Do you remember that scene in the movie What's Love Got to Do With It, where Angela Bassett is meditating while repeating, "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?" She was reciting a Buddhist mantra that translates to, "I honor the Universal Mystical Law of Cause and Effect." It is used to help you release your present struggle and make room for new actions and thoughts to come in and bring about new beginnings--basically, it's a karma reset. The purpose was to shift her way of thinking and therefore the way she lived her life. She was centering her meditation with the mantra and increasing her concentration.
The word mantra is made up of two parts, "man," which means to think and "tra," which could be translated in several ways. One is "to save," another is "instrumentality," and there are still others. Whichever you choose to go with, thought is still at the root of the word mantra. A mantra is a word, a sound or a statement that you repeat aloud or to yourself during meditation. They are most often used as a way to strengthen the concentration or focus/center a meditation session.
A mantra is a lot like an affirmation, and in many instances the two can be used interchangeably. But if you're looking for a centering thought or a way to keep your attention on your meditation, a mantra is probably more what you're looking for. If you decide to bring mantras into your meditation practice, be sure that you are clear on what your goal for any given meditation session is. According to the Vedic tradition, if you're looking to attract peace and harmony, Ananda Hum, I am pure bliss, can be useful. If you're working on manifesting, Om Bhava Namah, I am absolute existence.
Benefits of Mantras
There are plenty of reasons to incorporate mantras into your meditation practice, the main one being a mantra's ability to activate a specific kind of energy in a specific part of the body. It is key that you're aware of what you're calling or attracting and how your energy is moving. When using mantras, you'll get the most benefit if you can remain present and tune into what your body and energy is telling you.
Mantras have a deep impact on our psyches. You will likely increase your sense of self-awareness with regular use of mantras. You can also look forward to becoming more optimistic. Mantras will also increase your focus. In those moments where you feel like you're slipping under, bringing a mantra to mind with a couple deep and calming breaths can bring you back to the present with a clearer head or a renewed sense of purpose.
Choosing a Mantra
Your mantra doesn't have to be Sanskrit. It can be in any language you choose. Those in the Kemetic tradition might use Aum (the sound of life) and Ankh Udja Seneb (life, prosperity and good health). Your options are endless. You can even create your very own mantra for your meditations. Your centering thought can be whatever you need it to be. You have the authority to guide your thoughts and energy in a way that you feel you will best benefit. Here are some mantras that you might want to give a try in shifting the way you go about living.
- I am grateful.
- I am fulfilled.
- I am free to live the life I want to live.
- I love myself.
- I create my future.
- I welcome change.
- My life is sacred.
- I have peace of mind.
This is just an overview of mantras, so be sure to come on back and find out more about mantras and how they can work for you.