Over the past few years, I have become fascinated with the power of thoughts and words. My father is the eternal optimist and growing up he was constantly giving us inspirational quotes and phrases. Every so often a new one would be printed on white paper in bold red letters and pinned on our bulletin boards in our rooms. He constantly told us – you control your attitude and your attitude is everything. At the time, especially as a teenager, I rolled my eyes and brushed this perspective aside. Slowly over time, I realized how sage my father was – and is – and the truth that our words and thoughts shape our reality, both present and future.
The amount of science behind the power of words is enormous – from positive psychology to quantum physics. Today I want to deep dive into mantras specifically – how they work scientifically and how to use them.
In Sanskrit, “ma” means mind and “tra” means transport or vehicle – it is a sound that directs the flow of thoughts. In Invincible Living, Guru Jagat describes them as codes, “vibrations that affect your neurology or your glandular system in a certain way.” Western science is beginning to catch up to this ancient truth. A study of the simple mantra “OM,” considered the most powerful and holy mantra in Hindi, found that it serves as a brain stabilizer and combats stress, and possibly a treatment for depression and epilepsy. Transcendental Meditation, one of the most highly studied forms of meditation that uses simple meditations repeated over a twenty-minute period twice daily, has been proven to decrease stress, lower blood pressure, and decrease risk of stroke and heart disease.
In our modern Western world, we have begun to equate mantra with any short phrase that speaks to a specific intention. As my father told me, each word and thought you speak has an enormous influence on our minds and we create our own reality. In another post, I will dive deeper into quantum mechanics and the science of the subconscious. But on a common sense level, we all know this to be true, don’t we? When we repeat negative thoughts they create loops in our brains, like a wheel rut in the mud, it can be difficult to extract ourselves. So repeating positive mantras – whether it’s during meditation or driving in the car – can change our brain chemistry, literally rewiring us to be in a higher vibration, closer to our truest Selves.
Some of the mantras I have been using in everyday life:
SAT NAM – a Kundalini mantra, it means “truth is my identity" and sat is pronounced "sut." I repeat it while meditating with my breathe or when I need to relax – recently it has been a huge help while nursing. I am deeply fascinated with Kundalini yoga and I've only just dipped my toe into it. I hope to integrate more Kundalini yoga into my life and learn more about it, but each time I use a mantra, meditation, kriya (exercise) or tip from Guru Jagat's book "Invincible Living," it works. To learn more about Kundalini check out Rama TV or we carry "Invincible Living" in our Shop.
I AM BOUNTIFUL, I AM BLISSFUL, I AM BEAUTIFUL – another Kundalini favorite. I try to look myself directly in the mirror and repeat this while washing my face in the morning. It is shockingly difficult to do - look at yourself in the eye and tell yourself that you're beautiful. At least it was for me, but using this mantra has been deeply healing for my body image and self-love. In our culture, we are taught to be deeply self-critical and downright demeaning. This practice combats this programming and is very powerful. Lacy from Free and Nativeoriginally recommended it - and Guru Jagat's book - to me.
I AM HERE NOW – this is a simple phrase that I use as a mantra while meditating or in ever day just when I need to remind myself to breathe. By nature, I’m very much in my head and thoughts, and this reminds me to ground down. While I was pregnant, I set the intention to be present in early motherhood. I had heard that for many mamas - especially with twins, the first few months turn into a blur of stress and it can be a period where you are always looking forward to the next phase or milestone. Using this mantra has helped me combat my futuristic tendencies and stay present with my babies. I have been very successful thus far at staying present and enjoying each day, no matter how many challenges I face. A wise mama once told me, this too shall pass means all of it, and "I am here now" reminds me to be in the moment.
Invincible Living by Guru Jagat. Available at Inner Light