Thursday, February 9, 2017

Choose Your Own Mantra

A colleague asked me, "Do you engage in daily practice of some sort? What do you do to tune up, tune in?" 

In a general sense, my practice is the intention to stay present, to notice when ego's monkey mind takes over and—as in sitting meditation—come back to the present.

Often this means recognizing such triggers as anger, envy, hurt, or judgment and staying with the emotion, using what Stephen Cope in The Wisdom of Yoga refers to as restraint: "... the beginning of a process in which a pattern dies – beginning with the outward and visible gross behavior, and culminating with the death of the root of the pattern . . . These patterns, of course, take years or even lifetimes to be attenuated. But with each subtle attenuation comes an increasing sense of freedom and energy."

I've also used mantra meditation for many years, since I found the book Choose Your Own Mantra. Chanting (sometimes singing) a mantra can support your intention to be mindful.

Some online resources present a mantra as an affirmation such as "I will be successful in my career" or "I will have plenty of money." This is not an approach I recommend, because these desires can reinforce ego-patterns rather than transcend them. 

In Sanskrit the word "mantra" is derived from two words—manas, "to think/mind," and trai, "protect/free from." Thus, literal meaning of mantra is "to free from the mind." Saying any word produces an actual physical vibration and—when coupled with intention—mantras carry high energy.

Because Choose Your Own Mantra is no longer in print, I offer readers a few possibilities to consider. (I recommend the Sanskrit instead of English because words in our own language have images that cause the mind to wander): 

OPEN MIND  
Om Sri Maha Saraswatjai Namah (ohm shree muh-HAH suhr-uh-swuht-YAI nuh-muh)—deep study, mystical and academic wisdom. 

Om Sri Maha Lakshmiyai Namah (OHM shree muh-HAH luck-shmee-YAI nuh-muh)serenity of mind, humility, compassion.
OPEN HEART 
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya (ohm nuh-MOH b'huh'-guh-vuh-TEY VAH-soo-dey-VAI-uh)—invitation to Divine love.

Om Sri Kalikayai Namah (ohm shree KAH-lee-KAH-YAI nuh'-muh)grants mercy, in the manner of a loving mother to her child.
OPEN WILL 
Om So'Ham (ohm soh-hum)—liberation from limitations of the body and lower mind.

Om Namo Narayanaya (OHM' nuh-MO NAH-RAI-uh-NAI-uh)total liberation, the ability to dissolve obstacles resulting from egotism.
A great sage gave this mantra to his disciple, instructing that those who were not worthy should not hear it. The disciple immediately went onto the temple top and shouted it for all to hear. When the sage questioned his disobedience, the disciple replied, "I do not mind undergoing suffering if all these people can be freed."

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