These days whenever a politician repeats a promise over and over again commentators say that this promise has become a “mantra” for that politician. For the journalists, the word “mantra” means a meaningless phrase that is repeated endlessly. For yogis however, a mantra is a word or collection of words, which has the power of liberating a human being from all limitations.
How can the repetition of a word or a few words have the capacity to bring about such miraculous results? It is all based on a simple psychological principle, “as you think, so you become.”
If you someone tells you “You’re stupid,” that’s of course a bad insult and will hurt you. However if you start to think “I am stupid,” and keep repeating this phrase over and over, then that is far worse. When someone tells you that you are stupid, then this is a negative outer-suggestion. When you start to think about it, then you are giving yourself, a negative auto-suggestion. If you keep thinking in a negative way, then your personal development will be harmed.
Meditation mantras have a positive meaning. They remind you that your true nature is something great: pure consciousness and boundless love. If you start to think about the best part of your being, you will begin to have more confidence in yourself and this will become apparent in your actions.
However, many people have read philosophical, spiritual or self-help books explaining these ideas, and yet they never realize these great truths in their everyday reality. It is not enough to just think about a good idea once, and then close the book. You need to think in a concentrated and systematic manner over a period of time in order to get results.
Meditation mantras have a special quality that helps in the task of concentrated, positive thinking: their very vibration has the capacity to concentrate and focus your mind. Some sounds, such as power drill breaking a pavement, can upset you greatly, while other sounds, like soothing music, can transport you to another world.
The syllables and words used in meditation mantras have been chosen according their sonic capacity, and they greatly aid the task of concentration and contemplation, as well as carrying a positive meaning.
In order to get the benefits from mantra meditation, you need to meditate regularly with a mantra that has a positive meaning and the capacity to help you concentrate. You need to do it on a regular basis, sitting silently two times a day for a period of 10 to 30 minutes.
It sounds easy, but the common experience of most people is that as you sit and try to think about one word or one phrase, your mind is quickly filled with many other thoughts; thoughts about work, financial problems, disputes with people and all kinds of other matters. When this happens, and it certainly will, then you have to bring your mind back to the mantra. Meditation is a process where you concentrate on the mantra and its meaning for as long as you can, and when you mind wanders, you bring it back.