Use Mantras to Focus Your Mind and Change Your Life
We are all leaders of our own lives and we need all the focus we can muster in order to do the mundane and the miraculous. It can be a full-time job in itself, but discipline and consistency pay off.
Even if you are "not interested in yoga," you can be interested in the power of sound. You know some sounds resonate as peaceful, some can be abrasive, some energizing.
There are many mantras to choose from, either from your favorite CD, a resource book or you may seek the traditional approach for guidance from your yoga teacher. Focus on one mantra during your practice. Through repetition, the mantra will rest in your heart and repeat itself even when you are not formally in your practice time.
Tips to try this out:
Begin by stating to yourself your intention – your starting point problem, question, or desire.
You may initiate a new journal and either write it or sketch it in a way that is clear to you or fold it up and put it in a special place where it will remain for the duration of your discipline. Perhaps you will create a special healing space such as an altar with your favorite incense, a lovely candle, an inspiring picture or figurine or crystal. This will also be the place where you come to practice your discipline each day, your sanctuary. The painting in this photo is by one of my students, Julia Sheppard.
She painted it for me and it is a most special touchstone on my desk.
Now that you have prepared the foundation for your discipline choose the approach that appeals to you:
Repeat the mantra as often as possible over a 21-day period.
This means using the windows of time during your day to chant your mantra. It might also mean a regular interval in your day where you are conscious of your mantra practice during more formal sessions.
Use the classical 40-day discipline, and set your practice at the same time, upon rising in the morning and before going to bed in the evening.
This is your sacred time to practice without interruption. In the classical sense, a 40-day discipline is one in which you repeat the same mantra every day for those 40 days. As with everything else, the more attention you apply to your intention, the more dramatic the results. This is one reason for the classical twice a day ritual.
Determine for yourself in a spacious and focused way how much time you will devote to your practice. And hey, if for you, the modern yogi(ni) this is when you are on a walk, sitting at your desk, in the car at a red light, and you only get in 5 repetitions, that are always better than 5 negative or worrisome thoughts.
Don't judge, practice!
If you wish, set aside a special mala or rosary that you will use for this specific practice until you have completed your discipline. Either place it in your sacred space or wear it. Most malas have 108 beads, as the Vedic teachings state there are 108 principal astral channels leading from the heart in the subtle body out to the rest of the subtle body. Saying your mantra 108 times sends energy into each of these channels. Using a mala keeps your energy focused on your meditation.
Once you have started on this silent journey, there will be consequences from your effort. Tensions may ease or arise, obstacles or irritations may come up as you clear through resistance and negative energy patterns, and doorways may open.
You will be faced with the choice always to move through, open up, recreate new internal energy patterns or give into those parts of the self that do not seem to want to change and grow. Knowing that this is a natural part of the voyage, relax into your practice.
Engage your peaceful warrior spirit and if it is within you.