The word “mantra” reminds me something exotic and mystic words that someone seated cross legged on the floor chanting.
It is said that mantra comes from the roots “the mind” (man) and “to cross” (tri). So the mantra is that which enables us to cross the sea of mind. The sea is often used to symbolise the mind, which is in constant motion – calm one day and stormy the next day. Same as we only see the surface of the sea, most of us are aware of the motion of the mind only on the surface level of consciousness, where our thoughts jump, like a grasshopper, from one thing to another in just a matter of minutes. Below the surface level of consciousness, our deep seated fears and hostilities, cravings and conflicts, are there as the deep divisions that make it difficult for us to concentrate. These divisions are often at the root of serious physical ailment, appearing as nightmares in our sleep or plunging us into depression. Do we have to accept it as inevitable, as part of human nature, like we often do?
Control of the mind
None of us question the need for control, for discipline in mastering physical skills.
The trouble is that we have very little control over minds. Actually, we have never had the proper training. So when we want to concentrate, the mind generates a host of irrelevant worries and distractions.
When we learn to control the mind, to slow down its feverish pace, to welcome those thoughts we approve of and dismiss those that are negative, we will find that this brings a sense of mastery.
Self-control is real mastery over our life. Calming and stilling the mind means bringing every mental process under our complete control, conscious and unconscious level.
There is a popular misconception that to still the mind is to become a zombie or robot. It is just the opposite. The calmer and stiller the mind becomes, the more we can realise in our daily lives our true birth right of joy, security and tireless energy to work for the welfare of those around us. When the mind is still, like a lake with no wind, we become aware of the Lord of love who is enshrined in the very depths of our consciousness.
How the mantra works
Repeating the mantra all through the day whenever you have time, the mantra can help keep the mind calm and secure.
When we’re afraid, or angry, or driven by a strong urge for our own personal satisfaction at the expense of those around us, the mantra can transform these strong emotions into a source of tremendous positive power and help us refrain from acting or speaking impulsively.
Not repressing those powerful emotions, but it is using them rather than letting them use us. The mantra has the power to turn fear into fearless, anger into compassion, and hatred into love.
At first, we use the mantra to push thoughts aside, to keep worries from spinning around and around in our mind. As the mantra takes root in our consciousness, it comes up under these thoughts and worries and cuts them off at the source. This applies not just to worries but to all the negative thoughts and emotions that play in our minds, make us insecure and drain our energy. The mantra is a dynamic tool for transforming all these into vitality, creativity and love.
The secret is that the mantra enables us to direct our attention at will, from negative to positive channels. Since we are usually not able to keep our attention focused, we often let the mind wonder off in unproductive and even harmful directions. The mantra gives the mind something to hold on to so that we can make wise and intentional choices.
In each tradition, we have a different Holy name, different mantra, but all are equally valid. Even if you don’t believe in God at all, usually you are thinking of something external, some extraterrestrial being.
So whatever religion you profess, or if you profess no religion, you can still use the mantra. You don’t have to change your religion or subscribe to any dogma to benefit from the mantra. You can choose the mantra that suits you best, taking into account your own religious background.
Deep into our consciousness
Repetition of the mantra is a dynamic discipline by which we can transform all that is negative in us in order to make our greatest possible contribution to the welfare of those around us.
It is only natural that the more we repeat the mantra, the deeper it will sink into our consciousness.
As it goes deeper, it will strengthen our will, heal the old divisions in our consciousness that now cause us conflict and turmoil, and give us access to deeper resources of strength, patience, and love to work for the benefit of those around us.
It is most effective when repeated silently in the mind. You don’t need to chant aloud, it doesn’t require any fixed time or place. You can repeat it anytime, anywhere you want in your mind. This is not merely mechanical repetition but it drives the mantra deep into your consciousness, where it can begin to effect a marvelous transformation.
Once the mantra has taken deep root in your consciousness, as soon as a negative emotion begins to arise, it automatically transforms it into tremendous positive power. But this won’t happen unless you also reduced your self-will to a very considerable extent. These two go together. Self-will is devotion to “I” which the mantra transforms into devotion to the Lord.
Just as the mantra transforms negative forces in consciousness into constructive power, so it now transforms all our perceptions of the everyday world into unbroken awareness of the unity of life.
Now we can harness the immense resources within us to unify our personality and make a lasting contribution to life, knowing everyday that we are needed and cherishes by those around us. Most difficult of all, we can also gain our own self-respect.
The views expressed are solely those of the author. Yogapoint.com may or may not agree with all statements.
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