How Mantra Chanting Works
My Friend, You Need a Good Mantra
A good mantra can help remove obstacles and bring you peace. It can tunnel deep into your psyche and help stimulate a positive mentality. It can even help you discover who you truly are.
A mantra can be a single word or syllable. It can be a sound that you chant or an ancient phrase that you repeat silently in your mind. Different mantras do different things. And the words themselves are magical. Finding the right one for you requires a little shopping around. But before we begin, we need to understand a little bit about the world around us.
The Substance of Our Universe Is Conciousness
“Quantum physicists discovered that physical atoms are vortices of energy that are constantly vibrating. So every material structure in the universe, including you and me, radiates a unique energy signature.” –Bruce Lipton
A scientist in the 1800’s by the name of Thomas Young, is credited for demonstrating that the tiny particles that make up everything around us are not actually material at all; they are waves
Not waves like radio waves or ocean waves; more like waves of possibilities. The experiment is known as the double slit experiment. It baffled scientists by demonstrating that particles only behave as particles when they are being observed.
When not being observed, they exist as waves of possible locations where a particle might be only when we look. If all matter in the universe behaves this way, then that means it is our consciousness that creates this world of form which we perceive.
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“The world behind our back—where we are not looking and cannot observe—is always a radically ambiguous and ceaselessly flowing quantum soup.”— Nick Herbert, Physicist
Riding the Wave
So we live in this world full of waves and possibilities and vibrations. Maybe this is why singing makes us feel so good, and why the beat of a band makes us dance uncontrollably. At a quantum level we are all nothing more than vibrations ourselves.
The ancients believed that the universe was brought into existence from a single sound; the sound of OM. They believed that this entire creation is vibration. This is where mantras come in. If our vocal chords can vibrate a particular sound pattern out into the universe, is it possible to alter physical reality?
How to Begin
Choose a mantra to match your intention. It is important also to develop a deep understanding of a mantra’s meaning. The more you believe the words you say, the more those beliefs manifest in your life.
Try a couple different mantras until you find one that sounds good when you recite it. There is power in the words. And your entire being should resonate with the vibrations.
Use a mantra in a group, or alone in meditation. The silent repetition of a mantra can be used as a focal point to tether your mind to a single thought.
Om is the highest mantra. It is believed to be the original vibration that caused the universe to come into being. Chanting it will energize every part of your body. Take a deep breath, open your mouth wide and chant AAAH from your stomach. Then round your lips and continue with OU from your chest. Finally, continue tightening your lips as you finish with MMMMM. The last sound should vibrate in your head.
2. Om Mani Padme Hum
This one is known as the Jewel in the Lotus. Pronounced: aum mah∙nee pahd∙may hum. It is one of the most popular of the Buddhist mantras, but you don’t need to be a Buddhist to use it. This sound embodies the mystical energy of your crown chakra. And it brings a compassionate relationship with the universe.
3. Maha Mantra
“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” It is a spiritual call for the Lord and His energy.
4. So Hum
Translates to: I am that. It means, “I am all of creation”. And it is a great mantra to anchor your mind during meditation. As you breathe in, silently repeat Sooo. And as you breathe out, silently repeat Hummm.
5. Om Namah Shivaya
Pronounced: aum nah∙mah shee∙vah∙yay. It is the great redeeming mantra. It means: I bow to Shiva. Shiva is the inner self; the consciousness within everything.
Mantras don’t necessarily need to be chanted. They can be anything that you repeat to yourself during the day to help bring you resolve.
- “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
- “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.” – Laura Silva
- “I change my thoughts, I change my world.” – Norman Vincent Peale
- “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.”—Eckhart Tolle
- “I can do it. I will do it. I am doing it.”—Brian Prickril
A mantra can be anything you want it to be, so long as it transforms your consciousness and tethers your mind.
Tips to Remember
If you are like me, you probably did not grow up in a culture where chanting mantras was the norm. I will admit that the first time I tried it, I felt a little silly and awkward. But I stuck with it. I found one that I liked and repeated it in the car and in the shower and silently to myself during meditation. Soon it felt very natural and I couldn’t stop. It was if it had entwined itself into my being somehow. And I liked that.
A mantra is a great way to keep you grounded in the present moment. The phrase, “Live in the moment,” has been beaten to death. But I think most people don't truly grasp its meaning.
The past and future are nothing more than an illusion. They are not places that we can actually go to. Yet, many people spend their entire lives living there. That mindset is what makes life difficult because we find ourselves struggling to solve future problems that don’t exist, and may not ever exist.
Take note the next time you find yourself thinking of a future event in your mind. Notice how the emotions you feel are real even though the event is not. Think deeply about this the next time you are tense and angry over something that has not even happened. It is neither a sane nor healthy way to live.
Give your fullest attention to whatever it is you are doing right now at this very moment. And when you find yourself drifting into make-believe thoughts, that is when you should repeat your manta and ride the wave.