2023 : Thoughts, Inspiration, and a Mantra

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As 2022 winds down, I started to think about what a strange year it was.

For me at least. it seemed like I was enveloped in a mantle of fog. On a fundamental level, I acknowledge the passage of time and seasons, but I’m not exactly sure how January 2022 metamorphosed into where we are now, at the end of another year. Sometimes time moved too swiftly, other times it seems as if the tick of the clock too slowly moved to the next minute.

I’m not smart enough to explain all of that, but I’ve learned to radically accept things as they are. At the end of the day, at the end of this odd year, the only constant is love; to love and be loved. Despite the inexorable and merciless movement of time, I’m bound by that belief.

Do you make resolutions? I don’t — too much pressure — instead I like the idea of manifesting a happy and healthy new year.

You have to breathe through the heart. And once you’re in that space – and it’s a very big space – once you’re in there, you’re in a completely different space. You’re in the space that can heal anything.” Dolores Cannon

Dalai Lama

From His Holiness the Dalai Lama (whom I had the incredible honor of meeting and speaking with a couple years ago…)

As you breathe in, cherish yourself. As you breathe out, cherish all beings.”

In my opinion, this is still the best and most relevant mantra, again from the Dalai Lama:
Om Mani Padme Hum

He says this mantra has the power to…“transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure body, speech and mind of a Buddha.”

Tibetan culture tells us that to deeply know this phrase — to bring it into the very depths of one’s being — is to attain enlightenment.

Here’s what each syllable means:

Om

The first, Om is composed of three letters. A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.

All Buddhas are cases of beings who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving the impure states and their being transformed into the pure.

Mani

Mani, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method—the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love.

Just as a jewel is capable of removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing the poverty, or difficulties, of cyclic existence and of solitary peace.

Similarly, just as a jewel fulfills the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened fulfills the wishes of sentient beings.

Padme

The two syllables, padme, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom, just as a lotus grows forth from mud but is not sullied by the faults of mud, so wisdom is capable of putting you in a situation of non-contradiction whereas there would be contradiction if you did not have wisdom.

There is wisdom realizing impermanence, wisdom realizing that persons are empty of being self-sufficient or substantially existent, wisdom that realizes the emptiness of duality—that is to say, of difference of entity between subject an object—and wisdom that realizes the emptiness of inherent existence.

Though there are many different types of wisdom, the main of all these is the wisdom realizing emptiness.

Hum

Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable hum, which indicates indivisibility. According to the sutra system, this indivisibility of method and wisdom refers to wisdom affected by method and method affected by wisdom.

In the mantra or tantric, vehicle, it refers to one consciousness in which there is the full form of both wisdom and method as one undifferentiable entity.

In terms of the seed syllables of the five Conqueror Buddhas, hum is the seed syllable of Akshobhya—the immovable, the unfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by anything.

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.

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama is considered the foremost Buddhist leader of our time. The exiled spiritual head of the Tibetan people, a Nobel Peace Laureate, Congressional Gold Medal recipient, and a remarkable teacher and scholar who has authored over one hundred books. https://www.shambhala.com/snowlion_articles/om-mani-padme-hum-dalai-lama/

Purify | Purity

It’s 6pm, perfect temp outside, all the windows and doors are open, and I’m listening to the joyful tunes of a mockingbird.

I think it must be looking for a mate on this beautiful autumn evening. https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/04/22/stars-meteors-and-mockingbirds-eine-kleine-nachtmusik/

The melody is extraordinarily pure; it brought to mind one of the Dalai Lama’s favorite mantras and mine, too: Om Mani Padme Hum.

I like the recitation of this mantra much better than the traditional way to commemorate Yom Kipper — Day of Atonement — to atone and repent for any personal sins and to resolve to be and do better in the new year by fasting along with other ascetic, restrictive behaviors.

In my opinion, working to be a better person should be a daily goal, not simply once a year to narcissistically flaunt one’s artificial moral righteousness to the world.

Did you know that you’re supposed to wear white on Yom Kippur? This is the clearest and most visible nod toward the idea of purity. By wearing white on Yom Kippur, you’re trying to appear truly angelic.

My mom thought that public displays of verbal flagellation for Yom Kippur were so hypocritical – one more reason why I was taught to question any type of authority.

Namaste…

Planting Seeds: Bija Mantras for Chakras

I hope everyone had all their Christmas wishes come true!

Instead of writing about resolutions for 2022, I think it’s more helpful to share info about things that are easier to attain so I’ll share what I learned about seed mantras– bija mantras–to create and enable healthy transformations all year long.

What is a Mantra? A sound, syllable, word, or group of words considered capable of “creating transformation.” The Sanskrit word mantra means “instrument of thought”.

What is Bija Mantra? Bija means seed. Bija mantras are one-syllable seed sounds that, when said aloud, activate the energy of the chakras in order to purify and balance mind/body.

What is a chakra? In Sanskrit, chakra translates into “wheel”. These “wheels” can be thought of as vortexes that both receive and radiate energy. There are seven major energy centers in the human body, from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Emotions, physical health, and mental clarity affect how well each chakra can filter energy. This in turn dictates how pure the energy is that’s emitted from different regions of the body.

Chant the bija mantras, either one at a time or in sequences. Repetition can help you access a meditative state. Try to focus on the different regions of the body associated with each syllable/chakra as you go through the bija mantras. 

  • LAM: Root Chakra – I am
  • VAM: Sacral Chakra – I feel
  • RAM: Solar Plexus Chakra – I do
  • YAM: Heart Chakra – I love
  • HAM: Throat Chakra – I speak
  • OM: Third Eye Chakra – I see
  • OM: Crown Chakra – I understand

Option: Choose one sound that really resonates with you and repeat that one several times. I like this brief seven minute chant, but there are literally hundreds of them on YouTube. Search for a voice that feels good.

Some info curated from http://ar-yoga.com/2011/10/bija-mantras-the-sounds-of-the-chakras-lam-vam-ram-yam-ham-om/

What’s YOUR mantra for 2020?

I don’t usually share things from others but this was too good to keep to myself!

Happy New Year, Happy 2020, and Happy New Decade!

Here’s mine: I am curious, passionate, and worthy. 

What’s your mantra?

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From Sacred Soul Healing’s Facebook page
@sacredsoulpage

Best Mantra for 2019: Om So Hum

so humHappy 2019!

I’ve been meditating on a fairly regular basis for a while.

While I love the effects of silently repeating Om Mani Padme Om, the Dalai Lama’s favorite mantra, I find that So Hum or Om So Hum is the mantra that works best for me in the morning, which is my favorite time to start the day with positive intentions.

Regular meditation helps to relieve stress and improve the quality of sleep. The goal of less stress is to achieve a happier and healthier life. It’s believed that meditation improves the immune system and thereby helps in controlling blood pressure and lowering blood cholesterol.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

So Hum

I am.

(Or, I am that.)

From Sanskrit, it means identifying oneself with the universe or ultimate reality.

As we meditate on this, we come to realize that we are all one–we have all come from one Infinite Source, and a part of that infinite source is present in all of us.

We are all connected.

Powerful. Peaceful. Grateful.

OM is the sound of universe.

Chanting Om So Hum daily for ten to fifteen minutes can relax the breathing and balance our inner energy flow.

  • Close your eyes and settle in by taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. Note how you feel in your mind and body.
  • Start to repeat the mantra So Hum or Om So Hum to yourself silently, slowly synching the rhythm of your breath to the mantra.
  • As you inhale, silently repeat the word “Om“
  • As you exhale, silently repeat the words “So Hum
  • Continue breathing slowly and aligning your mantra to your breath, being careful not to rush your breath if you notice your mantra speeding up.
  • Each time you notice your mind start to wander, gently draw your attention back to your silent mantra.

This is really cool…

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!