What is the Purpose of the Mantra During Meditation?
American minister Norman Vincent Peale, who was also the author of The Power of Positive Thinking, was quoted as saying, “Change your thoughts and you change your world”. Regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, though, it has been said that our thoughts affect not only our words, but our actions. We may not be able to help the random influx of thoughts that enter our consciousness, but when we exert effort in filling our head with positive, inspiring thoughts, we are more likely to absorb and exude this positive, inspiring energy.
Now imagine combining the power of thought with another powerful element — the element of sound. According to an article from Live & Dare, the vibration or pattern from sound waves can affect the water content in one’s body, as well as bodily functions such as cognition, hormone secretion, behavior, and the psychological well-being of a person.
The article from the Live & Dare website also mentions that the combination of speech, sound, and rhythm has effects on the body, thoughts, and emotions, and has the ability to pacify and transform the heart and the mind.
The Transformative Power Involved in a Mantra
The power of thoughts, sound, and repetitive vibrations from sound are all embodied in the saying of the mantra. To understand what a mantra is, we can trace the root of its definition from its etymology. The word mantra is Sanskrit for man, which means “mind” or “to think”; and trai, which translates to “free from”, “instrument or tool” or “protect”.
The idea that a mantra is a group of random words to inspire one’s self is a misconception of its magnitude. Based on EOC Institute, which talks about how mantras enhance meditation, the group of words or phrases involved in a mantra should be more than its definition; the mantra should be able to provide mental, physical, and spiritual healing with an energy that is transmitted from its repetitive chanting.
Mantras also help you return to your core when you are meditating. Sometimes, even when you are already in a deep, meditative state, losing your focus can be inevitable. You may hear certain sounds that can disrupt your state and lead to random thoughts that can distract you. All you have to do is go back to your mantra and keep repeating it to go back to your meditative state.
The Physical and Mental Benefits of Reciting a Mantra
Not only will mantras help you achieve a deeper state of mindfulness during meditation, but they can also enhance your body’s state of being. For instance, an article from the site EOC Institute mentions several benefits from reciting a mantra. Among them is stress relief, especially because reciting mantras can enhance positive alpha, delta and gamma brainwaves, which are all involved in making the body feel relaxed. Reciting a mantra also helps block stress hormones and release endorphins.
Other benefits of having a mantra during meditation are a regulated heart rate and lower blood pressure. The process of chanting can also aid in helping immune functions. Overall, it also helps manage thoughts to improve one’s physical and mental state of being.
How to Choose the Ideal Mantra for You
There is a multitude of mantras to choose from, but it is best to find one that will most suit your own needs. Two ways to do this, according to Live & Dare, are the secular approach and the spiritual approach.
The secular approach utilizes mediation as a tool for healing and does not limit itself to any spiritual or religious belief. To find a mantra using this approach, pick out a word, a phrase or a short sentence that has meaning to you. It should inspire an aspect you want to develop in yourself or aspire. Some examples are courage, strength, love, peace of mind, tranquility, and contentment. Try to avoid words with negative connotations as you may also absorb this energy. Finally, make sure that the sound of the mantra also resonates with you. You can determine this by practicing the mantra and observing how it makes you feel afterward.
While the secular approach is more pragmatic, the spiritual approach requires a more religious and spiritual context. To discover your mantra using this approach, consider the teachings or spiritual traditions you are most centered with. Once you have decided, seek help from a master or teacher from that particular tradition to help you come up with a mantra most suitable for you. Another option is to research on the different mantras under the teaching of your preference and choose one which you feel best expresses your ideals and aspirations.
One particular thing you must keep in mind when using the spiritual approach is that you have to keep your mantra secret because it is considered sacred. This allows it to enter your consciousness on a much deeper level.
Some Examples of Mantras You Can Use
Ideally, all positive words and phrases can be used during meditation. After all, who wouldn’t want to reap all the benefits of these inspiring mantras? However, one must remember that the objective of the mantra is to help achieve a clean and quiet mind. At the risk of missing this purpose and ending up with a cluttered mental state, it is best to focus on fewer words or phrases.
Here are some examples of mantras you can use during meditation, as suggested by an article in Spiritual Experience:
1. “I am compassionate and kind.”
Sometimes, our negative thoughts stem from the lack of patience we have toward other people. When we practice unconditional compassion and kindness by accepting and acknowledging other people’s weaknesses, we become free from negative thoughts.
2. “I am loved.”
Self-love is not as easy to embrace for some people. Oftentimes, putting pressure on ourselves and setting high expectations will lead to disappointment and self-deprecation. This mantra is a reminder of why we are perfect as we are, in spite of our flaws, and that we are celebrated and affirmed by others.
“Om Madi Padme Om” – This is a mantra that hails from Tibet which means “Hail the Jewel in the Lotus”, and is meant to invoke qualities of compassion and love, according to Yogapedia.
“Om” – Om may be just a short and simple word, but it is the most powerful mantra. It is said to be the sound of the universe.
The healing strength of any mantra can have an increasingly positive impact on the process of meditation. It is ideal to find the mantra that will speak to your core, so you will be able to experience the positive change that you need most in your life. Like most things, practice makes perfect; and in the case of continuously repeating these sacred words and phrases, the mantra practice makes power and positivity.