How many self-help gurus have been peddling mantra-tech to the masses?
How many religious professionals have weakened their congregants inner-resolve by giving them mantras that make them codependent on some uncontrollable, unseen force?
How many idioms and axioms have been shoved into the mantra-generator that they could be used to make us feel better about our situation or ourselves?
In all cases, too many to count, I’m sure.
So, let’s look at the word, “mantra”, a bit closer, because in its translation lies the key to transform clever affirmations into something truly powerful. The best, most accurate translation often given for mantra is “sacred utterance”. Not holy utterance, not blessed utterance, but sacred utterance.
I can imagine some of y’all out there thinking, “Why is this a big deal, William? You and your damnable etymology lessons. What’s this got to do with mantra?” Well, it’s the bit about “sacred” that makes all the difference.
See, sacrality is temporary, and for something to be, or remain sacred, it must be continually sacralized, or at the very least, made sacred once again, over and over. Holy; however, is a constant, and reflects the nature of something. Sacred is a momentary flash, a zone in which we pass through to get to something beyond ourselves, or perhaps deeper within ourselves.
When we use the sacred utterance, for that moment we are sacralizing something: a moment, ourselves, a situation, or a state of mind. Mantras work like they do because they help us remember, in that moment, how inherently powerful we are. We have the strength to block out the unnecessary, and focus on what, in that moment, we need to be made sacred.
To the stoic, what needs to be sacralized is our mind’s clarity. So, through mantra, we remind ourselves how powerful our minds are, and that we have the ability to reside in that clarity.
It’s not about feeling better about ourselves. After all, that’s just some ego-bullshit.
It’s about getting back to the knowledge that there’s nothing wrong with us in the first place, and that our minds have the power to bolster our resolve when faced with lies, deceptions, distractions, or just the weight of life.
(See y’all tomorrow)