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!

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The Science of Gratitude

Counting your blessings and creating a list of things to be thankful for has a real foundation in science and might even change the way our brains work, according to a brain-scanning study in NeuroImage.

It brings us a little closer to understanding why these exercises have these effects. The results suggest that even months after a simple, short gratitude writing task, people’s brains are still wired to feel extra thankful. The implication is that gratitude tasks work, at least in part, because they have a self-perpetuating nature: The more you practice gratitude, the more attuned you are to it and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits.

Feeling grateful is very good for you.

Time and again, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can bring a range of benefits, such as feelings of increased well-being and reduced depression, that often lingers well after the exercises are finished.

Changing our neural pathways of any old tapes we run of self loathing and lack of self worth and depression with replacement thoughts of being valuable, of deserving love and respect aren’t new ideas but they’re new to ME. Louise Hay is a well-known proponent of positive self talk and affirmations.

Recently, I started sporadically attending  free Friday mediation classes at the Deepak Chopra Center in La Costa because I thought I needed a little jump start to get to the next level of peace, harmony, joy, and NAMASTE.

After one of the sessions, I purchased Deepak’s little book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. I just found a pdf of it here, if you are interested in reading it, too. It’s an easy read with valuable insights and suggestions.

I like knowing that I’m headed on a path toward increased compassion and gratitude, hoping to make the world just a little bit kinder by being more kind and grateful.

The Project of Happiness outlines seven steps toward the goal of a  joyful and fulfilled life.

me-2016

I’m grateful to all of you who read and follow my blog.

What are YOU grateful for today?

*Thanks to http://bulgariastories.com/2015/11/2612/ for JFK image