A mantra is a short word or group of words repeated many times to help us prepare our mind as a means to relax, attract love, meditate, get ready for an activity; in fact, there is a mantra for almost every activity or desire. The word “mantra” comes from “man” (mind) and “tra” (protection).
Apart from its beneficial, good-vibration aspects, mantras help us to calm the mind. By focusing on the repetition of the sound, all other thoughts fade gradually until the mind is clear of unnecessary thoughts. Like eating fast food, we have a lot of junk thoughts and unnecessary mind noise.
I believe that mantras act the same way as music; for instance, it’s not necessary to know the lyrics to a song or an aria to feel the musical notes affecting your senses, either soothing you or not. It’s not necessary to know what the singer is saying for music to affect us. Thus, a mantra's rhythm takes effect on the unconscious plane. This is why it’s so powerful. It is subliminally helpful.
In essence, what is the power or the benefit of chanting mantras? The primary function of the mantra is to free the mind from the material, cultural or worldly conditioning we have, and to raise our consciousness to a higher, spiritual level. This is very important in the kitchen as well.
When preparing food, and prior to consuming it, a mantra can be a powerful tool to pour the right emotions and vibrations into the dish. Remember, whatever energy you put into your cooking -- anger, stress, depression, happiness, love -- so will you feed to others. Sometimes, after having a meal at a restaurant, our emotions may shift so sudden that we don’t even question what might have caused this shift. Our emotions may shift to anger and we may want to pick a fight with our date or simply may suddenly feel depressed. Have you ever thought about the possibility that the person who prepared your meal was angry or in a bad mood while preparing your salad or grilling your steak? When I can, I look inside a restaurant kitchen; happy people make feel-good food. Angry people will feed us anger.
As you prepare a meal for your loved ones, for a date, your partner, do so consciously. Before going into the kitchen after a long day at work, take a break! Cooking with all that frustration and heaviness will give you more of that with every bite. Simply pray before you cook, pray before you eat. And if you did not cook the meal yourself, chant a mantra and bless the food before you eat.
Here is something I say when I cook and, trust me, I like to be in a meditative state when I do it. I find that my best dishes come out when in complete connection with the process as I put all the good vibrations into my dishes.
“It’s not just ingredients I stir, but the good vibrations and appreciation on which I feed.”
Here is a beautiful mantra you can chant while you cook. It helps with protection, blessing of the food and peace:
Om Hrim Chandikayai Namah
Will you put the right vibrations in your food? Remember to eat for your body and cook for your soul.