What is it about some songs that makes them get ‘stuck in your head’?
(a funny saying, but pretty accurate)
I seem to have a particularly impressionable mind when it comes to this, as it seems any song being hummed by a passerby is grabbed by my mind and gets stuck there. Even if I don’t like a song, I have somehow managed to memorize it, and a loop of it will play over and over…
For example, though I am ashamed to admit it, I have had a Britney Spears song stuck in my head for the past 2 days. That alone is disturbing to me. I am generally speaking not a pop music fan and sappy wannabe sexy bubble gummy songs make me roll my eyes and wish for better role models on the air waves. (I like hip hop a lot more, but mainstream hip hop is not the place to look for positive role models either. The problem is the production is often so good that when I catch a song on the car radio, I listen to it.) Why is Britney in my head? O.K., I did check out her circus music video the other day (liked it because I am a sucker for anything circus-y) and then made the mistake of watching one or two more. Next thing you know I am going about my day singing things like “womanizer womanizer, oh your a womanizer” or “all the girls and all the boys are begging to f.u.c.k.amy…”
What does any of this lyric critique have to do with Mantras? Well, anything that is memorized and repeated in the mind can be considered to be a mantra. Choruses are notorious for their stick factor, and commercial jingles are also trying to jump on that same bandwagon of being catchy enough to catch in your mind.
What is a Mantra? The word itself originates in India and refers to a phrase (usually in Sanskrit) that a spiritual seeker will repeat over and over as a means to focus their minds and connect them to the energy or deity that the sound is representing. Some popular mantras: “Om Nama Shivaya” (to the God Shiva) or “Om Mani Padme Hum” (to the jewel in the lotus) and other sacred names and spiritual affirmations.
Mantras and their equivalent can be found in many cultures. The Sufi’s sing their prayers and do this trance inducing chant with movements called ‘Zickr’. Buddhists monks chanting, the Muslim call to prayer and chanting of the Koran, Christians singing hymns, Benedictine monks and Native American songs. Nearly every spiritual and cultural tradition on the planet utilizes repetition of word and or song to anchor key teachings into their minds.
Pop and Rap stars that sell millions of albums are getting their messages stuck in millions of heads. A lot of their music is great, but the messages… let’s just say they don’t qualify as key spiritual teachings. Hence, the reason that some sticky songs suck. Bad messages caught in the mind and looped can be annoying and also programming you with the wrong affirmations.
So next time you have a toxic pink bubble gummy pop mantra in your head, and don’t want it there, try some of the below tactics.
Tactics for Removing Sticky Songs from your Head:
• Don’t listen to cheesy songs with bad messages. There is enough quality music out there that we can be discerning and still have an overwhelmingly huge music selection.
• Have one default song with a great message that you love and every time you catch yourself looping trash, sing it to yourself.
• Intentionally interject a random out of place line into the loop and sometimes it will break the spell
• Learn some real mantras or create your own little affirmation chant and let the mind loop these instead.
Any other ideas?