Finding Meaning in life at a Time of Crisis
Mental Health Crisis and the Dissonance
A crisis can appear in many forms- social, health, economic. Due to its adverse impact on communities at large, crises generally demand immediate resolution to tangible and noticeable damage. Hence finding meaning in life in a time of crisis like now, becomes key.
Yet for all the attention given to immediate issues at hand, the intangible impact crises can have on individuals and communities, alike is often overlooked. Dissonance, after all, manifests both in the physical and mental realms, and while communities often rally to resolve material dissonance, mindfulness is often sacrificed in the process.
Why Is This Happening?
In many ways, a crisis opens the door to spiritual pursuits, because we want to understand our purpose or our broader connection to different stimuli. As with most spiritual pursuits, however, the questions posed are more relevant than the answers- if there are even any. Unfortunately, modern endeavours have programmed us to prioritize arrival at a destination, or at an answer, over the requisite journey and process of learning. Focusing exclusively on the pursuit of answers can lead the mind astray down a dangerous path of antagony, negativity, and blame.
The Prison of our Own Thoughts
In an unprecedented age of social distancing, we find ourselves in an unfamiliar situation where communal support is quite literally out of reach. Faced with isolation, the crisis has stripped the mind’s ability to preoccupy itself with routine. Consequently, the mind must adapt for its own survival. Put differently however, we have a unique opportunity in this crisis to take control of our mindfulness in the face of internal dissonance. An idle mind, after all, is the devil’s playground, and while we can still fill our days with professional pursuits and physical exercise, social distancing creates a mental well-being void.
Meditative Power of Mantras
There are many ways to address mindfulness on a spiritual level. In Eastern Spirituality, Mantra recitation is a common meditative practise that is intended to calm and refocus a dissonant mind. The core belief of Mantras focuses on the use of special audible sounds and words to create and influence positive vibrations in the resonant energy around and between all life forms. Per Vedic and Puranic texts, in an era of an unprecedented health crisis, the Mritsanjeevani Mantra is considered to be the most beneficial for physical, mental, and emotional health.
The Mritsanjeevani Mantra for physical, mental and emotional health
om hauṁ jūṁ saḥ om bhu bhuvaḥ svāhā om tatsa
Vitūrvareṇyaṁ tryaṁbakaṁ yajāmahe bhargo devasya
dhīmahi sugandhim puṣṭivardhanam dhiyo yonaḥ
pracodayāt urvārukamiva bandhanānmṛtyo-mokshya
māmṛitāt om saḥ jūṁ hauṁ om
The Mritsanjeevani invokes Shiva (tryaṁbakaṁ – the one with three eyes). Descriptors such as sugandhim (fragrant), puṣṭivardhanam (nourisher/grower) refer to Shiva’s aura as an all-knowing divine energy. The mantra uses symbolic imagery of a farmer picking ripened fruit (urvārukamiva) as an archetype of liberation from its material vines (bandhanan). Using such imagery, the mantra goes on to request Shiva to liberate (mokshya) the practitioner from death (mrityor) for immortality (māmṛitāt) in a similar fashion.
The Mritsanjeevani combines two particularly powerful and widely-cited mantras: the Gayatri Mantra and the Mrityunjay. At its simplest level, the Gayatri Mantra is generally believed to be the ultimate amalgamation of all mantras–in short, a particularly potent recitation intended to invoke supreme consciousness. The Mrityunjaya Mantra invokes the destructive yet healing power of Shiva to alleviate negative Karma of past, present, and future. In short, this mantra is widely considered to remove all negative forms of Karma on all plains of material and existential being.
If you would like to try to experience the benefits of the Mritsanjeevani Mantra, you may recite the text above. If the pronunciations are a little difficult, we’ve compiled a short recording that will guide you through this mantra eleven times.
Mindfulness activities; the answer to finding meaning in life
There are many ways to awaken the mind and refocus it towards constructive pursuits. Mediation, Poetry, Mantras…etc are all different and complementary methods of engaging spirituality and mindfulness. Ultimately, none of these thematic subjects should be arduous or stressful. You can only derive true spiritual relief from something you believe in and enjoy incorporating in your daily ritual. Mantras are just one of many easy meditative tools you can use to refocus and calm your mind. The lovely thing about spirituality is you have the freedom to incorporate as many or as few of these mindfulness tools to create your own path.
Continue onwards and inwards!
For a further read on Mantras, stay tuned for our thematic topics on the use of mantras and meditation in Eastern Spirituality!