The other night, gripped by anxiety about the changes (all positive) happening in my life, I impulsively tried a new remedy to relieve the anguish. And it worked.
That powerful remedy was chanting mantras.
Mantras are a word or string of words repeated to calm the mind and create instant peace.
They’re typically Sanskrit, but you can also use English words if you wish. Reciting sacred Sanskrit sounds will have the most beneficial impact, but people new to mantras may find it easy to repeat words like, “I am peace,” or “I am love,” when trying to meditate or find their way out of an unsavory mood shift.
How do mantras work?
We all have thoughts running through our minds and repeating a mantra helps to still the ongoing narrative. While growing accustomed to the mantra, all mental effort goes to remembering the words. After memorizing the mantra so it comes with ease, your mind may wander again.
Working to apply awareness to the mantra helps focus the mind. Either way, once chanting has ended, the mind falls into a beautiful, poignant stillness.
What are the benefits of mantras?
On an energetic level, the mantras help to raise our vibrations. Some mantras involve invoking Hindu gods or goddesses to bring favor into our lives.
The Ganesh mantra, for example, invokes the power of Ganesh, the elephant-god who is the remover of all obstacles. (Keeping in mind that in yoga, all obstacles are believed to be in the mind. Many times removing obstacles involves shifts in our perspective.)
Other mantras, like the Gayatri mantra, celebrate the Divine and link us to the infinite.
They inspire devotion, help clear energetic imbalances, and bring light into the heart. They encourage unhealthy mental patterns to rise to the surface, where they can be noticed and dissolved.
You have to chant yourself to feel the immense power. I resisted for a long time, but these sacred syllables are now an integral part of my spiritual practice.
How do I incorporate mantras into my life?
One way is to recite the mantras along with a recording (several are featured below).
Once you have the rhythm and pronunciation down, you may want to transition to a solo practice, guided by mala beads. Malas are necklaces consisting of 108 beads, and like rosary beads, they help you count recitations.
It’s easy to make a simple necklace, although many companies sell more beautiful, ornate versions for a higher cost.
I’ve begun chanting mantras aloud each morning before meditation. It’s best to chant them aloud because singing opens the throat chakra and the vibration of the mantra offers healing energy to the body, mind, and soul.
Three powerful mantras for soul healing and life shifts
1. Gayatri Mantra
Aum Bhur Bhuva Svah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat
We contemplate the glory of Light illuminating the three worlds: gross, subtle, and causal.
I am that vivifying power, love, radiant illumination, and divine grace of universal intelligence.
We pray for the divine light to illumine our minds.
According to Swami J, “the Gayatri (GUY-ah-tree) is one of the most known and beneficial of the ancient Sanskrit mantras. Gayatri is a mantra of physical, emotional, and mental healing, purifying the subtle karmas, protection from the onslaught of obstacles, and of spiritual awakening or self-realization.”
Here is a beautiful chant to follow. It’s two hours, but feel free to chant for only as long as your schedule allows.
2. Ganesh Mantra
Om gam ganapataye namaha
This chant invokes the power of Ganesh, remover of obstacles. It’s beneficial to chant during new beginnings or anytime you feel bogged down by life, keeping in mind that mantras are most powerful when undertaken as a daily practice.
3. Maakaral shivaya namaha
This powerful mantra invokes Shiva, one of the three most powerful Hindu gods who is charged with destruction in preparation for re-creation. This powerful mantra helps to dispel negative karma.
Discover the simple, five-minute nighttime ritual that can calm anxiety and more.
What is your experience with mantras? Comment below and share your story.
Image by B Beeler via Flickr