I don’t use mantras, though I do say a handful of daily prayers (after waking up, before and after meals, before going to sleep) that have deep meaning and provide structure and mindfulness to my day. Using the same prayer every day for the same thing could be seen as limited or boring, but we don’t complain that the same sun rises each day, we don’t complain that the air we breathe every few seconds is the same ratio of elements each time. Repeated prayers, mantras, daily rituals – they give us focus and infuse our lives with meaning.
If I used a mantra, it would be something like this:
“Light. Slow. Free. Simple.”
The beauty of this mantra is that each word has at least two or three alternate meanings that are all different and all powerful. It is a mantra that gushes peace and fresh air, relaxation and simple priorities. Here are some of my connections to these words, come up with your own or invent your own phrase that will help you step back from being busy and escape being overwhelmed.
– the absence of darkness, the obvious Christian metaphor of God as light, and light as holiness, purity, goodness, rightness.
– not heavy, not weighed down by excess food and gluttony, not weighed down by too many goals or priorities.
– walk the earth lightly, not abusing natural resources in greed or waste, living in harmony with the planet, conserving and protecting.
– purposeful, not rushing or busy or anxious or stressed, knowing ones priorities and keeping them simple and uncluttered.
– limiting activities and goals and purposefully leaving free time to simply be, to break the habit of incessant hamster-wheel activity.
– realizing that the most valuable things are free to be had in any moment: contentment, intimacy, joy, peace,
– free from excessive responsibilities and work, impulsiveness, regret, too many possessions, pretenses, doubt, compulsion.
– not addicted to luxury, able to enjoy simple pleasures, avoiding stress-inducing complexity in plans and goals and desires.
– focusing on one thing at a time, avoiding an overfilled schedule, completely finishing something before starting another thing.
Is your life powerfully light, slow, free, and simple? Is it time to stop getting ready to live, planning to live, and to just LIVE? Are you spending more mental energy on the past and future than in the present? What mantra would help you break the destructive habits and routines we have been taught to chain ourselves with since childhood?
Drop the chains and burdens society tells you that you need to have, but that you really don’t need – be light.
Purposefully choose to do less, work less, earn less – live slowly.
Admit that you’ve been more machine than human, that you can be more than productive – go free.
Reject the social norm of excess and complexity and comparison and pride and jealously and stress – stay simple.
What’s your mantra?