"Mantra can be likened to conscious vow. Unconscious 'mantras' already fill our heads. How many song lyrics or television commercial jingles intrude into our thought stream uninvited? We also play host to many slogans and descriptions, which give us unconscious negative messages about ourselves and the world. We come to believe our own inculcated, discouraging litanies about our lives. Mantra as an intentional transcendent practice counters this numbing and deadening conditioning. In addition to uplifting our outlook, mantra practice is said especially to help develop our powers of memory and mindfulness. The memorization of longer dharanis is a tool used by bodhisattvas to develop memory and mental capacity.
"We can use the many mantras from the Mahayana tradition, or 'find' mantras from our own experience. Instead of song lyrics that discourage us, we can take as mantras lines or phrases from lyrics, sayings, or poetry that support our personal intention to awaken ourselves and others."