Anyhow, this led me to an HP article on the 33 fruits and veggies that are best for longevity, and that in turn led me to an article on mantras. I didn't quite love the article - I wanted more hard data - but it was pretty interesting. I liked that it gave examples from different religions and it made me wonder what a good pagan mantra would be.
I think everyone knows at this point that I started doing yoga again last October when I joined the gym. At one of the first classes I was in, the instructor used the mantra "om namah shivaya" which felt like it went straight to my soul. It gave me the shivers. So, I think it to myself a lot during yoga practice now. It basically means something like, "I surrender to ultimate truth," or "I bow to my higher self." I had not considered using it in stressful situations, though.
In an odd coincidence, I have helped two friends to come up with affirmations this week. Affirmations are a lot like mantras, in my opinion, because in both cases you're trying to reprogram your own brain. My gym affirmation, which I posted about on my workout filter a while back, is "I'm listening to my body and I'm getting really good at this," which I repeat whenever I start to feel intimidated by the svelte bodies around me that seem to find advanced cardio choreography no challenge.
I think the biggest difference between a mantra and an affirmation is that a mantra is typically something that has deeper symbolic or spiritual resonance. Like, I'm not literally saying "I bow to the ultimate," I'm saying words in a language that I don't speak. Symbols invoke the power of the subconscious mind instead of just staying with Talking Self.
Do you use a mantra or an affirmation? What is it? What does it mean to you?