1. Hinduism . a word or formula, as from the Veda, chanted or sung as an incantation or prayer.
2. An often repeated word, formula, or phrase.
Shift your mind back for a moment now, to when you were first learning how to drive. I personally remember happily driving down the road, and then something off to the side would catch my eye. I’d look over for just a moment and then look back at the road. Often, to my horror, I would find that my eyes had lead my hands and the car was now off angle headed towards the side of the road instead of straight down the road as I’d intended. I’d make a course correction back to the road and continue on my way.
Often in our lives we are heading down the road towards our goal and we get distracted by something off to the side. Sometimes we are not even aware we have changed direction, or thinking, but we are headed towards the side of the road and unaware that we’ve changed course. In this way a mantra is a tool used as we’re navigating our path down the road. The mantra can act as a reminder for where we are going and help correct our coarse.
The mantras we surround ourselves with are powerful. In many ways they are both a guide and indicator, sending our thoughts in a specific direction and indicating where we are likely to go. Pause for a moment and think about a typical day for yourself. Over the course of the day are there any phrases that seem to repeat themselves? Coming from computer software I was surrounded by mantras and catch phrases that guided our thinking. “Work smarter not harder”, “Look for our synergies”, “It is, what it is”. Sometimes these were useful, and sometimes they were a form of release, but they connected with a larger thought or idea and when used in the appropriate context would connect with a state of mind and help shift us back to our goal. This is the power of the mantra. And this is why we should choose our mantras carefully.
As you can see, thinking about your own mantras and phrases that float in your head, they are both indicative of your thought processes as well as directional guides for your thinking. This gives them a great deal of power. And yet, many mantras that we use have come across our path unintentionally and stuck to us. With the power of these mantras it is a very good idea to apply discernment and awareness. So now that we understand the tone they are applying to our day we can in turn shift our focus to the mantras that empower and have a positive impact.
Choosing a mantra
Choosing a mantra is important. There is no set length content or format. I personally have an “I am …” phrase that I repeat the reminds me of my core essence and purpose here on this planet. But I also have many other mantra’s. When I’m paying my bills I find it helpful to remind myself that “I am abundant”. When I am trying to meditate and move into a more spiritual plane, my mantra is simply “Ohm”. Find something that reflects who you are and the kind of thinking you want to foster in yourself. You can start simple “I am positive”, “My world is at peace” or even “I Rock!”. Have fun with it and find something that resonates with you as both a message you need to hear and one you can believe in.
Using your mantra
Now that you have mantra, put it into practice. A simple way to start with your mantra is incorporating it into a quick 5 minute meditation. You can begin with chanting your mantra 5 times to shift your thinking. Then connect into your breath with 5 deep inhales and exhales (done slowly with pauses between). Then end the meditation with 5 more repeats of your mantra. I would suggest you say your mantra aloud in your most powerful voice. Give the mantra power. But it can be okay to think loudly too, especially if you’re doing this at work. Sit up straight, breath deeply, and own it.
Another tip is to find a tool that will remind you of your mantra throughout the day. Write it on your hand (nontoxic writing tools please). Or tie a string around your finger. Or find a tool that will work with your mobile device.
You have the power to guide your path. Use your mantra to make a positive impact on yourself and the results will ripple out to the world around you. Be the change that you want to see in the world.