Mantra

by Admin
Updated: June 18, 2018

Using a well-designed mantra can produce productivity improvements and psychological benefits

A mantra can be used to boost resolve and sharpen focus while at the same time have a calming effect. A personal mantra can help achieve goals (especially when under pressure) and a company motto or concise mission statement can be much more effective when formulated as a mantra.

“Mantra” is a Sanskrit word from “man” meaning to think and “tra” referring to tools. A mantra is literally a psychological tool.

The word “Mantra” is associated with Hinduism but the concept exists independently of religious practices and is known by other names in other languages.

A mantra is usually a sound or simple phrase that is repeated out loud. It can also be written, it can be a symbol, something that you touch or an action you perform.

It is advocated by those who believe in it as a method of inducing an altered state of consciousness.

This article oversimplifies issues relating to mediation, but it serves the purpose of describing this idea...

Meditative processes

Beginners to meditation often have difficulty emptying their minds and preventing their thoughts from wandering. Repeating a simple sound that has minimal attached meaning (e.g. “Om”) helps by providing just enough mental and physical activity to displace consciousness.

Directed processes

Mantras for achievement work in a way similar to that described for mediation except they have a very specific meaning. Thoughts and emotions are then concentrated with a view to bringing that meaning into reality.

These mantras can be general (health, wealth etc.) or they can be precise. Precision tends to make them more effective but they can only be used one at a time.

It only works if you believe it

A mantra must be carefully designed to speak to subconscious beliefs. That is to say, if your mantra is “I can do this” against a deep emotional conviction that you can’t do it, your subconscious will align with your feelings and treat mantra use as something else you can’t do.

Apart from also being too general, the famous autosuggestion mantra of the Coué method - “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better” - is famously unreliable for this reason.

When attempting to bring about a major change, it’s important to protect against doubts. For example, “People only see what I want to be” doesn’t try to convince your subconscious you won’t make mistakes only that they won’t matter.

How to write a mantra

Mantras need to be short & punchy so you can say them multiple times quickly & easily (repetition effect). They don’t need to rhyme but they should be of a form you associate with wise phrases.

When spoken, first person present tense (I am) generally works best but third person (you are) can be equally if not more effective, especially when written.

Mantras work best when they connect what you are actually doing to the result you want (as I do x I achieve y).

More info

There is a great example of using colored wristbands as mantras at runnersworld.com and there are some interesting answers on the subject of whether there is scientific proof that mantras are beneficial at quora.com.

Meditation has a long history and can be a complex subject to discuss. How Meditation Went Mainstream (Ashley Ross, time.com) connects past to present and yogajournal.com has plenty of info relating to contemporary meditation practice.

The full text of “The practice of autosuggestion by the method of Emile Coué” (1922) can be obtained from archive.org (multiple formats are available).

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