Do you have a mantra?
The word “mantra” comes from Buddhism and Hinduism. It means a word or phrase that you repeat during meditation to aid your concentration or focus. Like “Ohm.” (That’s that symbol you see on a lot of yoga tank tops.) Sometimes we use “mantra” to refer to our words to live by or essential wisdom.
I tried having a mantra once, back when Fartbuster was hanging out at the Buddhist Center in town. I was learning how to meditate so instead of starting out like a normal person with five or ten minutes for a few days a week, I signed myself up for a four-hour session on a Saturday morning. Yeahhhhhh…For my mantra, I chose “Breathe in, breathe out.” The first three minutes were bliss, but in the fourth minute into the four hours I got that Bush song “Machinehead” stuck in my head because the chorus goes “Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Got a machine head, it’s better than the rest. GOT A MACHINEHEAD!” And so on.
That was my last meditation retreat.
In Tibetan Buddhism, an important part of spiritual practice is reciting the Six Word Mantra: “Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum.” At one of the sessions I attended at BlogHer, the leader was a yogi who encouraged each of us to write and share our own six-word mantra. These six words our focus and concentration on our writing.
I distilled mine from a famous quote from Dag Hammarskjold, a Swedish diplomat who served as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations.
“For all that has been–Thanks. For all that will be–Yes.”
These are the two lessons I have learned in my life: gratitude for the story I have lived and enthusiasm for the stories that lie ahead of me.
So my six-word mantra was: WHAT WAS? THANKS. WHAT COMES? YES!
What’s your six-word mantra?