Mantra..... Tool for the Mind and heart?
What is Mantra?
MAN = The Mind TRA = Tool for
Mantra is a tool for the mind, literally translated. I would also add a tool for the mind and heart.
My first experience with Mantra was during my first Teacher Training in London where we repeated many times the traditional Vedic chanting of the Mantra 'om trayambakam yajamahe', a travel mantra or mantra to keep you safe. I remember feeling quite overwhelmed as I couldn't pronounce the Sanskrit correctly however the feeling I got afterwards was like nothing I had experienced.
Once I got out of my head, worrying about what was right or wrong, what I was chanting to or about, my mind seemed to relax and be with the sounds. Later in the training, I accidentally went to my Teachers workshop which was half Chanting, half Asana (physical postures).
At first I freaked out a little, "I didn't come to chant! I came to do Asana. I don't have a good voice, I don't ever sing as I can never remember words of songs. Arr what have I got myself into!"
So I had a complete revelation when I began to chant during the first session, it seemed immediately to take me in the place of my heart, it was almost like something was lighting up inside, waking me up. An intensity I'm not sure I had ever felt, I felt like laughing and crying at the same time. Most of all I felt expanded and full of love and deeply humbled.
What space, place, time was I in? None of it mattered, all the drama, the thoughts, the desires, likes and dislikes disappeared for this period in time I was transported into a deep silent heart space of self. I am deeply grateful to Niki Slade, the teacher who shared her heart and voice, leading me to find my inner voice.
From that day I began a journey into my voice path looking for Mantra circles or kirtan events where ever I was going.
During the early days with Nikki Slade, she once said to me "One day you will lead Kirtan", I said I could never imagine it! However 12 years on and now slowly slowly this seed is manifesting. My love for mantra has opened such a wonderful heartfelt world of Bhakti, beautiful people and a wonderful way to transform consciousness.
As Sally Kempton has stated "When you receive a mantra from a teacher and practice with it over time, you find out how profoundly these sacred sound can shift the energy of your mind, your emotional body, and even your physical body".
If you are not ready to practice with a Mantra yet and you are scared of sharing your voice like I was. Start with the toning sounds for the voice, these will help to begin opening the voice, throat chakra and create new neural pathways to the brain, as well as bringing you to the present moment, allowing you to just be and to find relaxation. Don't be harsh on yourself or your individual sound that comes out. If you do this practice regularly your voice will change.
Let me know how it goes for you. Most of all enjoy.