Tag Archives: mantra

no more stress

Overcome Stress Using Simple Sound Tools

Are you feeling stress? Well, it sure seems like the times we live in are getting more and more crazy. With so much bad news (or even fake news) coming toward us, we tend to stress and get caught up in worrying about what did happen or what might happen to us and our world. Watching too much television or reading too many political posts on Facebook can get us quite worked up and even cause us to lose sleep at night. So, we’re here to remind you of some very basic tools to help overcome stress, whether it involves personal issue stress or stress based somewhere ‘out there’ in the world beyond.

For almost four decades Dean Evenson and I have been involved in creating peaceful, healing music. In the process of following our spiritual and creative path, we have learned of many simple, easy to use techniques that can help reduce the stresses in our lives and many of them involve music, our life passion. We are especially interested in accessing the power within us that is available when we close out all that busyness, the apparent conflicts and dichotomies pulling us in one direction or another. We are looking to get to that place inside where there is absolute stillness and a sense of inner peace and quiet.

Simple Sound Tools to De-stress

Most of the tools you are probably familiar with. Some of our favorites include breath, meditation, music, mantra, chanting, toning and affirmations. We recognize that quieting the mind is easier said than done, especially today when we are instantly aware of events occurring all over the world, many of which have nothing to do with us. What goes on in your mind is really the key. It is what forms your perception of your world. So having some tools or systems to tune into can carry us through troubled times. These are tools that we use to bring us back into that inner stillness, the quiet place within. And just so you know, we are rooting for humanity to thrive in this next coming time but more on that later.

The Basic Sigh

Probably the tool easiest to access is the breath. Simply taking a deep breath in, holding it a moment, and then letting out a long, slow exhalation is a good place to start. This basic sigh can help you reset your mind and body to a more peaceful vibration. Often when we are stressed or afraid, we are practically holding our breath, or at the very least, taking very shallow breaths. With conscious breathing, we are really bringing in the life force. Call it air, oxygen or prana, but know that without it, life ceases to exist. So take those long deep breaths and enjoy the calmness it brings. Focus on the breath and let the random or worrisome thoughts drift away.

Modern life is structured to get us geared up and ready to be productive members of society, or so they say. Drink the coffee and get the treadmill of the fast-paced world. Unfortunately, after all that gearing up we often find it difficult to unwind and settle down or are unable to fall asleep at night. So we need to develop practices that help us to slow down and bring ourselves to that place of inner stillness.

Mantra Affirmation

Repeating a short affirmation or mantra can help clear the mind. Simply saying (or singing) to yourself ‘I am. I am. I am,’ or another such positive phrase, can help to ground and center yourself. Getting the whole body to relax helps as well. Doing yoga or some stretches relaxes the body and at the same time, releases tension in the mind. In fact, one of the most important functions of yoga is not just to make your body strong and flexible, but it is primarily to ‘still or calm the whirlpools of the mind’ according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Walking is another simple way to move the body and calm the mind and conscious walking in nature takes one even deeper.

Often when you’re getting ready for bed and trying to fall asleep, that’s when all the mental chatter comes in. We recommending playing quiet, peaceful music in the hour or so before bedtime so that you can start to calm down from all the gearing up you have done all day. With a regular meditation practice you can develop control over your mental thought processes leading to a more relaxed and peaceful state of being. You can read more about chanting, affirmations, toning and mantra in other blog posts or articles at soundings.com. These are simple tools that will benefit you in the long run and make you a more calm and peaceful person. I believe that whatever peace we have inside us will extend out and when we touch the people around us with our peaceful nature, and they touch the people around them with their peaceful nature, we will surely have a more peaceful world.

Keep in Touch

I hope you watch my video. You can hear the fun story about singing my prayer song for Dr. Larry Dossey. I’m sharing these simple possibilities so you’ll know there are some easy and meaningful things you can do to make your life better. Let me know what resonates with you. I love to hear how others navigate their own turbulent waters. And when you comment on our blog, we’ll send you a free mp3 of our music in gratitude.

Taking a break in Costa Rica at Deva Premal chant retreat

This will be a short post but Dean and I are very excited to be getting on a plane tonight for Costa Rica where we will take part in a week long Chant and Tantra retreat with our dear friends Deva Premal and Miten and their fabulous flute player Manose.  This is literally the first vacation we have taken that wasn’t part of a business trip.  The setting will be at the exquisite Blue Spirit Resort in Nosara, Costa Rica.  We are all packed and ready with our various techno tools, cameras, recording devices, iPad, etc.  Oh did I say vacation.  Well we are ardent videographers and photographers so that part of it is fun.  Along with yoga, meditation, swimming in the ocean, walking on the beach – this will be a welcome respite for us.  Stay tuned for more pictures and videos.  We hope to come back with renewed energy and with lots of media and musical inspirations to share with you.

Love love love Dudley and DeanDeva Premal Miten D&D

How to Meditate Using Mantra

Mantra is a tool that can help us focus and quiet our minds. In Sanskrit, the word mantra means mind protection since using a mantra or short spiritual phrase or affirmation can replace and overcome incessant tape loops and negative thoughts, thus clearing the mind and bringing it to a calm quiet space.

I like to use mantra to clear my mind and prepare for meditation.  Typically, we have a constant dialogue going on within our minds. This inner conversation can range anywhere from the news we heard on the radio, to making a ‘to do list’ or replaying an unpleasant interaction with a friend, co-worker or relative.

It is very difficult to get these thought patterns out of our minds and they especially tend crop up when we are trying to meditate.  This is why in meditation we use several concentration techniques to overcome the busy monkey mind and allow for the one-pointed concentration of the meditation process.  In addition to focusing on the breath as a concentration device, we can use mantra, chanting and affirmations to help clear the mind of unnecessary clutter and allow us to enter a deep state of inner quiet.

A mantra is a short sound or phrase, usually with a spiritual significance which carries a vibration and frequency that extends beyond the simple meaning of its words. In the highest sense, mantras carry thought waves that can energize the prana or life force through constant repetition and they can reach deep into the subconscious mind.  More simply, they can help overcome the mind chatter and prepare the way for an expansion of consciousness.

By becoming aware of the rampant mental processes that we wish to control, we can learn how to use our minds and our voice in harmony to stay focused.  We need a guardian at the gate of our awareness to keep the demons of our mental processes from distracting us and a mantra is one way to do this.

I would love to hear  how you use mantra or affirmations in your own meditation process so post a comment here.  I am also giving away a free mp3 download to people who post comments.

Oh and here are some of the recordings I have created that include my guided affirmations.  Enjoy!

MeditationMoment 1Meditation Moment: 52 Weekly Affirmations
A Sound Sleep 1A Sound Sleep: Guided Meditations with Relaxing Music & Nature Sounds
ChakraMeditations&Tones 1Chakra Meditations & Tones

Ten Toning Tips to Deepen Meditation

1 Sit or lie down, close your eyes and relax your body
2 Take a deep breath, hold a moment and release
3 As you exhale, allow a quiet humming to occur as you push the breath out
4 Do this several times feeling your hum resonating deep inside
5 Inhale again and slowly exhale pushing out an AH vowel tone with the breath
6 Repeat as many times as you want focusing on love and your Heart Chakra
7 Play with the sound, Change the vowel tone to OH feeling your Power Center
8 Concentrate on the point between your eyebrows
9 Focus on your higher power, your angels, God or Nature
10 Feel the vibration of oneness as you breathe in the life force

Toning is a simple system using the breath and voice that has the effect of energizing and calming the body at the same time as well as centering and focusing the mind.  It requires no musical training, instruments or technology so it is the perfect tool to support your healing and going deeper into meditation.   As we learn to relax and calm the whirlpools of the mind, we are better able to support our well being.  We can use this system anytime we feel stress or want to calm our restless thoughts.

The mind is a very active system and in the busyness of our modern lives, we often need help in letting go of worrisome or troubling thoughts that have a tendency to repeat themselves as incessant tape loops.  Even if the thoughts aren’t negative, by their very repetition, they can wear us down.  We call it ‘monkey mind’ as it reminds us of a bothersome creature constantly nagging us to think thoughts that are unnecessary or harmful to our psyche.  The word ‘mantra’ in Sanskrit means ‘mind protection’ so by toning a sacred mantra, we are protecting our minds from our own negative interference.

Our friend and chant diva, Deva Premal, explains the concept behind the OM mantra which she says is really three tones in one: A-U-M.  The first AH tone is opening up to love and a power greater than ourselves.  The second tone is UH and more like a funnel drawing that energy into us.  The third tone is MM which resonates the sound as a hum deep within us.  So by focusing on each sound separately A-U-M, we create a sacred cycle of breath and tone and with our intention, we enhance our wellbeing.  So whether you prefer vowel toning, humming, chakra toning or the simple Om/AUM mantra, you are likely to experience the healing benefits of toning.

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Power of Love to Overcome Conflict

As I prepared for the birth of my first child over forty years ago, one of the things I knew I needed to deal with was my long-standing conflict with my parents.  Ever since my husband, Dean Evenson, and I had been living together and growing our hair out and expressing our controversial ideas against war and for civil rights issues, we had an uncomfortable relationship with my parents.  Since I had begun to see the world differently from my parents and develop a more free spirited lifestyle in keeping with my true nature, we had not been able to see eye to eye and I had felt terribly judged by them.  It hurt me deeply. As I approached my own parenthood, I decided to thoughtfully look at what was going on.
Heart Rocks

One day, I had the startling realization that I had equally strong judgments about my parents as they did of me.  I judged their judgments, their prejudices, their conservatism, their materialism, and their affluent lifestyle.  It occurred to me, on the eve of my becoming a mother, that I couldn’t change them, but I could change myself.  I could let go of my judgments and love them unconditionally.  With some effort, but also with a great feeling of relief I did just that.  I let the love return that I had felt in my earlier years, and I just appreciated my parents as who they are, not who I thought they should be.  Interestingly, within a few weeks, we had the first real communication in years.  I hadn’t sent them a letter or called to announce my change of heart, but somehow, it had gotten through, and we renewed our family ties.

Years later I took a workshop that introduced the idea of ‘Changing Your Telepathic Agreement’ with someone you are in conflict with.  The way it works is this – you bring that person into your consciousness and in a meditative state you speak to their ‘higher self’.  At the beginning, you let them have it.  In other words, you say all the things that are bothering you about that person, words that you might not want to say in person but what you are truly feeling.  By the end of the first session you shift and begin to say things like ‘but I understand how you may have become this way’…or ‘I know you are trying to change.’  You do the meditation day after day with each day having less of the first part (‘you make me mad, you hurt me’) and more of the second part (‘we are getting closer to understanding, I forgive, etc.). You can also create a forgiveness mantra and sing it to yourself.  It could be something simple like ‘I forgive you and you forgive me.’  Give it a melody and sing it whenever the person comes to mind. If you do this practice with conviction and repetition, you will find that soon, your projection of the conflict is changing and no matter how much they may have harmed you, when you think of that person, your thoughts won’t carry as much charge, and eventually you will find a peaceful resolution of the conflict with them.  In any event, you will have more inner peace and isn’t that what forgiveness is all about?

How to use Positive Affirmations to Create the Life You Desire

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”  – Anonymous

Listening to the radio recently, I couldn’t help but notice how sad and bad the news was.  A real bloody day for people in Gaza, Iraq and even LA, not to mention continuous doom and gloom reports about the failing economy.  I felt a knot of anxiety growing in my stomach as I tried to digest the constant barrage of bad news hitting me.  I realize I’ve been paying too much attention to news lately and it’s having an effect on me.   Bad news affects all of us painting a pessimistic picture of the world, coloring the content of our thoughts.

How do we overcome the tendency toward worry and negative thinking?  How can we manifest our dreams and harness the power of positive affirmations to improve our lives?  Isn’t that what we all want?  A chance to make each day a bit better and hopefully leave a legacy of worth when we are gone.  Beyond these modest impulses, perhaps some may rise to even grander heights of sharing, caring and creative manifestation.

For three decades I have been using spoken word affirmations and guided meditations to bring groups together in a shared communion of visualization and prayer.  With my husband, Dean Evenson, playing flute, along with me on hand harp, we have been able to create deeply meditative experiences for large groups of people, opening for Deepak Chopra, don Miguel Ruiz, Larry Dossey and playing for Joan Borysenko and Iyanla Vanzant’s own meditations.

Recently I decided to put together a CD of guided affirmations.  Rather than start with the basics of taking a deep breath and walking in the forest, I jumped into a huge project of creating 52 weekly meditations on the universal principles that guide all life.  When I sat down to write the script, the words just flowed forth and the practical wisdom that we have gleaned over our many years on earth showed itself on my computer screen.

Needless to say, it came together well and I am pleased that the album, MEDITATION MOMENT, is being very well received.  To support the process of understanding what affirmations are and how to use them to create a fulfilling and successful life, I offer some common sense guidelines that will enhance their effectiveness. I present these simple premises to you in the hopes that you will actually use the suggestions and be blessed by the improvements that show up in your life.

Why do affirmations work?

What is it that makes them so compelling?

An affirmation is a positive statement asserting that the goal to be achieved is already happening.  It is a declaration to manifest a desired outcome.  This desired way of being may seem far from the truth at the moment, but amazingly enough, with repetition and focused intention, it can become reality.  Since the subconscious mind processes affirmations and suggestions as reality, it is important be aware of one’s thoughts and constantly edit out unwanted negative suggestions.

The fact is, we are constantly affirming in our mind what we believe.  When we look honestly at the content of our thoughts, we may be shocked to discover that we have been telling ourselves a ‘load of crock’ as they say.  We can usually tell the quality of our subconscious mind by looking at the quality of the life we are living.  If we are not pleased with our life, we must look at the content of our mind to discover how we have been programming our existence to meet our belief structure.

In the 1950s, Earl Nightingale, cofounder of Nightingale-Conant, recorded a classic motivational record called ‘The Strangest Secret.’  He recognized the ‘strangest secret’ to be that we become what we think about every day.  He emphasized the power of positive self-talk, expectation and belief.  These ideas were ground breaking at the time and today many people use guided affirmations in some way to try to achieve their goals. Affirmations hold great promise for helping improve our lives but like any other tool of transformation, skill and understanding are required that once mastered will enhance their performance.

When we take hold of our thoughts through the repetition of positive affirmations, we can move in the direction of manifesting our highest ideals and vision for our lives.  The word ‘mantra’ in Sanskrit means ‘mind protection’ for it is through the use of a repeated phrase, prayer or affirmation that we can get a grip on the rampant thoughts and tape loops that tend to control us.  By repeating a phrase over and over again, it becomes embedded in our subconscious mind and then the creative forces of the universe are able to rally support to make it happen.

The interesting thing about affirmations is they do require a belief and faith in them even though the actual statement may be different from our current circumstance.  We increase their effectiveness when we put our feelings into them and actually experience the emotions connected with the fulfillment of our desires of love, prosperity, success or whatever it is we are aiming toward.  This may be difficult as first but with perseverance and repetition, the words become a part of us and before long, we look around and realize that we are actually achieving what we may have thought impossible only weeks or months ago.

Affirmations only work when spoken in the present tense.  The subconscious mind takes things very literally so if you say ‘I will be rich’ you will never experience prosperity in the present moment as it will always be just around the corner, in the elusive future.

Another aspect that increases the effectiveness of affirmations is repetition.  In the negative aspect of this principle, we experience inner ‘tape loops’ or ‘monkey mind’ that constantly replay a phrase or thought that is not in our best interests.  This thought may be something a parent or ex partner told us about ourselves long ago (‘You are a mess’ or ‘You’ll never amount to anything.’) and we unconsciously have repeated this idea for years, thus creating for ourselves a messy, unfulfilling life.

When we take hold of our thoughts and use affirmations regularly with an understanding of how they work, positive change will occur.  When we can truly visualize and feel the reality of the spoken word affimations, we enter into a cooperative contract with the universe to make use of this powerful tool for manifesting of highest dreams.

Dudley Evenson and her husband Dean Evenson are award-winning, sound healing pioneers, musicians and media producers.  They are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their record label Soundings of the Planet and have produced over 60 albums of healing and world music.  Dudley’s recent CD is MEDITATION MOMENT: 52 Weekly Guided Affirmations.  These meditations are also on a popular course at DailyOM.com called A YEAR OF GUIDED MEDITATIONS. The Evensons teach meditation, sound healing and chakra workshops nationwide.  For more info visit www.soundings.com or call 800/93 PEACE.