Affirmations and mantras are statements you say to yourself in a repetitive and rote way. Affirmations have been used in psychology for years as part of the healing process for clients, with varying degrees of success. Mantras have been used for thousands of years by monks to train their mind. Both affirmations and mantras are methods of focused attention and concentration. Their success is based on the number of repetitions and the level of commitment to the process. Which do you think have been more successful, the psychology clients or the monks?

The spirits taught me about the power of affirmations and mantras as I was doing soul retrievals for people. Whenever I finished a journey, the spirits would assign a mantra for my client to repeat. I was to give my client the mantra, with instructions to repeat it a specific number of times first thing in the morning for 60-90 days. Then one day the spirits instructed me to tell a particular client to say a mantra for ten days, 560 times per day. I was shocked. The number of repetitions was staggering to me. The spirits informed me that this process was a necessary component to enhance the healing my client had just received. From then on, the spirits continued to assign mantras to my clients, but with large numbers of repetitions.

The spirits never let me off the hook, so they gave me a mantra to practice also. I diligently sat every day repeating my phrase; it took me about an hour each day. To my amazement it had a tremendous impact on me. The practice became rote and, in fact, a part of my being. Because of the repetitions, the mantra became embedded in my psyche like a catchy tune. Then a magical truth was created and revealed; the mantra stayed in my mind and eventually created a new core to my belief system. Days turned into months and years, and I now have a hard time even remembering the faulty belief system that caused me so much pain in the past. Remember that you respond from a belief system with every choice, thought, or action you have; this is an automatic response. When you want to experience permanent change, you need to address your belief system.

The spirits informed me that the purpose of a mantra is to change the patterning of the mind. The mind is rarely still. It has a background chatter, often referred to as "self-talk," that is activated (probably even as you are reading this). In many cases, self- talk is destructive. It becomes your own personal berating system. Your early belief system may have been put into place years before and it takes much effort to reprogram it. Saying an affirmation a few times a day, even if it is for three months, probably will not have much effect. But anything that you say 500-600 times a day will. You will find yourself saying it while you wash your hair, do the dishes, and drive the car. It becomes the new self-talk-the new background noise.

Spiritual initiates have known the power of mantras for eons; religious doctrines are based on this concept. Prayer beads and rosaries are simple counting systems for repetitive statements. Initiates sit for hours, days, and years chanting mantras and programming their minds with spiritual doctrines. This ancient method works.

I prefer using a clock. I notice how long it takes to say the mantra the initial time and then multiply that out to determine the total time needed. In that way, I do not need to keep an exact count and I know that when I have completed the time, I will have said the mantra the required repetitions. I also do not have to think about manipulating my prayer beads, but can focus on my mantra. Whichever method you decide on, prayer beads or timing, this process takes a tremendous commitment. However, the pay off is that progress is fast. If you dedicate just ten days to 600 daily repetitions, you will experience an amazing difference in your self-talk. The more you practice, the faster the transformation will take place. It can be done formally, sitting in front of an altar, or informally, while you are doing other activities. I made a pact with myself that I would not listen to the radio anymore in the car, and that no matter where I was going I would say my mantra the entire way. It was amazing how wonderful I felt, when I arrived at my destination, and the magic that followed. I had built up positive energy along the way, and the energy hovered around me for hours afterward. I might find incredible deals if I were shopping or find a parking place in crowded parking lots or have great interactions with people. It was like I was charmed.

You may put your mantra or affirmation to music and sing your tune throughout the day. Pick a jingle that sticks with you and plug in the words. Music has a profound effect on the psyche and is a wonderful way to memorize. Just think of it-can you imagine trying to learn the alphabet without singing the alphabet song?

Creating mantras or affirmations for yourself is easy, but there are a few rules that should be followed. Keep the mantras positive and somewhat short. Negative words such as not, don't, won't, for example, are not recognized by the subconscious mind and should be avoided. "I love myself," has greater impact than, "I don't hate myself anymore."

I will list several mantras the spirits have given my clients along with ones I have accumulated over my years of study. Trudy Bragg, my hypnosis teacher, contributed many.

One of my favorites is an ancient Tibetan mantra:

May I be filled with loving kindness, May I be well, May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be happy.

I especially like to say this one as I am gardening; it has such a grounding effect on me.

Another favorite of mine is a song I learned in the Unity church:

I am walking in the light, in the light, in the light. I am walking in the light, in the light of God.

The spirits never let me off the hook, so they gave me a mantra to practice also. I diligently sat every day repeating my phrase; it took me about an hour each day. To my amazement it had a tremendous impact on me. The practice became rote and, in fact, a part of my being. Because of the repetitions, the mantra became embedded in my psyche like a catchy tune.

Author's Bio: 

Jan Engels-Smith promotes self-healing, empowerment, better communities, and a healthy world. She conducts workshops in shamanism & journeying, and has done over two thousand soul retrievals. Her book, Becoming Yourself is at http://www.lightsong.net. Jan is a Licensed Counselor, a Chemical Dependency Specialist, Marriage Therapist, and is the founder of LightSong School of Shamanic Studies. She is a water pourer for sweat lodge, a minister, and a Reiki Master.