Everyone needs some positive reinforcement in their life. Sometimes, the odds are simply stacked against you; your boss might be annoying, you might have family issues, or there could be an illness preventing you from moving forward. In times of great stress and anxiety, it’s always a good idea to have a personal mantra to fall back on, to give you that emotional and psychological pick-me-up that helps you move forward. So, what is your personal mantra?
Some of you might think, “What, mantras? Don’t we live in the 21st century? Why would I need a superstitious thing like a personal mantra?” And I fully understand that sentiment, especially in this fast-paced world. But I advise everyone to keep an open mind while reading this article. It just might change your mind and, in the process, change your life.
Some Basic Info on Mantras
Before solving the what is your personal mantra riddle, it’s instructive to learn what a mantra is. And for the purposes of this article, you need to make a distinction between two terms:
• Traditional mantras
• Modern personal mantras
Mantras are sacred sounds, words, phrases, phonemes, syllables, or even groups of words uttered in Sanskrit. They play a vital role in several religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, all of them based on the Indian subcontinent.
Depending on the school of thought, mantras can be used for different purposes. Some people use them to achieve inner peace and stability. Others might utter them to gain greater focus and self-motivation. In modern times, people will also use mantras to help them with various problems (e.g., to quit drinking or smoking, to lose weight, etc.).
By far the most famous of these traditional mantras is Om or Aum (pronounced ohm). It doesn’t have a direct translation to English, and most scholars simply refer to it as the ‘whole of Veda’ or ‘the affirmation to something divine.’
Of course, there are other famed mantras in traditional religions:
• Hare Krishna (a repetition of the many variations of Krishna’s name)
• Ham-Sah (‘I am that I am’, uttered by God to Moses)
• Ho’oponopono (‘I love you; I’m sorry; please forgive me; thank you’ in Hawaiian)
• Satchidananda (‘existence, consciousness, and bliss’ in Sanskrit)
Traditional mantras can be powerful. But when someone asks you, ‘What is your personal mantra?’, they’re not talking about sacred words or phrases.
Generally speaking, a personal mantra is a phrase unique to each individual. It’s based on your lived experience and is meant to express what you desire the most.
Interestingly, personal mantras are not limited to individuals. For example, companies and corporations will have their own ‘sacred utterances’ that end up as slogans. Here are a few examples:
• ‘Make believe’ — Sony
• ‘The best or nothing’ — Mercedes
• ‘Connecting people’ — Nokia
• ‘I’m loving it’ — McDonald’s
• ‘Friendship, effort, victory’ — Shonen Jump
• ‘Inspire the world, create the future’ — Samsung
• ‘Work hard. Have fun. Make history.’ — Amazon
On a lighter note, even some of the most famous fictional characters in popular media have personal mantras:
• ‘Up, up, and away!’ — Superman
• ‘The things I do for love!’ — Courage, the Cowardly Dog
• ‘Cowabunga!’ — Michelangelo of the TMNT
• ‘Azarath Metrion Zinthos’ — Raven of the Teen Titans
Naturally, there’s a good chance that someone you know has a personal mantra of their own. They probably have something that they say to themselves whenever they’re feeling down on their luck or stressed out. But what is your personal mantra supposed to be, and how can you find it? Here’s a handy guide that just might help you.
Tips on Finding a Personal Mantra
1. What Does It Mean to Me?
A mantra will be useless if it doesn’t hold any meaning to you personally. For example, the phrase ‘Love conquers all’ will have a lot of weight to someone looking for a partner, but it can be meaningless to a person who wants financial success.
With that in mind, you need to use a word/phrase that holds weight in your own life. It would help if it is directly related to the emotional or psychological hurdle you want to overcome. Therefore, go with positive words such as ‘love,’ ‘peace,’ ‘harmony,’ ‘prosperity,’ ‘calm,’ ‘passion,’ etc.
Coming up with a meaningful phrase isn’t easy. It takes a long time, as well as lots of thinking and introspection.
So, in order to organize your thoughts, take a piece of paper (or a whole notebook; the process might take a while) and start jotting down everything you can. Don’t worry about coherence; let the mind flow and let everything that comes to it ‘drop’ onto paper.
Once you have a solid amount of lines written down, put away the pen and take a look at the mess before you. After all, it might just contain one or two meaningful phrases that can cause your heart to twitch. Do keep it short, though — no longer than 15 words.
3. Positive Direction
Like all things in life, a mantra needs to have a purpose, a clear direction. Remember, this is the phrase you will be uttering regularly in order to achieve something.
However, make sure not to include any negative thoughts or phrases in the mantra itself. Even if you use them in a positive context, they will still have that negative denotation from the original definition of the original words. For example, don’t say ‘I don’t want to be sad’, but rather ‘I want to be happy’.
Sacred phrases need to be uttered over and over again. After all, what is your personal mantra going to achieve if you don’t repeat it enough times? The long and short answer is nothing.
So, how many times should you repeat the phrase you’ve decided on? Well, it really depends on your preference. As a beginner, you might want to start with 20 or so times a day. But as you’re getting used to the phrase, let your mind drift deep into the subconscious and keep repeating the phrase for as long as you feel the need to.
What Is Your Personal Mantra: A Few Tips at the End
Now that you have your personal mantra, you’re likely to live a happier life and reduce your stress to a minimum. Before you go, I’d like to provide a few more tips to make your future chanting flow organically:
• Repeat your mantra in a quiet, calm environment free from stress and negativity
• You can repeat it either while sitting down or walking around the room
• Concentrate on your goal while speaking the words
• Try to do it regularly, at a set schedule
• Write the mantra down on pieces of paper and place them strategically around your home
So, what is your personal mantra going to achieve for you? Well, that’s for you and you alone to find out!