As of late, I’ve discovered an exciting new tool that I use in my spiritual work that I’d like to share with all of you who are working to become more whole. Mantras have become a powerful way for me to break free of panic attacks, anxious situations, and a coping mechanism when dealing with the trauma of my past. While the roots of mantra work are deeply entwined in Hinduism, I believe that we can use mantras as a way of healing ourselves to do our best work as Magickal Witches and Pagans. The definition of mantra is as follows:
(originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.
a Vedic hymn.
a statement or slogan repeated frequently.“the environmental mantra that energy has for too long been too cheap”
When you think of Mantras, you might instantly envision an orange-robed monk sitting cross-legged and chanting the word “AUM” (OM) over and over again in a temple somewhere in India or Tibet. The truth is, Mantras are much more common than you might think… in fact, you’ve seen Mantras allover the place. Let me give you some examples of those incantations that have colored Western society for the last 50-60 years.
Just about everyone knows these catch phrases in American culture. You can see the McDonalds logo and your brain may instantly play the sale’s jingle in your head of “I’m loving it!” You might even envision crispy chicken nuggets, a savory Big Mac, or a Southwestern Salad sans the chicken if you’re a vegetarian like myself. I know I do! Well, it got me to thinking about the impact that has on our minds. Corporate culture devises powerful ways to distract us from our priorities and focus our attention (and our wallets) on their products. What if we could take ancient tradition and modern thought and blend them into a formidable tool to take back our thoughts and reclaim a part of ourselves lost through the abuse and trauma we’ve suffered in our lives?
During my darkest times, I turned inward to the world that hides within all of us. My mind would be forcefully trying to push destructive and depressive thoughts on me and I was literally choking in a sea of my own regrets. I would start having horrible panic attacks and anxiety and those moments would lead to even worse decision making and poorly thought-out actions. If only I could quiet my mind and train my focus on something else I could regain control of what should be my own mind instead of replaying the visions of the past.
Even during conversation with folks, I would find myself disassociating and part of my mind jumping back to a previous conversation with an abusive relative. I would then react at that individual as if they were my family member and all of that repressed anger and rage would come exploding out of my mouth worse than a raging forest fire. The destruction caused by my mind betraying has been a concussive shock force that permeated into all parts of my daily life, although, when I recognized what I was doing, I knew I had to take charge and put an end to these habits.
While studying for my role as Clergy, I delved into Hinduism harder than ever before. I found that mantras were a way of steering focus from one situation to another. You might have heard some spiritualists talking about shifting your vibration and these words sound great if you know what they mean. Shifting your vibration, at least to me, is taking your focus from a very dark place in your mind to a place where you can reason and apply logic to any situation. When we’re stuck in a thought-loop that doesn’t serve us, we lose the ability to consciously solve problems and overcome challenges because we’re stuck in the past.
I started with a mantra to Ganesha since He is the primary deity that I work with to remove my obstacles. When I looked up some Mantras to Him, I found that some of them were a bit hard to memorize considering the fact that I am always being interrupted at home by the children and their needs so I committed myself to a short, simple Mantra that was easy to repeat. To expand further on this, if you are interested in using Mantras to quiet your mind, consider the fact that it is not a requirement that you pay homage to any particular deity. Mantras don’t have to be aimed to a Hindu deity or any deity at all from any pantheon. You can use purely secular phrases to train your focus and steer yourself away from cloudy visions of your past. What is important is that the words you use are meaningful to you and help you accomplish whatever goal you are seeking. I’ll give you a few simple examples since Mantras can be as elementary or complex as you need them to be.
Spiritual / Deity Work Mantra Examples:
Om Kreem Kali
Jai Kali Ma
Odin guides me!
I am the Divine essence of the Universe.
I am a Wise, Empowered Witch
Secular Mantra Examples:
I can heal myself.
I can lose weight.
I am a Warrior.
I can overcome (input challenge here)
Good things are happening to me!
I made quiet-time for repeating my daily mantra (for me, it had to be 4:30AM because that is a time that children are not awake and actively needing their mother) and I chose a spot in my home where I could completely focus on repeating that Mantra without being disturbed. I found at first that performing a Mantra could be harder than I anticipated. I had so many thoughts running through my mind that it was difficult to concentrate on that single phrase without a myriad of images and memories flooding my consciousness. The trick here is simple – Keep at it. Nothing replaces dedication for this tool to work properly. You will struggle with quieting your mind at first, yet over time the ability to shift consciousness and focus on something greater becomes easier and easier.
If you were raised Catholic like me, you can’t help but see the similarities between reciting the Holy Rosary and Mantra. To take it a step further, many Mantra practitioners use Mala or prayer beads to keep track of their place when reciting mantras. The most auspicious number to recite Mantras is 108. This number is sacred to many Hindu deities and seems to be a key number in helping our thought patterns jump the track. You can use Mala beads as a counting tool or not (in the early times, I used my fingers to keep count yet I warn that this can be a little confusing when you start to really focus your effort and get into the act of shifting focus.) You can also recite your Mantra as many times as needed for you to clear your mind and release the negative hold that your memories have on you.
A few days ago, I was put to the test with my Mantra work. An acquaintance of mine who is still trapped in negative thought processes was having a conversation with a few friends of mine. They ended up saying something directed at my person to get a reaction from me. Now, I don’t blame them for this because it just happens to be where they are in their progress and you can’t rush this process with other folks. You can only control your thoughts and actions. I felt the initial anger stir inside of me and I wanted to lash out, yet I recognized that I had to stay in the moment and in the conversation so I began to silently repeat the Mantra I use to work through this anxious times. I want to point out that I didn’t ignore my anger with happy thoughts, I acknowledged it and made a conscious choice to move on. I think we often downplay our feelings out of some mixed up sense of needing to fit in and be like everyone else. I think that’s destructive in the long run because we don’t confront those feelings, we end up running from them and they eventually catch up with us down the road.
Well, long story short, the Mantra did the trick! I found myself moving on in my head and staying current in the conversation instead of being lost in my thoughts and unable to move on. Even the anger dissolved and I was able to look at this individual with compassion. I’m still working with Mantras and will likely be for the rest of my life to control my temper and return to a place of logic and reason instead of unstable, writhing emotions. I’ve learned to recognize that taking a higher path enables me not only to rise up from fellow struggling individuals, it also helps me set a better example for them and this can cause a big ripple effect in aiding others through their own shadowy times.
Mantras are a great way to accomplish goals, build confidence, and shift vibrations to something that can be beneficial for us. If you have any questions or comments on Mantra work, please feel free to comment, e-mail, or PM me on Facebook about it! I would love to help or hear your insight on this article. As always, may your path be crystal clear! Namaste!