Traditionally, a mantra is a sound used in Buddhism or Hinduism to ground the self in stillness during meditation. The sounds used are sacred, and the one you may have heard of, “om,” is the most sacred of all. You can learn more about the meaning behind “om” in this HuffPo article.
A mantra can also refer to a Sanskrit prayer or hymn. Mantras have become popularized in modern Western culture. Many people choose a word or phrase in English that may not be rooted in a spiritual or religious tradition, but that is meaningful to them.
I have my own mantra, of sorts. When I get stressed, my thoughts tend to go to self-doubt. I then say to myself, “I’m doing the best that I can.” Why? Because, well, it’s true almost all the time. I have many flaws, but doing things half-assed is not one of them, and remembering that helps.
Some other mantras that resonate with me include…
“The past is in the past. There is only the present moment, and it is beautiful.” – Claude Thomas, who credits monks and nuns with whom he studied.
“I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” – Chan Phap Dang
“I take refuge in the Buddha,
the one who shows me the way in this life.
I take refuge in the Dharma,
the way of understanding and love.
I take refuge in the Sangha,
the community that lives in harmony and awareness.” – Thich Nhat Hahn
Do you have a mantra? Comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome your wisdom.