A mantra, such as "Om" or "Hraam," is a spiritual sound and subtle vibration that is thought to have sacred power and is used as a tool for meditation. The word mantra is a Sanskrit term that means "instrument of the mind." According to Vedic tradition, a mantra can lead the practitioner into an expanded awareness of the divine.
Ancient seers understood sounds from nature, such as wind, thunder and rain, to be creative manifestations of spirit. Om was recognized as the most elemental sound and has long been used as a sacred utterance.
Repetition of a mantra is said to help the practitioner detach from the thinking mind and slip into a field of pure awareness. Some mantras relate to the spiritual quest for truth, love and immortality. Mantras come in various forms, including verses and musical chants and are used in many schools of Hinduism and
Buddhism. Similar hymns and chants are also found in Taoism and Christianity.
A commonplace use of a mantra is to repeat a positive phrase to inspire confidence and affirmation. Any uplifting expression can be used as a mantra, and they are especially useful for people suffering from grief or depression. In the workplace, informal mantras are often used to activate teamwork and motivation.