Healing Power of Mantra
Sound has a tremendous power to condition our consciousness for good or for ill. In fact, most conditioning occurs through the medium of sound, particularly as words, from which derives the education that structures our minds. Whether as words or music, no other sensory potential has such a capacity to affect us. Sound moves the mind and heart, influencing us on subconscious, conscious and super conscious levels. It can reach deep inside and touch our core desires and aspirations.
Our conditioning is nothing but the sound patterns to which we have accustomed our minds. To reprogram the mind, to remove its negative conditioning and replace it with one that is beneficial –– which is the essence of psychological healing –– the therapeutic use of sound is the central too. Mantra is not only a sensory tool for healing the mind by using the power of sound and linking it with meaning and feeling, but it also affects the very nature of the mind and is part of the mind itself.
Different sound formations make up the different functions of the mind. The sound vibration of impressions and information make op the outer mind (Manas). The sound vibration of abstract knowledge, principles and ideals sustains intelligence (Buddhi). The sound vibration of our deepest feelings and intuition makes up the inner mind or consciousness (Chitta). The ultimate source of sound is the spiritual heart or center of consciousness, our true Self (Atman) from which the eternal sound or Divine word ever arises. To change our sound patters changes the vibratory structure of our consciousness.
There are many ways to use sound in healing, from counseling itself, which is largely verbal, to music. However, in Ayurvedic healing, the most important sound therapy is mantra. Mantra means that which saves, trayati, the mind, Manas. Mantra is the main and most direct Ayurvedic tool for healing the mind, from its deepest layers to its surface actions.
Mantras are specially energized sounds or words. They may be simple single sounds like OM or special phrases of prayers intoned or sung in various ways. Mantras are repeated in a regular manner in order to empower them and turn them into tools of psychological transformation.
All conditioning through works is a kind of mantra. Any key work or phrase that we repeat, memorize and hold deep inside ourselves is a kind of mantra. When we repeat a though of anger or hatred for another person, it is a dark or Tamasic mantra. When we repeat out desires of success and achievement, it is a Rajasic or disturbed mantra. Such mantras do not heal the mind but perpetuate its patterns of ignorance and agitation.
For truly healing the mind, Sattvic mantras, which aim at dissolving the ego and promoting self-awareness, are required. These are mantras born of love and the seeking of wisdom. Real mantra is quite different than the use of words to subconsciously influence our behavior, like advertising or propaganda, which promote ignorance and attachment (Rajas and Tamas), Mantra is not a form of self-hypnosis but a way of deconditioning the mind by breaking up unconscious sound and thought patterns through those the reflect a higher truth and energy.
Some may ask, isn’t all conditioning of the mind wrong? Shouldn’t we seek to decondition the mind entirely? This is a mistake and can never be accomplished. The mind, as an organic entity, requires the right conditioning, just as the body does. The body requires a specific regimen, with proper timing and manner of eating, exercise, and sleep. The mind also requires a regimen of taking in impressions, mental exercise and rest. If we fail to give the proper conditioning to the mind, we will only give it the wrong conditioning. The unconditioned is the goal, but this exists in the true Self beyond the mind-body complex. To achieve it, the mind-body complex must be put in the proper Sattvic condition first. A deconditioned mind, like an unconditioned body, with simply be out of control.