Having a mantra is an important step on a journey to greater self-awareness. Too often, though, we find ourselves repeating sacred words and phrases without understanding how their meanings can enhance our spiritual practice.

The first time I was in the arms of Mata Amritanandamayi, known around the world as Amma, the Hugging Saint, she whispered a special mantra in my ear to bring me closer to the energy of the Divine Mother. Traditionally, when a mantra is selected by a holy person, it is intended to become part of your Sadhana, or spiritual practice. After basking in the glow of Amma's love, I chanted this mantra every day, repeating the sacred phrase 108 times with the help of my japa mala or rosary. I soon came to the realization that a mantra, no matter what the words or verse are, simply creates a vibration and encourages a spiritual awakening. It is meant to bring you closer to your Source and give meaning to the words you are chanting.

Since then I have created many mantras of my own. Mantra is a Sanskrit word consisting of the root man, ormanas, meaning "the mind," and the suffix tra, meaning "tool or instrument." A mantra is thus a tool that delivers the mind from illusions through sound and vibration. Each mantra has a sound pattern that suggests a particular meaning to the mind. Used extensively in Tibet and India, these phrases and sounds speak to the heart by inspiring unshakable faith and divine love in both the one who chants and the One Who Hears.

Sound Reverberation

Chanting, an ancient meditative technique, is simply the process of repeating a mantra. It is often an invocation of the Divine Presence or a devotional chant dedicated to the Beloved. When you call the name of the Beloved, you actually invoke the Beloved Itself. The name of God, in any wisdom tradition, is often thought of as God's very being. This is why it is said you can experience the Divine by repeating the name. The sound vibration of the name of the Beloved can awaken love in your heart, mind, and every aspect of your physical and emotional being.

Mantras relate to the idea of sound reverberating throughout the universe. They can therefore be understood as the "sound body" of the Divine, or the Divine manifesting in the form of sound. All nature's sounds can be considered mantras: consider the sounds of the birds, wind, or ocean. As humans, we are never at rest because we are constantly vibrating at the cellular level and forever moving with our breath, the gift of life. Together, we are a sum total of the Living Force.

Chanting OM (AUM)

According to Indian belief, sound existed in the beginning and reverberated as OM. From that sound, all other things came into existence. In the Christian text, it is written, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." OM, sometimes spelled AUM, is considered to be the primordial sound of the universe, or the first sound of creation.

In Hinduism, OM is known as the Pranava Mantra, or the source of all mantras. It is the most basic vibration and represents the past, present and future of the entire universe. This is why many Hindu prayers begin and end with OM. Chanting OM settles the mind and allows a person to attune to the universal Self that lives within all things.

The AUM sound is a combination of three parts:

A: Sounds like "ahhh" and represents wakefulness.
U: Sounds like "ohhh" and represents the dream state.
M: Sounds like "mmm" and represents the serenity of deep and dreamless sleep.
The silence that follows AUM represents pure consciousness.

By chanting OM, you align with the vibration of the universe. Pretty powerful stuff! It is a beautiful realization that we are connecting with the very essence of life by chanting OM. It is that to which we all belong. It is an expression of Oneness. Remember, when we repeat words or sounds, we are accepting the essence of those ideas into our field of energy. If your desire is to attune to love, honor, compassion, beauty, kindness, gratitude, or unity, you must raise your vibration to that level. If you can imagine the Divine as all of those qualities, and more, then choose a mantra that encompasses those ideas.

The language is not important. It can be an inspirational prayer, a series of words, a song, or a poem. Chant and identify with your mantra completely, and you will draw circumstances and people into your life that align with the essence of those ideas.Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all collectively raised our vibration? Anything we thought or said would attract a similar vibration. If you make the effort to have positive thoughts and use auspicious language, you can expect to see that same vibration, or resonance pattern, appear in many areas of your life!

Make your mantra positive and beautiful! As long as you are vibrating with OM or humming to abundance, loving relationships, or a singing a song of deep gratitude to the Divine, know that whatever energies you hold in your consciousness will manifest in your experience.

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