January 18, 2015

A mantra is a wonderful way to cleanse the clutter that accumulates in the mind. Through the focused repetition of a syllable or group of syllables, we replace our mental agitation with calm.

We begin this week with Om Namah Shivaya, a potent and precious Hindu mantra. We use this mantra to connect within and to honor ourselves. The mantra begins with Om, the primordial syllable. Om is followed by five syllables that mean “I bow to Shiva.” However, in this act of supplication to a higher being we are actually bowing to our selves.

There are three Gods who orchestrate creation, according to Hindu mythology. Brahma creates the universe. Vishnu preserves it. And Shiva ultimately destroys it. Once all realities are gone all that is left is the deepest core of our beings. By bowing to the great destroyer we bow to our inner divinity.

We therefor translate this mantra to mean not only I honor and venerate the great destroyer, but also I honor the divinity that is left when all else is gone, I honor what is within me.

1. Find a place of stillness and silence.

2. Breathe deeply.

3. Take a deep inhale, and as you exhale chant “Om Namah Shivaya,” prolonging the sound.

4. Take two breathes between each repetition, and chant again.

When you begin using this mantra, try five repetitions, and increase as you become more comfortable with it. The mantra can also be repeated in silence, in the privacy of your mind, when you are stuck in traffic, or in line behind a very slow checker at the grocery store, or in any frustrating situation that tests your patience and sanity. Know that as you repeat Om Nama Shivaya you are worshipping yourself with humility and with kindness.


Happy chanting!