Feel like your life needs a shift?
Have you considered trying mantra?
A mantra is a word or phrase that, according to Yogic philosophy (Vedanta), has power.
The story is that the ancient sages, (Rishi) could hear the vibrations of everything in nature and made these sounds into words and phrases known as mantra.
Mantra is the literal creation of form from energy.
I’ve used mantra on and off. But the first one that I chose for myself was in 2000, when I moved to Florida. I decided to learn a long chant called the Hanuman Chalisa that an Indian friend of mine had been reading in Sanskrit.
The Hanuman Chalisa is 40 verses dedicated to the monkey God, Hanuman, the god of service and devotion. Purportedly, doing this mantra gives the practitioner Hanuman’s grace.
All those years ago, I sang that long song every day – initially for forty days in a row – but then kept going, memorizing it completely.
Excited by the results, I tried other ones.
But, to be honest, I hadn’t done mantra in a really long time, well, not until a few weeks ago.
I’d been sick and was ready for a shift, physically, energetically, emotionally. I needed to kick myself into a new space of action and clarity. And what better way to do that than to create sacred space with ritual?
I bought flowers, lit incense, offered some fruits and sweets and lit the candle on my altar. I rang the bell and called to the gods and goddesses, and then I did mantra.
The one I chose was to Laxmi, the goddess of prosperity. Om Shree Maha Laxmi, Namaha.
After I finished the mantra and my subsequent meditation, I realized I wanted to continue doing this mantra for forty days. We say forty days because that’s the approximate time it takes to change a habit.
If you’re ready to give mantra a try, here are the details.
1. Choose a word or phrase to repeat
2. A mantra can be given by a teacher and/or it can be chosen by a student
Think about what you would like in your life right now: strength, peace, clarity, insight.
Use your intuition to guide you to sources that might have a good selection.
Read through each mantra and it’s meaning before making a choice. Then try it for a few days and see how it feels.
3. The goal is to repeat the mantra for forty consecutive days
Mantra is said to gain power the more it is repeated.
4. Say it once a day or, if you like, choose a number of repetitions
Hindus traditionally do 108.
Repeating a mantra is just like doing rosary.
In Sanskrit, this is called Japa (to repeat). Normally practitioners use a Japa mala, the Hindu equivalent of a rosary. Hindu mala are made with either 27, 54 or 108 beads. It is customary to count mantra in sets of 108.
There are many reasons the number 108 is significant in Hinduism. It is said that there are 108 names for the Goddess. There are also 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. (54 x 2 = 108) Apparently there are also 108 energy lines that cross our bodies, intersecting at our chakras and converging at the heart center.
If you decide to repeat your mantra, place the mala in your right hand and count each bead with your thumb as it slides over your index finger. The larger guru bead or meru (mountain) bead is where you begin (but don’t count it!) When you hit it again, you know you’ve done one round.
But remember, if you miss a day, start over again at day 1!
5. When you’re ready, find a comfortable place to sit.
Close your eyes.
If you choose, have your japa mala in your right hand.
Focus on correctly pronouncing the sound, word or phrase of your mantra silently or aloud.
If you don’t have a japa mala or feel daunted by this part, simply say your mantra once a day, or use your fingers and say it ten times. The point is to use mantra for clarity, invocation, and grounding.
You can use a Sanskrit one or say a word or phrase that resonates with you.
If you’re interested in a Sanskirt one, here is a short list:
- Om: (vibration of the universe, the word that means God, it has also been translated to mean: Everything; it is, will be, will become
- Shanti: Peace
- Om Tat Sat: – I am that; what is everlasting and unchanging is God
- Sat Nam: – Truth is my name; I recognize the divinity within you.