Introduction to Mantras
Many people discover that using a mantra can improve awareness and concentration.
Mantras are usually helpful tools you repeat during meditation to help release your mind.
While this process is relatively simple, having a mantra significantly helps, especially when you have trouble concentrating or getting into the right state of mind. Doing so usually helps you get better results from meditation while improving your overall mental state at the same time.
This article introduces mantras that will provide you with everything you need to know about them, including how they work, their benefits, and how to use them, among many other things.
What is a Mantra?
A mantra refers to a sound, phrase, or word repeated to assist in your concentration while meditating.
A mantra is a helpful tool for the mind since it paves the way for introspection, allowing awareness to turn inward quickly.
Contrary to initial impressions, mantras aren't just something that you utter.
Instead, a mantra is something that you aspire to become. Ideally, a mantra is made up of only a few syllables or words so that it will be more convenient for you to repeat it easily without getting lost in a lengthy phrase.
While some typical mantras call upon Hindu deities, their main goal is to cultivate elevated connection, intention, and awareness ultimately.
For beginners, mantras are an excellent meditation tool since it is a sound technology that significantly affects your brain.
Whatever you prefer, you can chant your mantras out loud or silently to yourself since either method can work in positive and different ways.
How do mantras work?
Spiritual traditions state that the universe started with a sound or a word from God. Sound is considered a form of vibration, and everything present in the universe vibrates at a particular frequency.
By repeating the mantra, what we are doing is we introduce the mantra's vibrational frequency into ourselves until we begin to resonate with its words and vibration.
Gradually, as you begin to resonate at the same frequency as your mantra, it gains its respective momentum.
At that instance, you stop focusing on the mantra itself; instead, the mantra begins to focus on you. The message becomes clearer that mantras become a part of yourself and have great potential to impact you on a transformational and profound level.
The Benefits of Mantra
Many people believe that mantras have healing properties. When you connect to mantras on an energetic level, it's possible to recalibrate the diseased or affected area and then allow healing to take place.
The influence of mantra helps replace unpleasant situations with positivity and love.
Apart from that, mantras are also beneficial on an emotional level. Many of us have already experienced being stuck in a limbo and repetitive pattern of intrusive or negative thoughts, which can be both damaging and highly unpleasant.
By choosing to replace these unruly thoughts with a mantra, we're able to break the negative flow and instead reinforce a new one that is inherently positive and beneficial to our mental well-being.
A study from 2012 discovered that mantra meditation improves one's brain health. Here, the researchers found that an 8-week extended Kriya Kirtan meditation has shown positive results to 15 adults experiencing memory loss problems since it led to an increase in cerebral blood flow and cognitive function.
These brain changes eventually reduced anxiety, improved mood and well-being, improved verbal and visuospatial memory, and less fatigue.
A 2017 study also backed this up by discovering how specific mantras can stimulate such changes, especially since chanting allows both the left and right sides of the brain to synchronize and promote relaxing brain waves.
Such a synchronization allows brain function to improve over time and even possibly slow the decline in cognition.
Mantras are means for purification. By practicing repetition of a mantra, we can connect with a higher and more pure level of consciousness that can bring purity to both the body and the mind.
How You Can Use a Mantra
1. Select a favorite phrase or word for your meditation. You must pick something optimistic or uplifting that either engages or inspires your heart. Don't pick words that only disturb your mind. Here are some mantras you can choose from:
- I am calm and at ease.
- On your inhale: I am love; On your exhale: I give love.
- I surrender.
- I forgive myself.
- I've done well. I don't have to be perfect.
- May I know peace.
- I am here now.
- My heart guides me.
Anything simple, short, and infused with sincere intention will work.
2. Look for a comfortable place where you can position yourself. It can be on the floor or on a chair. Make sure to support your posture with a blanket or cushion so you can relax. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths while allowing your mind to settle slowly.
3. At this point, begin repeating your mantra slowly and steadily as you concentrate on making it sound as fully as you can. Make sure to let the sound of it resonate within your chest. You can choose to repeat half of your mantra when you inhale and the other half whenever you exhale. Otherwise, you can also repeat it both when you exhale and inhale.
4. Once you finish about ten recitations, repeat the mantra silently by moving your lips only. After another ten recitations, recite the mantra internally without moving your lips.
5. Remember to return to your mantra always whenever thoughts appear. Bring your attention back over and over in a gentle manner, experiencing and indulging in the internal sound as much as you can.
6. To end the mantra with a gradual close, let your chanting slowly decrease in volume until it starts to fade away as an external sound and make it heard only internally. After this, allow the internal sound to fade into peaceful silence gradually.
7. Once you finish, take time to sit quietly and evaluate how you feel. You may discover that you feel more refreshed and calmer than before or that you may be overwhelmed with many feelings and thoughts from your subconscious.
Regardless of your immediate reaction, remember that thorough practice makes for plenty of benefits. This will allow you to fully experience the current moment and make conscious and well-informed decisions instead of being prey to habitual impulsions and reactions.