It can be incredibly helpful and a huge relief to remember that we are not our thoughts. That endlessly nagging, judgemental voice that takes up space in your head? The one that tells you how badly you messed up, how useless or stupid you are, or how that dream you have could never come to fruition? Yeah, that's not the true you.
Sometimes, that voice isn't particularly nasty or malicious. Nonetheless it can be a never-ending big-mouth, endlessly commentating on your day-to-day existence. It takes up space, complicates your sense of clarity, makes it challenging to hear your Divine inner-knowing. It takes you out of fully being in the moment.
I've written before about the peace and spaciousness to be found in being present to the moment. While meditation is usually the first tool one thinks of, there are many ways to come to presence, and sitting in perfect silence is only one of them.
First of all, as soon as you have the awareness to come back to where you are now, you're there, you're back.
Another tool is the use of mantras and affirmations. They serve to not only bring you back to the now, but also to remind you that you are not that nagging endless voice in your head! You are simply the observer. You can choose to listen and believe what you hear, or you can intentionally re-create the thought-forms to better align with your Divine, powerful nature.
Here are some of my favourite mantras and affirmations that help me to reconnect with who I am, raise my vibration, as well as put out into the Universe the intentional energy I wish to project. Give them a shot. You can say them aloud, or silently in your head. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
1) Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo
Written in Gurmukhi, the Sikh alphabet, this mantra is used in the Kundalini Yoga tradition to tune-in before any practice. It can be translated to mean, "I bow to the Divine Teacher within."
2) Om Namah Shivaya
A Hindu mantra written in Sanskrit, it is considered potent and full of peaceful, healing energies. The mantra is a devotional calling to Shiva (a deity of death/destruction) to assist in the destruction of Ego, and therefore can be seen on a calling upon the Higher Self. Translated, it means, "Adoration to Shiva." I have also seen it loosely translated to mean, "I bow to all that I am capable of becoming," which resonates personally in my heart, and is the message I choose to tap into when I use it. When I acknowledge and take the wheel back from my Ego, I am giving power back to my Higher Self and all the possibilities that entails. Expansive power, Oneness with the Universe.
3) Aad Guray Nameh, Jugaad Guray Nameh, Sat Guray Nameh, Siri Guroo Dayvay Nameh
A little bit more of a mouthful, this mantra really does roll off the tongue with some patience and practice, I promise! Another one from the Gurmukhi language, it is used to invoke protection and is traditionally chanted three times in a row before Kundalini Yoga practice. It brings a sense of peace, and for me, personally, reminds me that I am safe to open my heart chakra when I am feeling myself shutting down. This mantra can be translated to mean, "I bow to the primal Guru. I bow to the truth that has existed throughout the ages. I bow to True Wisdom. I bow to the Great Divine Wisdom."
4) May the Long Time Sun shine upon you,
All Love surround you,
And the Pure Light within you,
Guide your way on.
An Irish blessing. These words are sung following all Kundalini Yoga classes as a closing prayer. I encourage you to youtube it and find yourself a musical version that resonates with you. I sing this song almost daily to my kids, and sometimes to myself when I am needing it. It is simple, and it reminds me of the Light we all are at our core.
5) I am Thine, in Mine Myself, Waheguru. Humee Hum Tummee Tum Waheguru.
This mantra, written in Gurmukhi, is a fairly complex one, at least in terms of explaining in a single paragraph. Simply put, it reminds me to tap into and empathize that the "other" is me: We are One. There is much healing, peace, and strength to be found in this remembering. For an in-depth explanation of the use of this mantra, I encourage you to check out this link.
6) I am a Goddess, I am infinite power and infinite strength. I am safe.
This was a personally constructed mantra that came to me in labour with my second child. Personally constructed, or Divinely inspired? Who knows. What I do know, is that chanting it internally as the waves of pressure intensified was a much-needed reminder to surrender to the power and wisdom of my body, and to the innate wisdom of womanhood. I occasionally still use it when I need to tap into the truth of my power.
7) I love you. You are whole, complete, and accepted just as you are.
Another self-constructed mantra. Have you ever professed Love for yourself? I mean, really looked yourself in the eyes and said it? It is amazing how hard it can be for us to really take compliments from others, it's incredibly amazing how much we balk at giving ourselves real and unconditional Love. I was introduced to mirror work through the works of Louise Hay. If you can't Love yourself and know that you are worthy of that unconditional Love, then you will never fully accept it from another. What we search for on the outside, we need to learn how to find and access within. This is another fake it 'til you make it mantras. Find an expression of unconditional self-love that you can work with, and say it to your face in the mirror daily. Make eye contact with yourself. You deserve it.
Know that anything you choose can be a mantra! Find something that brings you comfort, reassurance, or strength. Anything that reminds you of your power, that you are safe, or loved, is fair game. Most of the mantras above- and more- can be found here, it is a wonderful resource if you find yourself intrigued by any I have shared.
Fake it 'til you make it-- sometimes when you first begin to use a mantra, it might take a few moments for you to settle into a rhythm and let the tension and fear go. Let the words send out their vibrations of peace and power for you to ride on. As Yogi Bhajan said about meditation, "Keep up and you'll be kept up."