The origins of mantras date back 3,500 years when they were first written in Vedic Sanskrit in India. Yogis have long found mantras useful as therapeutic meditation tools through their practice of chanting or reciting certain sounds, syllables, and phrases. To yogic practitioners, the sounds uttered hold immense spiritual meaning and purpose.
While whole collections of mantras have been widely developed and practiced across various eastern schools of teaching such as Hinduism and Buddhism, modern science is just beginning to discover the benefits of chanting mantras.
While science can not directly understand many of the benefits and reasons behind practicing Hindu mantras, it is worth exploring Hinduism’s spiritual practices and culture to understand what people are gaining. For most people, chanting mantras focuses their thoughts and feelings to bring forward their highest intentions. To people of the Hindu faith, prayer to the god of destruction, Shiva, can help gain insight into the parts of themselves that no longer serve them, thereby breaking ground to lay down new habits, patterns, and lifestyles. The popular mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” aims to accomplish just this and more, often with musical style and rhythm that further aids in maintaining focus.
We may struggle to know what to draw as we don’t always know what we’re feeling. Suppose we instead let our overthinking minds take the backseat to mindfulness. In this way, we can bring awareness to our bodies, feeling its subtle complexities and tensions and allowing this information to guide our hand on the paper. The practice can seem daunting, but once you start drawing, you’ll likely discover something more about the way you’re feeling, something that your body has known before your conscious mind has.
Humans tend to overthink and get stuck living in their thoughts. Using creative art to just be present with what we’re doing can help us let go of much of the anxiety we feel, simply because fear doesn’t exist in the present moment. When our minds get stuck in the future, we experience the tension of anxiety.
In your mindfulness practice, cognitive behavioral therapy, or life experience, you may have noticed how deeply your thoughts affect you. Negative or intrusive thoughts are bound to appear, and whether they stem from insecurity, trauma or addiction. Letting those thoughts and feelings fester can quickly become overwhelming, causing tension and suffering in your life. Many of us discover deeply ingrained beliefs at the root of our psyches that ultimately hold us back from healing. These beliefs could include thoughts like “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not worthy of love,” or “I’ll be happy once I accomplish my goal.” Unaddressed, these beliefs become internalized and manifest in our relationships with ourselves, others, substances and the rest of our daily lives. Allowing these beliefs to grow can create toxicity in all aspects of our wellbeing.
Practicing positive affirmations is like planting and watering seeds of self-love. While negative thoughts may very well continue to arise, our mindfulness practice allows us to simply observe as they fall away. We can choose to create a new narrative, and through practice, loving beliefs can be grown inside of us.
For those who don’t know where to start, try chanting “I am worthy of love” and see what it feels like. You may notice that it doesn’t feel authentic, that it doesn’t roll off the tongue, or you feel tense saying it. Experiment with different positive affirmations for yourself, and try looking deeply at what doesn’t feel believable. It may be that those points are particularly important to address in your mindfulness practice or with a therapist.
As you develop positive affirmations for yourself, focus on speaking from the present moment. For example, instead of saying, “I will heal,” try saying, “I am healing.” Many find the phrase “I am” alone to be incredibly freeing and relaxing, likely because it gives us a chance to feel our experience of the present moment without attachments to our worries of the past and future.
Whatever your mantra may be, remember that healing is always a work in progress. Don’t look for the perfect mantra to cure all your ailments. Instead, realize that a world of self-love and healing already exists within you. You only need to practice expressing it. Letting go of your firmly held negative beliefs and limitations allows healing to take place. In this way, the ancient practice of mantra chanting can be similar to modern cognitive behavioral therapy through the challenge and reconstruction of our beliefs.
Healing can take place across many modalities. Mantras provide a way to focus meditation on sounds and vibrations created by your own body. Positive affirmations can offer practice in challenging and recreating your deepest self-beliefs. Safe Harbor understands the many challenges facing those experiencing mental disorders. Our program provides various therapies, including mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, trauma therapy and much more to help you overcome your suffering. Every thought and feeling that arises within you doesn’t need to define who you indeed are. Whatever you may be experiencing, be it addiction, trauma, depression or mental health issues, we are here for you. Located in Orange County, CA, Safe Harbor can help you access your inner potential for healing and change. We believe that recovery from addiction involves healing all aspects of the self, including the mind, body and spirit. Nobody deserves to suffer alone. Call us today at (833) 580-1473 to begin your transformational journey.