Everyday Words to Live By: A Case for Reciting Mantras

by | Apr 2, 2024 | Spirituality | 0 comments

Photo by Prasanth Inturi

The eight lines of verses in the Commentaries on the Book of Wisdom by Russell Marlett are examples of a mantra, everyday words to live by that can serve to enhance life.

The word mantra comes from Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, and it roughly translates to “instrument of thought.” It shares roots with the English words “mind” and “mental.” With that in mind, it can be easy to see how mantras are not just melodic phrases. They can be powerful tools that are used in various spiritual traditions and are increasingly embraced in contemporary wellness practices. 

The world of mantras is diverse and multifaceted. They have history, purpose, and a profound impact on our minds, bodies, and spirits. For a lot of people, mantras are everyday words to live by, sources of inspiration and action.

The Origins of Mantras

The history of mantras is deeply intertwined with the development of Hinduism, one of the world’s oldest religions. The Vedas, the sacred texts of Hinduism, contain some of the earliest recorded mantras, including the revered “Om,” which is considered the primordial sound of creation by the Hindus. These mantras were believed to hold immense power, capable of invoking deities, influencing the course of events, and guiding practitioners towards spiritual liberation. They were so much more than just everyday words to live by.

Mantras also have a prominent place in Buddhism, where they are chanted during meditation to cultivate focus, compassion, and wisdom. The “Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ,” perhaps the most well-known Buddhist mantra, translates to “Praise the jewel in the lotus,” symbolizing the potential for enlightenment present within all beings.

Mantras are significant in other traditions besides Hinduism and Buddhism, such as Sikhism, Jainism, and Shinto. Each culture has developed unique mantras reflecting its specific beliefs and practices.

A Case for Reciting Mantras

The use of mantras extends far beyond religious rituals. 

Mantras serve as powerful anchors during meditation. Repeating a mantra can help focus the mind away from chatter and cultivate inner peace. Many mantras also hold specific meanings and intentions. Repeating a mantra can cultivate compassion within the practitioner. The rhythmic and repetitive nature of a mantra creates a calming effect on the nervous system. Studies suggest that chanting mantras can lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Some spiritual traditions believe that mantras can influence reality when chanted with focused intention. This practice, however, should be approached with caution, and a focus on personal growth should be taken rather than on external manipulation.

Lastly, mantras can act as powerful affirmations, reminding us of our inner strength and inherent potential.

Everyday Words to Live By

With the vast array of mantras available, selecting the right one can be daunting. Here are some considerations:

  • Consider your current goal or area of focus. Do you seek inner peace? Do you want to cultivate compassion? Choose a mantra that aligns with your intentions.
  • While some mantras hold specific meanings, others are simply sounds. Understanding the meaning can deepen your connection to the mantra, but only when it is necessary that you are looking for something more specific.
  • If you’re new to mantras, consider seeking guidance from a teacher or trusted resource to learn about different traditions and appropriate mantras to use.

The key to unlocking the power of a mantra lies in its consistent repetition. Dedicate time each day to chanting your chosen mantra, either silently during meditation or aloud in a quiet space.

The eight lines of verses in Commentaries on the Book of Wisdom by Russell Marlett are similar to mantras, everyday words to live by. Learn more about the book!


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