In a recent IG post I touched on the apparent conflict between Self-love and devotional humility. The post began like this:
"In a society--a world--which doesn't always respect or value women, let alone the divine feminine, a woman faces a two fold spiritual challenge... 1) building herself up, effectively increasing her self-esteem as well as 2) effacing the ego to leave room for the Great Spirit."
So how do we bridge the gap?
There's one pure way I know for sure of simultaneously building oneself up while tearing down shadowy ego projections-- chanting the names of god as given by a guru.
There has been no greater confirmation for me than receiving mantras. It instantly confirmed my worthiness to approach god/dess while at the same time affirming my own power of self-realization as one with god/dess.
As women, we continually fight to prove our worthiness-- to hold equatable positions in the workplace, to have both a family and a career, to have the right to choose NOT to have a family, to decide what we will do with our own bodies, to live our highest vision for ourselves even when society imposes its various limitations, and so on. The obstacles sometime seem all pervasive. We can end up feeling burnt out, and not very spiritual at all.
To receive a mantra, mystically, is a direct affirmation from creation itself-- that yes, you are right to want all of those things. You are worthy of love and bliss and enlightenment. Not only that, you are worthy of liberation.
Chanting your very own special mantra is a beautiful and personal practice which bears continual fruit. You can chant silently while watching a basketball game, or while being yelled at by a boss at work. You can chant during an elaborate meditation ritual at your home shrine or while loving your partner. Mantras are capable of giving a practitioner both strength and peace, as they literally call on the divine presence. And then, one can know truth directly.
But you may be thinking, to be so powerful... what exactly is a mantra?
In the beginning was the word...
It doesn't matter which culture you choose, across myriad ethnic and religious streams we hear the wise ones speaking of "the word" or "the sound." Hekau in ancient Kemet or Egypt, the Logos in Christianity, Sat Nam or Mantra in India-- "the word" is the name of god, in aspect or in entirety.
Mantra bija is a seed sound not only representing but containing deity. It's a mystery best learned through direct experience but I will say this, the sounds of mantras help us to shift frequency and shifting frequency helps us to shift our experience. As we transcend our karmas and emotional blockages through chanting mantras, we receive a new vision and replenished power to act in the world.
When the student is ready...
At this point you're likely questioning, "but how do I find a guru to give me a mantra?" It isn't as daunting a task as it may seem. A popular saying in spiritual circles is, "when the student is ready, the teacher appears." I know this to be true. In fact, the teacher doesn't have to appear in the flesh in front of you at all; that force can just as easily give revelation in the realm of dreams.
For me, frst came a Mahavidga goddess bearing mantra diksha with her powerful bija. Then, a chameleon gave me my second mantra diksha-- initiation into the mystery of the divine name. Within the very private space of dreamtime, the Great Spirit reached out to me in this guise... a chameleon trapped in a cage, pushing on the screen, wanting to be set free. This reflected my own desire for liberation. So, I walked over to the cage and released the latch allowing him to escape. Immediately the chameleon took flight, gliding across the room and onto the blank page of an open book. A word took form there, it was my mantra.
Words can't describe what this mantra has shown me, what beautiful sounds it has produced to seduce my ear and lure my attention closer and closer to the Great Spirit. And it was only one of several which I have been blessed to receive. Through these sacred sounds I have come to know personally that not only am I worthy of love and bliss, I AM love, I AM that bliss.
How to begin...
Mantra allows for union with the divine... so taking time to chant is a supreme act of simultaneous self-love and self-transcendence. In closing one's eyes during mantra japa one achieves the goal of transcending ego because one is absorbed in the absolute Self.
It's a sweet practice. To begin, simply knock on the door of intention asking the universe to provide you with a divine name. Then pay attention to your dreams. You have to be ready. You have to -really- want it like a child wanting and needing its mother. The divine mother always answers, always comforts. Repeating the sound MMM is a good place to start.
Love, bliss, and truth...