The Power of Mantras
For Day 7’s meditation, I used a mantra. I am excited to tell you about the mantra, since it is one of my favorites: “Om Namah Shivaya,” (Pronounced: Aum Namaḥ Śivāya). Om Namah Shivaya is made up of five syllables. Each of the five syllables relate to the five elements; earth, air, water, fire and ether (the shape-shifting element or the element of Spirit). It is said that everything is made up of these elements, so that when put together, the person reciting the mantra is connecting with all that there is. (Purposefully, Tuesday’s meditation was about these elements.)
First let’s hear about “Om,” since I am often asked what this means. This is an excerpt taken from organicsoul.com.
The familiar “Om” chant at the opening and closing of many yoga classes may just seem like a formality of the ancient practice. But the sound can manifest more than just a chanted mantra that resonates between studio walls—it actually is meant to connect you to the world around you through its vibrational currents which penetrate the air.
In dharmic spiritual philosophies, the meaning of the word Om (aum) is described as “the primordial seed from which all other sound arises and therefore of all creation,” according to YogaLifeJourney.com. “It is the reverberation, the resonance of the vibrational sound of the universe.” Om represents you and everything around you—in past, present and future.
The word Om is made of three sounds: A-U-M. When the three individual sounds are chanted separately (AH – OO – MM) it is meant to provide a connection to your head, throat and heart spaces. The final part of the word is the silence that follows the first three sounds—a silence that is the representation of pure consciousness. Read more
by Kim Fuller
Om Namah Shivaya
Om Namah Shivaya is ancient Sanskrit. It is translated literally, “I bow to Shiva.” or “Adoration to Shiva.” Namah means “I bow to.” However a yoga teacher once translated it as, “I am.” In a sense, “I believe in Shiva so much I become Shiva” or “I am one with Shiva.”
Shivaya or Shiva is the Supreme Reality, a combination of masculine and feminine energy. Shiva is everything, the Universe, or the Inner Self. So it is “I bow to my Self.” Or “I am one with my Self.” Or “I honor my Oneness with all there is.” The possible translations and meanings can fill a page.
I love this mantra so much because of a personal experience I had with it. One time whilst in meditation, this mantra came to mind. It came in contrast to some dark thoughts that were filtering through during the meditation. In fact, these severely negative and self depreciating thoughts had been rotating around my mind during that period in my life. The mantra came to combat these thoughts. It was like this in my head. “You are awful” (I tone this down), “No, You are Shiva”, “You are awful.” “Shiva.” “Awful” “Shiva”…on and on like two sibling arguing.
Using the mantra
I knew that this meditation was pivotal to my preferred sense of my Self. I needed this mantra to heal myself of this horrible identity. Instead of fighting myself, I began to say it as a mantra. Repeating it and counting to 108 on my fingers. The repetition helps re-circuit our brain.
So often, a negative thought comes through and that releases peptides in the brain and hormones that make us feel a certain way (i.e., sad, angry, worried). When these come often our brain gets used to these peptides and our cells conform to their shape so that they can carry them easier. It is like they plug in. When we want another belief to take over, a new or uncommon peptides form, but these are at first less recognizable. Their plug shape is different. The cells try to carry them and but it is awkward at first. It may feel fake or contrived.
Don’t despair! You are on your way. This is part of the process. With repetition, we change our cells ability to receive these new plug shapes. Soon, our cell begin to have the new preferred peptides shape in them. This is how mantras and affirmations work on a physiological level.
I continued this mantra daily for a month. And those particular negative thoughts have not returned. Years ago, I did a mantra of Green Tara. (oṃ tāre tuttāre ture svāhā – translation) Day 20’s Meditation features this mantra. And this also made an immeasurable difference in my life.
I mentioned that I did the mantra 108 times. Read about this sacred number in this blog post by Rachel Wallmuller, RYT on http://ihanuman.com Why 108 times?
One last suggestion is to listen to this mantra in one of the most moving songs by Deva Premal. Hear it on YouTube.
Did you ever use a mantra meditation?