In a recent post I mentioned some about stilling the outside of a person and also stilling the mind and how these relate to the progressive development of a person. In that post I also briefly mentioned a fancy little mantra I’d been made aware of by a friend who’d received it from one of his own friends.
Before I share that, I want to make very clear that this isn’t a “real” mantra. In any established tradition that employs mantras, it’s very rare to find the absence of specifics that dictate things like: what a mantra is made of, how it can be used, how often it should be used, the effect it is meant to have, risks associated with its misuse. And many other stipulations.
In my opinion, those varied rules are a really mixed bag of legitimacy and bullshit. In some cases they serve as safeguards and in other cases they don’t seem to be good for much more than unnecessary policing meant primarily to shuffle devotees into one line or another (a subtle form of crowd control, which religion is terribly good at but which spirituality rejects).
None of that really matters in the case of this particular “mantra,” though. One of the first benefits experienced by anyone employing a mantra is a developing single-pointed-ness of the mind. And it’s in this aspect that we’re able to relate this mantra to the aforementioned post. Are you ready for the mantra?
Here it is: Shhh.
That’s it. It was mentioned so basically by my friend that at first I only smiled a little and then allowed our conversation to move on quite easily. However, like many other humans, I am sometimes prone to recycling negative energy through the emotions attached to certain stories of what I have experienced. I’ll mentally review a circumstance I found myself in and how I was wronged by someone or how I wronged someone or what I should and would have said if my tongue were a little quicker on the go. (If you care to learn more about this kind of nonsense, read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.)
Shhh. (breathe in) Shhh. (breathe out) Shhh. (breathe in) Shhh. (breathe out) Shhh. (breathe in) Shhh. (breathe out) Shhh. (breathe in) Shhh. (breathe out) Shhh. (breathe in) Shhh.
I’m using my mind (mental recitation here, not with your actual mouth!) to literally tell my mind to shut it. It’s that simple. I like this because it’s such a direct form of communication, which is a style of communicating that I’m known for using. And in my experience, it hasn’t mattered whether you’re very upset in the moment or whether this is used as part of the daily sadhana. You needn’t slow your breath, either. The message of “Shhh” is fantastic because, at least for English speakers, the message is inherent. You likely won’t be thinking of what “Shhh” technically communicates because you’ll be busy feeling it and experiencing it. The breaths in and breaths out, the duration of the mantra, the space in between all of these – will all lengthen naturally as this “mantra’s” effect begins taking.
I wouldn’t bank on this to scrub your karmas or develop siddhis of any sort. But if you simply wish to go deeper than you might otherwise and carry with you a relatively clean mental or emotional slate as you dive, if you wish to settle down after a tumultuous moment, if you only seek to know a very simple stillness that you might otherwise not have known – then this might just be where you could start.
Try it sometime. I dare you.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha