Mantras are energized thoughts, sounds, words, or phrases. While we’re usually introduced to mantras like “om” or “so-hum” via yoga or meditation, most of us already have mantras that come from within. These are the mantras of the mind: primary thoughts that we consciously or subconsciously recite. Whether they’re negative or positive can greatly influence our beliefs about ourselves and the world, so it’s worth taking some time to reflect upon the mantras of our own mind.
Mantras might be statements of self-love or self-criticism. Repeated thoughts like “I’m beautiful” or “I’m special” are not most people’s inner mantras. More likely are negative, self-bashing thoughts like “I’m ugly”, “I’m old”, “I’m a loser”, or “I’m unloveable”; at least when living in a lower state of awareness.
As stated by Deepak Chopra, “Every cell in your body is eavesdropping on your thoughts.” The mind is incredibly powerful; so powerful that it’s even possible to create physical pain by believing that we’re sick. Therefore, if we repeatedly tell ourselves “I’m fat” or “I’m a loser,” our actions will eventually align with our thoughts.
It might feel like our thoughts have no consequence— that to think “I’m ugly” has no effect on the body. But our thoughts create our beliefs, our choices, our life. Say it enough, and we’ll wholeheartedly believe that we’re ugly. Our self-hatred will become evident to others and our self-confidence will go down. This negative belief can seep into all areas of life including our relationships and our work.
Eventually, negative mantras can create barriers and limits that need not exist. The only limitation to our growth and success is our own mind.
So, what mantras are you saying to yourself on a regular basis? What do you tell yourself when you look in the mirror? What do you tell yourself when you’re having trouble with relationships, or when your work isn’t bringing in the success you expected?
If there are some negative thought patterns happening, simply identifying and acknowledging their existence can help transform them.
After identifying what the negative mantras are, replace them with uplifting ones. These can be positive thoughts or specific spiritual mantras. For example:
Transform “I’m ugly” to “I’m a divine being.”
Transform “I’m fat” to “I love my body.”
Transform “I’m sick” to “I am healthy and strong.”
Transform “I’m unlovable” to “I’m lovable.”
As our very first thought of the day will set the tone for the hours that follow, it’s helpful to write the mantra on a piece of paper and stick it on the bathroom mirror (this is similar to how affirmations work). It will be one of the very first things we see in the morning. By looking at ourselves in the mirror while repeating the mantra with conviction, we reverberate its meaning to all of the cells in the body.
If we’re accustomed to the negative mantra, it might at first feel like we’re lying to ourselves when swapping it for the opposite.
However, we should remember that the initial negative mantra is the one that isn’t true. Each of us is a beautiful, divine being, lovable, and born into this world for a purpose. We are inherently good, and if we’ve veered off of a peaceful path, we can always return to it by way of our choices. We are blissful beings by nature.
Thankfully, the mind is very powerful. Just as we once made ourselves believe that we were ugly, or losers, or unlovable, we can make ourselves believe that the opposite is true. The difference is that this time the thoughts aren’t born out of fear, illusion, desire, or attachment to our sorrow. They are born out of truth.
Frawley, David and Suhas Kshirsagar. The Art and Science of Vedic Counseling. Twin Lakes: Lotus Press, 2016.
Here is a wonderful talk about how to transform your internal dialogue to achieve greater happiness, by the wonderful Dr. Srikumar Rao:
What mantras are you telling yourself? How could you improve on your subconscious mantras? Please share with us in the comment section below!