I was listening to a couple of talks by Gil Fronsdal this week. He’s a teacher and practitioner of insight meditation, also called Vipassana. His talks are extremely insightful and I thought I’d share some of my own thoughts after listening to a few of his talks.
The two talks that I listened to basically amounted to mantras that we can include in our daily life to bring a greater sense of peace and equanimity into our lives.
After listening to Gil talk about this, I realized what a powerful mantra this is. In his talk he brought up the example of a child scraping his/her knee. A parent doesn’t respond by saying ‘oh my gosh, your knee! You’ll never be able to play soccer again,’ or ‘Oh no, this could get infected and you could get very sick!’ The parent will typically respond with ‘It’s ok,’ which gives the child a sense of peace as well as a sense of connection and loving kindness from their parent. It doesn’t mean that the scrape isn’t painful or that tending to the wound won’t have some pain or unpleasantness, but it does bring a sense of openness where the child can begin to accept and just be with uncomfortable events.
I kind of smiled to myself when Gil used this over exaggeration of how a parent doesn’t respond to situations like the one described above. I think what he was trying to point out is that we need to be more mindful of or own responses to certain uncomfortable events because we typically have the tendency to kind of freak out on ourselves. If we can begin to tell ourselves that ‘it’s ok,’ we might find that it’s easier to accept and look at daily events that we categorize and label as unpleasant in a different light.
Today, I was able to use this mantra at work. I found myself getting overwhelmed and stressed at all the work I had to do and people I had to respond to…which is not an entirely unusual response I have. Immediately, I noticed how my body felt and the stress reaction I was having. I simply said to myself, ‘it’s ok.’ Amazingly, that’s all it took to ground myself. I realized it truly was ok and that I all I had to do was take one step at a time to accomplish the tasks I needed to complete.
Nothing Needs to Happen
This is an excellent mantra that I have begun to practice as well. It covers our constant wanting, doing, desires and expectations.
On its face, it might seem like this could promote some sort of laziness. ‘Oh, I can just sit here on the couch and do nothing…nothing needs to happen.’ That’s certainly an un-mindful approach in my opinion and is more of an avoidance strategy. There’s more to the mantra than that.
Like the mantra discussed above, ‘nothing needs to happen’ helps us to view a situation from a completely different perspective. By stating this phrase, you allow yourself to open up and just be with whatever situation you are in without any wanting or clinging to opinions about how you want something to be.
In doing this, we might find that something actually does happen and it’s far from what we expected. This could be good or bad. As an example, I have found myself caught up in thoughts about my blog and how regularly I should post and if people are reading it and on and on and on. Doing this mantra has helped me to take a different perspective on these thoughts. Why am I so concerned about this? Is there some fear there and if so, what is that fear? I’m examining this further while also trying not to get so caught up in my thoughts about what my progress should look like or how quick or slow it should happen. This letting go has actually brought a greater sense of peace into my life.
Hopefully these two simple, but powerful mantras will help you in your daily life as they’ve helped me.