2023 : Thoughts, Inspiration, and a Mantra

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

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/

GO VEGAN in 2022 #Veganuary

(That’s me, one of my favorite pics!)

Of all the positive and healthy choices one could implement for 2022, how about becoming #vegan?

A great way to start the process is to visit https://veganuary.com/

There’s a blog along with recipes and a Getting Started eating guide with shopping and nutrition tips.

Do it for yourself, to prevent animal suffering, and the environment.

No human needs to eat the flesh or secretions of a dead creature.

If you choose to join the movement, please let me know so I can give you encouragement, support, and a virtual high five!

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/