Hemning Sternberg (moonshadow) wrote,
Hemning Sternberg

mantra study

Recently rampala turned me on to the Huffington Post, the living section of which I have been RSSing on my Flist. (If only it would cut after a certain number of words, like other feeds! Anybody know how to adjust that? I'm getting pages worth of essays, here, I'd rather just click on the ones I'm interested in reading in full.)

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?
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