Personal affirmations can transform your life one word at a time
by Karla Refoxo
Start and end your day with your mantra.
Among traditional cultures around the world, many have creation stories about the universe being birthed from song. The ancient Hindu texts—the Vedas—teach that Om is the hymn of the universe. Om is a mantra, itself a Sanskrit word derived from two words: man, meaning mind, and tra, meaning vehicle.
Essentially, a mantra is a vehicle for the mind’s journey, one that can be used for prayer, meditation or celebration. Many traditions use mantras as vehicles for reaching the divine or as ways to connect with the most divine aspect of Self.
A mantra can be your personal song of affirmation. When recited aloud, quietly, and with faith, honest intention and focus, it can help you transcend the traumas, struggles and challenges that accompany life.
Such positive affirmations can help us find inner tranquility and focus. They can guide us in making peace with painful pasts and with the turbulence of life that so many of us swim in every day. Mantras hold a precious ability to guide us into the present and to find deeper fulfillment. At this moment, a mantra can add sweetness to your life or begin to bring closure.
Dean Davidji of Chopra University says mantras hold immense power: “Mantras with meaning can connect the reciter to a particular intention and help awaken a specific state of consciousness.” One of his favorites is “I am the Universe” or “Aham Brahmasmi” in Sanskrit. “It’s a mantra that offers surrender to the divine, as well as a powerful affirmation,” Davidji says.
In Nepal, where I have lived and worked for more than a decade, I often stay at Boudha, a pilgrimage site sacred to Tibetan Buddhists. I’ve observed the power of mantras in such a potent way it begs to be shared. Worshippers come from great distances and have often battled oppression and risked their lives to get to their sacred site. Pilgrims—repeating the Tibetan mantra of compassion—circle the stupa, a mound-like structure, day and night as a form of prayer.
The extraordinary depth of their faith is palpable. In the middle of a dusty valley, in the vast shadow of the Himalayas, it feels as though these devoted people are surrounded by an ocean, yet being there with them it also feels as though we are all protected within the huge, glowing heart of a mother.
Everyone goes to the valley seeking blessings. Their mantras, repeated by thousands and with trust, help them go from misery and darkness, into hope, light and union. Whenever I joined them in the repetition, I felt compassion streaming into and emanating out of every pore of my being.
I now use this mantra when I feel small, judgmental or disconnected in any way. I use it as my path toward a bigger life, and I use it to reconnect to the light or when I feel lost in darkness.
Your mantra doesn’t have to be Indian, Tibetan or exotic in any way. The simple refrain from Paul McCartney’s “Let It Be” or the phrase “I love my life” are powerful mantras. Your mantra is your howl to the universe—the word or words that express your heart’s most cherished prayer.
Felt deeply and repeated with love, passion and trust, your mantra has the ability to support you through challenges and transform your life, one word at a time.
Getting Your Mantra On
• Start with the intention you most want to cultivate. “Something good will happen to me today,” has been the mantra for an 85-year-old New York City native for the past 50 years. And she says, without question, something great always happens.
• A mantra should have the vibration of prayer. It is you, talking to the divine. “I have everything I need inside of me,” is a sweet mantra that can be repeated when feeling deficient.
• Repeat your mantra with enthusiasm and love.
• Repeat it often during the day or when you need it most: in traffic, on the subway, on the treadmill, or right before that tough morning meeting.
• Repeated enough, your mantra will become part of the fabric of who you are and a steady support for you always.