What is it that you want more of in your life? Which quality – love, peace, joy, patience – would you like to draw into your moments?
When you know what sense or quality you want to create a mantra can be a way to help.
A mantra is a phrase or word or sound or tone that you repeat or chant to yourself during meditation or throughout your day. It is a trigger, a reminder to shift your focus on the thing you want to attract, the quality you want to embody.
When things are feeling out of whack in my own life or I’m particularly reactive and nervously attaching to outcomes, I’ll say “let it go” quietly to myself throughout the day and it helps me to surrender to the moment. Repeating a mantra during meditation is also a powerful way to focus attention.
Ready to take one for a test drive? Follow these five steps to choose a mantra to support your growth.
1. Consider which quality, sound, phrase, or word feels powerful to you. Many people repeat the name of a religious person or figure such as Allah, God, Mother Mary. Other’s find power in Ohm, which, when repeated some say, is the frequency of God or creation. I often use the word peace or joy to help remind me what I’m going for. Yes, is another one of my favorites. I draw the word out, YEESSS, use it to remind me to open to the experience of life instead of reacting from a place of fear. Write down a few words, phrases, or sound that feel powerful and inspiring.
2. Consider what you want to draw into your life today. If you are going through a tumultuous time, perhaps peace is the quality you most desire, or joy. Pick a quality that would support your life right now, then then match it to a fave word or phrase from above – one that feel inspiring and powerful and jives with the quality your want to create. Pick something you can live with for awhile. Mantras gain power in repetition so I suggest you stick with this first one for at least 30 days.
3. Now, take it for a test drive. Repeat your mantra. Say it aloud. Be mindful of how it rolls across your tongue and how the air pushes from your diaphragm and throat to speak it. Try different tones and phrasing – statement or chants – and find the approach that feels the most powerful. Like how it feels? Then go with it.
4. Now, set the timer for three minutes (seriously, people, you don’t have to take vacation time to try this – just three minutes) so that you don’t keep looking at the clock, take a deep breath and exhale and repeat your mantra slowly and clearly. Focus on this mantra and be present to the feelings and sensations that arise. If your thoughts wander — and they probably will — bring your attention back to the mantra.
5. When the time is up, get up and go about your day, but look for ways to repeat your mantra throughout your day. If I’m feeling triggered to a negative emotion, this is usually a good time for my mantra. It helps me slow down and keeps me from being so reactive. My mantras also help me be more present, aware and clear so I can deal with any life experience in an engaged and proactive way rather than feeling stressed out. I also mutter my mantra during the transitions of my day, before meals, when I take a bathroom break (oh yeah, I’m that spiritual), while brushing my teeth or before I start the car. If I’m feeling tested I’m mantra-tizing (yes, I know it’s not a real word) all day long and it helps me stay grounded.
While mantras are a powerful way to keep your focus on what you want in your life, they are also a great way to stay grounded and present to the moments you are living right now. They can help us savor and appreciate what is.
And, when you say these in a meaningful and resonant way, the repetition of speech is soothing and calming and that’s something we can all benefit from.
Art by Erin Cairney White
Erin Cairney White uses mixed media – acrylic paints, gelatos and a variety of papers, inks and stamps to create her work from her Snohomish, Washington studio. She is a wife and mother of four who also teaches art classes and works with educators in the Snohomish School District to support special needs students. When she is not creating, or working with kids, Cairney White and her husband raise pygmy goats. Her original artwork is available through the little details company.