My mind often feels like a high-speed train on an endless roller coaster track. I’ve been called a busy bee, a sky-high grasshopper, a fire monkey and an energizer bunny on crack. Yup my mind is always a racing a million miles an hour. It wakes me up, causes me stress, anxiety, sleepless nights and sheer exhaustion. You’d think it would be easy to simply get off the train but the lack of stations makes it really difficult.
That’s when I decided to create some. I call them mind stations, rest stops, places to get off and sit on the bench, hangout a while and wait for the next train. Other more Holy cow people call them mantras.
Mantras have been around forever and exist in all walks of spirituality, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and ahem…Pattyisms. They are quite simply a formula to help calm your train of thought…which works so perfectly with my current derailed choo-choo of chaos.
Traditionally, a mantra is a sacred utterance – typically melodic and often associated with a monkish chant; but it can be as simple as a syllable, a single sound, word or group of words that when spoken help to break your monkey mind and bring you back to the moment, back to your body and back to a place of peace.
Now I wasn’t an original believer, in fact I found the whole concept of monk-like meditation, stillness and repetitive moaning hugely annoying. Just the notion of being still caused me to twitch and tourette; beside the fact I can’t sit cross-legged if you paid me. But it was on one of my incredible trips to India where I was visiting a temple and started up a chat with a monk that changed everything for me. He told me that being mindful wasn’t necessarily all about intense concentration and stillness; it could also be simply about being aware and focusing on your breath or any little sound or phrase that got your monkey mind to take a peanut break. (He actually really said peanut break). He said you can practice being mindful anywhere and anytime, moving or resting and using whatever little prayer, poem, phrase or hum worked for you. He then invited me to take a little walk with him over to the prayer wheels and give them a spin. He started to chant this little ditty “Om Mani Padme Hum” and explained that this prayer was the embodiment of compassion and each wheel was filled with millions of tiny pieces of paper with this mantra written on them and when someone spins the wheel, the effect is the same as reciting the manta as many times as it is duplicated within the wheel. He had me at peanut. From that moment on you’ll often catch me singing this beautiful mantra.
On other days you may hear me babbling a variety of other mantras – I have a whole collection depending on my mood, the situation or what works in that moment. Sometimes it’s silent and still, other times spoken with great passion – what’s important is it get’s me off the train and I can then be free to choose my next destination.
So give it a try – find a little phrase, beep or breath that resonates with you and give your mind a peanut. Just for kicks and giggles…here are some of my favourites mantras:
I am a jolly little twig on a river.
Love the shit outta everything.
Chaos is a necessary state of evolution.
I am love. I am loved.
Always believe something wonderful is about to happen.
I trust the flow of my life. It’s all happening as it should.
It’s probably a box of kittens.
Not my circus. Not my monkeys.
Believing is half the battle.