Unalome

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I don’t have any tattoos; it’s not really my thing, but if I ever did get one, it might this design.

In the Buddhist culture, the unalome symbol represents the path to enlightenment. The spirals are meant to symbolize the twists and turns in life and the straight lines represent the moment one reaches enlightenment or peace and harmony. The dots at the end of the symbol represent death.

Unalomes have been depicted for thousands of years in Buddhist art (the stone spires outside of the temple Wat Bang Phra), but the place that they’re most commonly seen today is as skin art. I read some people think it’s disrespectful or an act of cultural appropriation to replicate this design, so that’s something to consider.

I’ve edited this post because I forgot something! Although I was/am a drone mom (more intense than a helicopter mom lol), when my son was in high school, he apparently was able to elude me for a couple hours and came home with a crude, homemade tattoo. Notwithstanding the fact that he was a 4.8 student, he didn’t think he might be a candidate for blood poisoning (silly boy) and I was SO angry with him. That was pretty much his only rebellious episode, so he didn’t get in too much trouble. His tattoo? “SK8”, because he was a skateboarder, and it was right where you could see it every day, exactly where a watch would be. For years, I teased him with “What time is it?” And he’d take a look at his wrist and respond, “Time to skate.”

When it was time to be a grown adult, get his PhD and have a real job, he got tired of wearing long sleeved shirts and had it lasered off. It took twenty years, but he finally admitted it was not his finest decision.

If you have a tattoo, what is it?

 

 

 

 

The Best Mantra for 2018: Om Mani Padme Hum

I’m pretty new to meditation (dabbled a bit in college but it didn’t stick) and I’m restarting with the basics.

In terms of actually practicing mindfulness and compassion (to self and others) – these are things I’ve sporadically attempted for a few years.

I think it all started during an annual exam when my lady doc suggested something in between my Pap Smear and and the breast exam: every morning, I need to look in the mirror and say “I love you” to myself.

I told her I couldn’t possibly; it was embarrassing, what was the point, and she said in addition to filling my body with healthy foods and wheat grass, turmeric, ginger, and Vitamin D (I was deficient at the time), that loving oneself is another and very important piece of the puzzle needed to attain an optimal level of wellbeing.

When the La Costa Chopra Center used to host one-hour meditations in the afternoon, I attended a few times with friends and it was a good re-introduction, but I’m more of a solitary soul and would rather do my internal discovery not in the company of strangers, no matter how kind…

It’s all about rewiring our brain-using neuroplasticity to change negative thoughts and belief patterns into positive actions and a joyful future.

Meeting the Dalai Lama was a significant experience that opened my eyes (and my heart) and encouraged me to follow an inward searching path.

Om Mani Padme Hum is an ancient mantra related to the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, and with the Dalai Lama, who is considered to be an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara. It is believed that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained in this mantra.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that by saying Om Mani Padme Hum out loud or silently to oneself invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.

From His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

It is very good to recite the mantra Om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast …. The first, OM … symbolizes the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha…. The path is indicated by the next four syllables. MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the … altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassionate and loving…. The two syllables, PADME, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom…. Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable HUM, which indicates indivisibility…. Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha….

All I know for sure is that when I say or think Om Mani Padme Hum, no matter how sad or anxious or stressed I feel, even when I wake up at 3AM in a panic, a certain calmness and quiet joy washes over me.

As we leave one year and transition to another, I wanted to share this with you and hope you also find solace and wisdom in this mantra.

Happy New Year!