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For each and everyone of us, not a day goes by without mentally repeating a word or a phrase. Whether it is something that concerns us or not, it has a great impact on what we are experiencing on a physical level. Just by becoming aware of our thoughts and words we say or think, we will become able to redirect the great power of repetition for our good and the good of others.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”
Repetition is a literary tool – the repetition of a word or phrase with the intent of making an idea clearer. This is a tool we can use on a day to day basis, with the aim of getting us into a state mind that stems from what that idea is proposing. We are familiar with several types of repetitions commonly used in both prose and poetry.
However, there are repetition mantras that originated in Tibet and India that we can benefit from to a great extent. These repetitions are so powerful that they influence the body, mind and emotions.
These powerful phrases are not just a set of random words. They are delicate word compositions. When repeating them, we create vibrations that change our mind and body. Mantras are sounds, and sounds are present everywhere, echoing in every part of the Universe. It is safe to say that every sound repetition is a form of a mantra. The sound of our breath is a mantra. The sound of our footsteps is a mantra. The sound of raindrops is a mantra. The sound of crickets is a mantra.
Ever since I discovered Yoga in the true sense of it’s meaning, I have been experiencing these powerful effects myself. Since my first ashram visit last year, I have immersed myself in this incredibly potent practice, and it hasn’t disappointed me so far. Most notably, mantras which are an essential practise in true Yoga teachings.
“Change your thoughts. Lift yourself above the self – created concepts of happiness and misery.”
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
At the beginning of my use of mantras, I tried to stay consistent in not failing "the rules" of repetition. I was putting unnecessary pressure on myself which hindered the joy I could feel. Even though I don’t know the exact moment when it happened, there came a time when I simply gave into the practice without any intellectualization. Only then did I experience enjoyment.
The same thing happens with creativity - it starts to flow when we detach from our ego and need for competition. From that moment on, it became a part of my daily routine. Repeating my mantras has become as necessary as washing my face or teeth early in the morning. As I prepare the body with all those small rituals, I prepare my mind and my energy flow for mantra repetition. I cannot put in words the feeling I have developed through my practice. No means of explanation are close enough; you start to distinguish subtle bodies from your gross body, and suddenly you became aware of all those possibilities within yourself, and aware of who you really are. You start to see all the colors of your being and the black and white image diminishes.
The process of mentally repeating and remembering a mantra is called Japa. With practice, Japa becomes well rooted in the mind, and the sound of the mantra flows continuously from moment to moment. Then it becomes Ajapa Japa: Japa without the mental effort normally needed to repeat the mantra. It may flow slowly, linked to the breath. With regular practice you will find that Japa practice will lead you to a much deeper understanding of yourself as you encounter new layers of your mind and body.
Mantra repetition is a great means for yoga practitioners who wish to deepen their practice, and to all those who want to get into contact with their true selves. Whether it is personal, universal or our own creation, mantra is as effective as the effort and energy put into it.
Some of us spend so much time focused on a love that will never happen, without realizing that love is all around us. All is full of love, if we give it a chance. Bjorks' lyrics say: “All is full of love, You just ain’t receiving”. By practicing mantra repetition we are learning to receive love and positive energy.
There is never enough time for commitment so find your local teacher for guidance and support.
C.G.Jung, Psychology of Kundalini Yoga; Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualisation; David Frawley, Mantra Yoga and the Primal Sound; Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Yoga Nidra;