect with the power of the mantra with that intention, and say only the mantra, and do not use your own words as you would in individualized prayer.
How to use your mantra
Clear your mind. Centre yourself. Take a few deep breaths. It is easy to be distracted and be thinking of something else, even while you are saying your mantra. Having a clear mind helps with concentration and awareness.
Set your intention. Remind yourself why you are using your mantra. Be clear to yourself.
Start saying your mantra, either out loud or internally. Many people find it useful to coordinate the mantra with the breath. Experiment with this to see what works for you.
Connect to the meaning of your mantra. This is a very personal thing, and over time you may find that how you experience your mantra changes, as it becomes part of you, and you become part of it.
Energy in the body
Depending on the type of mantra, you may wish to place your focus on your heart or between your eyebrows as you use the mantra. Or if the mantra is specific for something such as healing, or for a specific chakra, then place your awareness on that part of your body.
Where do I get a mantra?
If you didn’t come last Monday but would like a mantra, I’ll make sure I bring some more this week, so come and askme for it. You canalso get mantras online. The Mantra that is right for you will find you.
My mantra at the moment is: Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha
Translation: “Om Salutations and Prostrations to Lord Ganesha.”
This mantra is for the removal of obstacles, for success and for wisdom. I’m doing it to welcome the new year removing obstacles that might not allow me to reach my full potential.
You might know the mantra Aum, this mantra is enough to start with. Practice it every day, chanting it for at least 9 times and see its effect!