We are living in a frenzied world. The news can be frightening and confusing. Today Sweden announced that they are bringing back military conscription. We need peace. We might not be able to control the world but we can cultivate our inner peace. The Hygge of our Mind. Mantras can aid us in achieving a harmonious inner state.
A mantra is a word or saying that is repeated to aid in meditation or mindfulness. The oldest known mantras come from Vedic traditions and are over 3000 years old. They are sacred measured sounds that are believed to be powerful. When you utter a sound, a form is being created. There is a whole science of using sounds in a particular way so that it creates the right kind of form. We can create powerful forms by uttering sounds in certain arrangements. This is known as the Nada Yoga, the yoga of sound. If you have mastery over the sound you also have mastery over the form that is attached to it.¹ Many “modern” mantras are not created to be measured sounds but are melodic and also can be transformative. A Mantra can help you to be mindful and can go a long way in helping create some Hygge in your Mind.
Remember the concept of N=1. Here’s one of my N=1 stories about mantras. Years ago when I was a young adult, I lost my Mom, all my Aunts and Uncles and then my eldest Sister in the space of a couple of short years. I was reeling. I was always taught to have a stiff upper lip and keep going so I repressed every feeling connected to those losses. I threw myself into my career and promptly became a workaholic. I knew on some level that I was unhappy even though I didn’t really feel sad. I guess at the time, I didn’t really feel anything. The quote “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” was an epigraph in a book that I was reading. I started saying it out loud to myself when stressed and had it written on a paper on my desk at work. I read it many times a day. I credit that for helping me “wake up.” I don’t even remember the book where I read it. Later I learned that it’s part of a whole system of thought by Émile Coué dealing with positive affirmations but at the time I didn’t know that. It just felt good to me. I started feeling hopeful. Being hopeful helped me make many changes in my life that continue to this day.
Mantras are found in many traditions: Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, and others, including many New Age schools of thought. There are many views about mantras. If you feel called to a mantra, try not to judge if it’s a tradition that is not familiar to you. Maybe it’s a step along your path to something different or just the activity to expand your consciousness so that you are ready for your next step. Find what feels good to you. Be open to what resonates with you. I’m not Buddhist but I used to regularly go to Buddhist meditation and chanting sessions because it felt so right. I felt tuned up afterward and ready to embrace the world. I also love going to Kirtan. I spent a blissful weekend chanting with Jai Uttal and Daniel Paul. I felt that they created a divine space for us all to experience.
Om is a sacred symbol and sound in Sanskrit. As a mantra, it is simple but powerful and believed to be a divine or cosmic sound. A Tibetan Buddhist mantra that I adore is “Om Mani Padme Hum” which means that in dependence on the practice which is in indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure body, speech and mind of a Buddha.²
Louise Hay has a whole practice that is centered around mirror work involving self-talk and mantras. She has a mantra for everything under the sun, moon, and stars. I also love to create mantras. One of my favs, “I will be gentle with myself, I will love myself, I am a child of the Universe being born each moment.”
With all of these mantras, you can chant out loud, you can recite in your mind, in your inner world, and you can chant with a group. There is no wrong. Wow, “There is no wrong.” That could be a good mantra for today.
One thing to keep in mind about mantras, at their core a mantra is self-talk. Much of our self-talk is unconscious, unrestrained, mean, judgmental drivel. I think that the more you can use positive self-talk the better, especially if you are in a monkey mind state or a time of extreme anxiety. Be kind, be gentle, and be loving to you! If you wouldn’t say it to your partner, your best friend, your child, or your furry companions; don’t say it to YOU! If you do say it, think it or feel it, say you’re sorry and cancel cancel cancel.
If you’re open to it, try some mantras. I would love to hear from you. You can post on our facebook page or here on our comments page. How are you doing in these crazy times? What are your self-care practices?
Don’t forget to Hygge, especially your Mind…
This post is one in a collection of posts arising from the Frenzied Mind.
¹http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/yoga-meditation/demystifying-yoga/mantras-explained-mantra-to-transformation/ ²On the meaning of: OM MANI PADME HUM The jewel is in the lotus or praise to the jewel in the lotus by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso The Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/tib/omph.htm