by Dr. Deb Kern
I’ve been practicing mantras for as long as I can remember.
And so have you.
The origin of the word ‘mantra’ comes from the Sanskrit root ‘man’—which means to think. So the original meaning of mantra is ‘thought vibrations.’
Here’s the thing about thought vibrations: they can be positive, healing, supportive and expansive (I feel great! I am filled with Divine Love. I am peaceful and abundant)—or they can be negative, wounding, destructive and constricting (I’m such a slacker. I’m so fat/ugly/old. I’ll never get ahead.).
What thought vibrations are on a continuous loop in your mind? Are they positive and healing or negative and wounding? If they are the latter, it’s time for you to investigate a healing mantra practice!
Choosing a mantra
There are many ways to choose a mantra. In a Centering Prayer practice, the instruction is to choose a word that opens your heart that you repeat as you inhale and as you exhale. Words like peace, love, joy and harmony.
Ancient, wise Vedic teachers discovered that certain sound vibrations can be used to clear out the trash of all those habitual, repetitive thought vibrations we store in our unconscious and subconscious. They also discovered that the sound of mantras acts like lithotripsy, which is modern medicine’s way of using sound vibration to break up blockages. Each mantra has a specific vibration to break up specific blocks and bring your energy to a higher frequency. With the expansion of yoga in the west, mantras like “Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha, Sat Nam, and Wahe Guru” are being heard in classes and concerts.
So ... can mantra practice be dangerous?
YES—if you are consciously or unconsciously repeating negative thought vibrations (mantras).
NO—if you are consciously or unconsciously repeating positive thought vibrations (mantras).
How do you get a mantra?
For years I simply used phrases I had learned in church that made my heart expand and helped me feel connected to God. When I was little, I remember repeating “Jesus loves me” and “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart” whenever I was scared or sad.
In my teenage and young adult years I found myself repeating “Create a clean heart in me, and renew a right spirit within me” and “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”—Especially when I was feeling angst.
Later, when I began the study of yoga, I was introduced to pure sound vibration and began using specific sounds like “ram, om and shanti.” Over time I felt the healing effect of these vibrations and continued expanding my use of different sounds as my teacher gave them to me.
I was also introduced to the chanting of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke) by my spiritual guide, Sister Maurus Allen. Sister Maurus was a Benedictine nun who taught yoga at the convent. The practice of chanting the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer while doing sun salutations is still one of my favorite spiritual practices.
More recently, I’ve enjoyed learning virtually from teachers who have been initiated in mantra—teachers who embody the vibration of the mantra. Three of my of my favorite teachers for this are Sally Kempton, Deva Premal and Carrie-Anne Moss. Whenever I chant along with them (via recordings) I can feel the powerful, positive effect. If you don’t have a teacher who can teach you mantras in person, I highly recommend Sally, Deva or Carrie-Anne.
In my dance class we dance to mantras being chanted by Guru Singh, Gurunam Singh, Snatam Kaur, Satkirin Kaur Khalsa, Mirabai Ceiba, Karen Drucker and Aykanna.
I would love to hear from you—who are your favorite teachers to chant and dance mantra with?
Dr. Deb Kern
HEALTH SCIENTIST AND MOVEMENT GODDESS
Deb Kern, Ph.D. is a teacher of vision, a sought-after intuitive guide, health scientist, author and speaker. She shares her many modalities of healing and insight with women of all ages in her retreats and workshops, and offers one-on-one Divine Your Life sessions with true soul seekers from all over the world. Connect with Dr. Deb Kern at DrDebKern.com.