Springingtiger's Blog


Stimming and Mantra

The other day as I was standing at the bus stop waiting for my bus I caught myself – as I often do – rhythmically shaking my left arm. There are many rhythmic behaviours in which I indulge happily and for every obvious one there is a less obtrusive and socially acceptable alternative. On my right wrist I wear a kara – a steel bangle – given to me in Amritsar, on my left I wear another steel bangle with steel beads for my prayers, this bangle makes a very satisfying rattle when I shake my wrist. It was this rattling that alerted me to my stimming at the bus stop.

There is something about using a mala for one’s prayers that particularly appeals to me. There is something very settling in the rhythmic repetition of a mantra, in some ways I suppose I use my mantra as a stim, but more than that. Whether I am counting my mantras on the bangle I heard rattling, on a mala, or on my fingers it is an absorbing activity. It demands some engagement of my mind in the repetition of the words, there is the repetitive physical activity of passing the beads through my fingers and there is an accompanying tactile sensation all of which helps draw my focus from external stimuli and brings it to one point. I suspect that using the Orthodox rosary would have similar results, but I find that the variety of prayers used with the Catholic rosary – for which I have an abiding affection – has the effect of repeatedly breaking concentration. For a while using my mala there is a break from the world wherein I can settle myself into a more stable state.

I find that the way I lose myself when saying my mantra is very different from the sense of losing myself that causes panic which is more of an uncontrolled fragmentation. When I say my mantra it is as if I lose myself in one place, but instead find myself grounded in every place as if in one, in everything. It is a safe sensation of knowing that nothing can harm or diminish me in any way, that I am always what I am, always have been and always will be. Unfortunately I also have a life to live in this world and that’s when things get livelier and more challenging, but it is good to be able to withdraw for a while.

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3 Comments so far
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Very interesting perspective on stimming and meditating. My mother was always saying the rosary and I suspect that part of it was a calming effect from repeating the prayers (she was an anxious person). I wrote a poem about it ‘our lady of the rosary’ comparing the rosary beads with worry beads (the Greek worry beads). Great post 🙂

Comment by Gabrielle Bryden

I like the idea of that steel bangle with the steel beads. I will look for something similar to wear as I could stim with the beads while stressed at work.

Comment by DJ KirkbyD.J.Kirkby

I got mine in Oberoi’s in Southall, look for Indian shops run by Sikhs.

Comment by springingtiger




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