What is a Mantra?
A mantra is a repetitive sound vibration to help us concentrate or focus on the present moment while raising our energetic vibration as a whole. A mantra is a word or a phrase with a specific intention; a powerful reprogramming of the brain. When used intentionally, it can have a strong influence on our thinking and energy.
When translated, “Man” means mind and “tra” means vehicle. So quite literally, a mantra is a vehicle of the mind.
Traditionally, Sanskrit mantras were gifted by wise sages, and passed down through generations. They were calibrated using specific properties and elements designed to move from one state to the next. Here are a few examples of mantras and their translations that perhaps you have heard before:
OM (Aum) is known as the sound of the universe unifying all there is.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA when translated means I bow to the higher self and brings us deeper to our divine nature
SAT NAM means truth is my name or I am truth.
OM SHANTI when translated means peace and is used to nurture peace within.
A more modern thinking is that choosing our own Mantras can be quite powerful as well. Simply choosing a word or short phrase that represents our desired state will help us move towards that state when used repetitively. Mantras are deeply personal and it is essential to choose one that resonates with you, feels good in your body and is in your own words. Our brain is literal, and always responds more efficiently when we use language that is familiar to us. Here are a few examples:
I am abundant.
I am Joy.
Choosing a mantra that’s appropriate for you can be as simple or as complex as you make it. Often, a word or phrase will just pop into your head that just feels right – roll with it when that happens! Sometimes, when we are in a stuck state, we need a little more of a process to help us along. When those times happen, follow this process to get you started.
- Ask yourself: What is my intention? What do I want more of in my life right now?
- As you answer those questions, listen. Use your intuition. How does your intention feel in your body? You are looking for an intention that feels powerful, positive and desired.
- Now, scale your intention down to a word or short phrase. One to three words will suffice; this way it’s easy to remember.
- Try it out. Close your eyes and feel into your body as you repeat your mantra. Allow your eyes to close to focus inward. Say it out loud a few times. Say it slowly a few times. Whisper it a few times. Repeat it faster a few times. Should you get distracted, just bring your attention back to your mantra.
Use a mantra anytime, anywhere. The beautiful thing is that it is with us wherever we go. The more we use it the closer we get to what we seek. Using mantras to enter into meditation is very calming and helps us focus into the present moment where we find gaps between our thoughts. But we don’t always need a quiet space to enjoy the benefits of our mantras. We can allow the mantra to sync with our breath or our steps while walking, running or exercising. We can invite the repetition in our mind to focus while we are doing menial tasks like washing dishes or folding laundry. Our mind is with us everywhere we go, and so it is possible to use mantra in all aspects of our lives at any given moment.
Peeling back the layers:
If what is repetitive in our mind shifts our state, we must be aware that even those thoughts that are less desirable that are on repeat in our inner dialogue are shifting our state as well.
Let’s be clear, we are not victims of our thoughts.
Instead, we choose which ones we are engaging in. If we choose to repeat the self-depreciating, judgemental, negative thoughts, we will align with them. Our responsibility is to find the flip of those thoughts. If they weren’t there, what would we choose to think instead? Engage in those. Choose to align with self-loving, peaceful and calm thoughts. This discipline is more easily achieved by using mantras. Understanding that our thoughts directly impact our well-being, our inner climate of emotional well-being and how we perceive the world around us will go a long way in our ability to experience resilience in all we do.