By Dr Reetu Verma
Meditation is gaining popularity around the globe as there is growing awareness of the many proven benefits associated with it.
However, many of us struggle with finding the time to be still and meditate and find it difficult to quieten our mind.
One way to overcome this is through chanting mantras.
What is a Mantra?
Mantra, (also known as chanting or Japa) is a form of meditation that can be done anywhere and at any time. A mantra is a word or a phrase that you repeat over and over again.
Mantra is made up of two words: Man (=Mind) and Tra (=Vehicle), so a mantra is the vehicle of your mind. So it is important to be aware of where you are directing your mind to.
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. If a man speak or act with an evil thought, suffering follows him as the wheel follows the hoof of the beast that draws the wagon … If a man speak or act with a good thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.” –
Mantras can have a profound effect on your inner state of calmness and wellbeing. They can purify your mind and settle it into a desired state. My personal experience is that changes in the mind gradually spread through the body. I guess this is what they mean by the mind-body connection.
Affirmations v Mantras:
Affirmations are words you repeat that affirms something. They are used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, as a way to help turn negative, unhelpful thoughts into more positive, self-serving ones to help us live more fulfilling lives.
Mantras are powerful sounds and tones you listen to or repeat to help change your vibrations and quiet your mind. As mantras are considered sacred sounds, they are considered more powerful as they work on our energy levels. As sound is a form of energy, sacred mantras transform the lower energies into a feeling of positive energy in ourselves, moving from fear to love and then to peace and light (my personal experience).
What are The Benefits of Mantras?
Chanting mantras help us meditate and connect deeper to our true nature. Meditation requires focus, which is difficult to achieve. But, when you chant with concentration, the mind gets focussed. Chanting Mantras help synchronise the body, mind and breath, creating inner harmony. By iniating a relaxation response in the body, mantras can help:
- manage stress, depression and anxiety
- cultivate awareness of self and your surroundings
- improve concentration and focus
- reduce digestive ailments and improve gut health
When we are faced with problems large or small, our minds tend to react in conditioned ways often involving getting stuck in feelings of resentment, regret and self pity from ruminating about the past or getting caught up in fears and worst case scenarios while projecting into the future. Mantras can help ground us and return us to an inner state of calm to allow us to make better decisions and solve our problems.
Some Powerful Mantras to help you Heal
The following ancient Sankscrit Mantras are a good place to start:
Om, or the universal sound is a very powerful and simple mantra to repeat and start with. It can help you connect with yourself, calm your mind and energise your body.
Om Namah Shivaya, a Vedic mantra (and greeting to Shiva, one of the primary gods of the Hindu Trinity). It is often referred to as “the five-syllable-mantra” as it evokes the five elements of existence, i.e. earth, water, fire, air, and space. It heals and purifies.
Om Mani Padme Hum, a buddist mantra literally translating to “Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus.” This mantra implies that wisdom is obtained after darkness or ignorance is transformed into beauty and grace. Chanting this mantra can bring you peace, love, understanding, compassion and set you free from resentment.
You can use english mantras that are meaningful for you. Focus on the sound of the words. For example:
I am breathing in, I am breathing out.