I’ve been working with affirmations, on some level since the mid 80′s. I have a very vivid memory of a trip I made to Kripalu back in the day, when it was still a bonafide ashram. (spiritual community) Only 2 hours from Boston, where I lived at the time, what a great escape from the stress and busyness of city life.
From the start, I fell in love with Kripalu. The actual building sits high on the top of a very steep hill and is nestled deep within the loving embrace of the very peaceful and pristine Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.
In those days, Kripalu was a spiritual community of yoga practitioners (many of whom were ex-hippies,) who lived together in very modest, austere accommodations as renunciates, who bowed at the feet of the guru in residence, the very beloved and charismatic Yogi Amrit Desai.
Anyone was welcome to visit and live amongst the yogis for a small fee, which got you 3 vegetarian meals per day and a dorm room, usually shared with 3 – 4 others. Yoga classes, lectures, nature walks and other activities were also provided and the focus was self-improvement by living a yogic lifestyle. Breakfast was always a silent meal, which encouraged the introspective, meditative mood of Kripalu in the 80′s and early 90′s.
I remember a particular visit I made to Kripalu, at a time when I was experiencing much turbulence in my life. I made a goal that I would create a positive affirmation and repeat it silently to myself, as much as possible through out the weekend.
Over the years, as I evolved as a person, there have been many different self created affirmations that I have used on and off for periods of time. But I did not get really serious about using mantra repetition as a tool for transformation until some time around 10 years ago. I read a book entitled The Mantram Handbook by Eknath Easwaren. What a little gem of a book.
This book literally changed my life and got me on my current path of transformation and goal setting with the aid of a mantra. I highly recommend you read this book, as it gives you a vivid picture of the cultural roots and how to use the mantra for personal growth.
Once you have created the mantra, there are many different ways, you can use it as a meditative tool to help you change your mindset. Here are some suggestions:
- Sitting in a chair or on the floor, repeat the mantra 108 times silently. The use of a mala (string of beads) is optional. Ideally, do this once per day for 30 days . . . . but this can simply be done as a daily practice. You can combine this with abdominal breathing and breath awareness for a deeper experience.
- Repeat the mantra silently (in your mind) all day long whenever you think of it. The more you can return to the mantra, during the day, the better result you will have. This is my favorite method, because by far it has brought me the greatest results. As a matter of fact, after fine tuning and tweaking this method, over the course of 10 years, I consider it foolproof! I am a distance runner and I use the mantra during my runs for a meditative experience second to none!
- Write the mantra in a notebook or journal 108 times. (This is really hard but worth it!)
Those are 3 common ways you can begin to use your intention or affirmation as a mantra for personal growth and transformation. Feel free to find other creative ways to use the mantra such as writing it on a file card and taping it to your wall. I used to keep one taped to my computer, so I could see it as I was working during the day. You can also fold it up and put it in your pocket. You can record it and listen to it and you can say it out loud. Be creative! Find a method that resonates with you and most importantly, that starts to give you positive results.
If you have not yet created your affirmation, go ahead and read these 2 blog posts:
And if you’re serious about making changes . . . . .
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