Mantras are syllables, sounds, words, or phrases repeated in a rhythmic fashion in order to create a vibration. The Sanskrit word mantra contains the root word “man” (“to think” or “the mind”) and the suffix “tra” (use with tools or instruments). The literal translation means “instrument of thought.”
When reciting a mantra, the words and letters are not merely means of communication, but concentrations of energy, each producing a different vibration and frequency. When a divine mantra is spoken, the vibration holds various degrees of energy and power, whereby sounds produce change in one’s reality.
The most basic mantra is the sacred “Om” – or, more accurately, “Aum” – which in Hinduism is known as the energetic and vibrational source of all things or ideas in existence.
Another well known chant is the Tibetan Buddhist mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum,” often referred to as “Mani.” This is the mantra which embodies compassion. The most common method for practicing this mantra is to focus on feelings and emotions pertaining to compassion, towards all beings in the universe, while slowly reciting this mantra 21 times – or 108 times, if recited with the use of Mala beads.
There is a Tibetan teaching about a son who was worried about his mother. Because she was uneducated and not a follower of Buddhism, her son was worried that when she died, she would suffer because she did not pray. So the devoted son taught his mother that whenever she heard a bell, she should immediately respond “Om Mani Padme Hum.” They made a game out of it, and when he would visit and ring the bell at the front door, she would recite the mantra, and together they would laugh. When he was not there, and she heard the cow bells ring in the back yard, she would take a moment in prayer, and recite the mantra. Time passed, and eventually his mother died. She found herself in the underworld, in a huge iron cauldron being stirred by a terrible demon with a great spoon. Fortunately, when the spoon struck the rim, it produced a familiar ring and she immediately responded with the mantra as she had been taught, “Om Mani Padme Hum.” She was instantly relocated to the Land of Dewachen, the heavens, where like everyone there, she became one of the Enlightened Ones.
Reciting a mantra has the ability to transform your reality, and certainly there is an energy you would like to bring into your life. Sit for a moment and think about what this may be. Perhaps your desire could be associated with a new years resolution. Could it be health, diet, financial or love? There are several sayings or phrases that you may want to adopt to use as a mantra to recite in your life. Feel free to use some of the following suggestions, or create your own mantra.
“Om Mani Padme Hum.”
“I am protected.”
“The more you know, the less you need.”
“Nothing feels as good as thin feels.”
“I am open to abundance.”
“I embrace love in its absolute fullness.”
“I choose to do what I can, and I can do anything.”
1. Sitting quietly, close your eyes and breathe deeply for a moment.
2. Keeping your focus, ring a small bell, chime, or finger symbols (zills) to condition your mind to associate the ringing of bells with reciting your personal mantra.
3. Begin reciting your mantra slowly with a vibrational tone in your voice. Continue repeating your mantra.
4. If your thoughts begin to wander, repeat the ringing of the bell, and maintain your focus on the vibration of your mantra and the meaning behind the words uttered.
5. Continue saying your mantra for several minutes and begin to visualize the effects of the mantra as the desired outcome manifests.
6. End your session by sitting quietly for a moment and focusing on your breath until you are ready to open your eyes.
Adopt a routine by spending a few moments each day devoting yourself to prayer and reciting of your mantra. As the Tibetan story teaches, whenever you hear a bell chime in your daily activities, take a moment to recite your mantra. Remember that your words are reflective of energy and transformation of your reality. For although there is a general meaning that will become associated with your mantra, the deeper significance is the change you’ll create.
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