Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Personal Mantra

Defined in many ways, traditionally the term "mantra" is a word, phrase, sound, or invocation that acts as an audible reminder of something sacred or important.

My personal definition is similar, but simpler and more "western". To me a a mantra is a phrase or word to act as a reminder of what's important to me in certain situations. I will share with you a few of mine hopefully it will inspire you to consider your own. I find I pick up little mantras from people I admire, things I read, and things my parents and grandparents used to say to me. Many times they are spiritual, sometimes they are a little fesicious, but always meaningful.

Almost daily I utter my understanding of the first line of the prayer of St. Francis, "God, allow me to be an instrument of thy peace and mercy." This reminds me of my dedication to be a person of service, to remember that anytime I can help someone for the sake of just doing God's will I will strive to do so with no personal motive. That's not completely true thought, I recieve great Joy when I do so!

Sometimes I quote, "Anything worth doing, is worth asking for". It used to reflect a more cavalier attitude which I still sometimes weakly display. However, the higher thinking here is a reminder that if I have a need, especially one of necessity for happiness or survival I need to not be afraid to ask for it. This could be asking a friend for help, my mother for a new blanket, or my Higher Power for favor. I always ask in the spirit of Karma in that I should expect to pay some small price, with grattitude for that which I recieve.

With respect to the first two. I try to remind myself to stay humble in service an recieving of the gifts of others. "To give freely that which has always been so freely been given to me." Knowing that especially in the latter years of my life many, many people have been there to assist me in navigating life. These are the people of my church, work, sober fellowship and elsewhere who have been to kind and loving even when setting aside the agenda of their own lives to help me. Karma law demands that to stay in balance and retain the joy they have given me... to always return the favor even to others in their spirit.

"The way you do anything... is the way you do everything." Which is a mantra I use at the end of every Yoga Class I teach. I take this from a martial arts and yoga teacher I admire named Cameron Shayne. To me it ties my practice of Asana, or physical yoga to life. If we practice yoga with great intent, energy, joy, and dedication we will recieve great physical and probably spirituall benefits. The same holds true if you put your whole self into your cooking, lawn mowing, family raising, driving, etc. It is a reminder to live MINDFULLY and remember to not get lazy. This ads to the act of living life, rather than just existing.

Finally, a slightly silly one, but I use it almost every day. The comedian Red Green signs off every show with "Keep your stick on the ice". This is a metaphore related to hockey, where the rules discourage lifting your hockey stick far off the ice because it may cause injury or disallow a goal, or put the rule breaker into the penalty box. Basically its a reminder to "stay out of trouble, or simply behave yourself. So to me it's a parting that is a polite send off with a spin of humor in order to make someone smile. After all creating joy is what all this is about.

Walk in the Light!