• Mantras Old and New

October 23, 2016 - 11:17am -- Johanna

When you repeat a word or phrase over and over again, its sound and meaning begin to influence your state of mind. The right word or phrase can help you concentrate, stay calm, relax, or focus. 

That word or phrase is a mantra. Mantras are often used for meditation, but that’s not their only use. They can be used any time and any place.

Ancient Mantras

Ancient mantras from the Hindu tradition are very popular. One of the simplest of these is the word “Ohm” (Oh-m). This word and sound is thought to be the sound of the universe. It is the first, original vibration, said to represent the birth, death and rebirth process.

Here are two other examples of mantras in this tradition:

“Om Namah Shivaya” (pronunciation: Ohm Nah mah Shee Vi ya). Translation: I bow to Shiva, the supreme deity of transformation who represents the truest, highest self. (In other words “I honor the divinity within myself.”)

“Om gam ganapatieya Namah” (pronunciation: Ohm Gam Ga-na-pa-tie-ya Na-ma). If you use this phrase you are saying: “I bow to the elephant-faced deity (Ganesh) who is capable of removing all obstacles. I pray for blessings and protection.” (Ganesh is known as the god of wisdom and success.)

Modern-Day English Mantras

A mantra doesn’t have to be in another language to be effective. Your own mantra can be as simple as one word, such as repeating the word PEACE over and over again. Most mantras are short enough to say in one inhalation or one exhalation.

Here are some examples of English-language mantras you might choose:

To help you focus on love or happiness: “I am Love.” “I am loved.” “Today I choose joy (or love).”
For strength or endurance: “This too shall pass.”
To calm yourself: “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”
For empowerment: “I am capable of wonderful things.”

Once you find a mantra that works for you, use it when you are meditating, but also when you are out on walks by yourself. Even try it out as you do chores or similar tasks. You are likely to find that the mantra not only helps you concentrate, but that it also makes you more aware and more present in the moment