Our minds are so boring.
Seriously, think for a moment about your last thought before you read that sentence. If you’re like me, it was: “I’m hungry. I’m stressed. When is my library book due?”
It’s not our brain’s fault. The problem is we put ourselves in routines. Our thoughts naturally follow our routines.
Some routines are beneficial, especially if you want to keep all your original teeth until you’re 90. Other routines are toxic, like showing up daily to a job you don’t enjoy or staying in a relationship with someone who doesn’t love you.
“Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you what you are.” ~ Jose Ortega & Gasset
By some estimates, we recycle 95 percent of the same thoughts all the time. When those thoughts are negative, boring turns into some serious sabotage to your happiness.
And I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to settle for being happy five percent of the time.
What to do if you can’t change your routine (at least not yet)?
Change your thoughts, of course.
In ancient India—we’re talking 1500 to 500 B.C.E.—gurus did this by bestowing mantras upon their truth-seeking students in order to elevate their students’ thought patterns from ordinary to extraordinary.
The 21st century isn’t exactly ancient India.
You can spend a long time waiting for a mindful master to give you the phrase that will change your life.
In fact, you may never meet a guru.
Be your own guru.
You don’t need someone else’s permission to smooth out your mind’s destructive patterns. Instead, be your own guru. After all, you know you best.
My life has transformed by using the following two simple mantras (they’re in English—ancient India, watch out) and yours can, too.
Repeat these whenever your mind is making a big deal out of life and say them as many times as necessary until you believe yourself.
Don’t use them if they don’t resonate.
But if they do—good things are ahead.
1. “Where you are right now is exactly where you need to be.”
The next time you feel the need to compare your life to your friends’ on Facebook or your body or talents to another’s body or talents, say this mantra.
We spend too much time wishing we were something else and not enough appreciating the goodness that we already are.
Again, it’s not our fault! Our brains are bored and vicariously living someone else’s life is thrilling—if only for a moment.
But while our brains fixate on goals, life is all about the process. None of us make it a goal to die, though we know we all will. Why do we set goals to be further along than we are, fully knowing that every step leads us to where we want to be?
We may want to be somewhere else, but we need to be here, right now, in order to get there. Say this mantra the next time you want to skip ahead. By making the process your goal, suddenly all those comparisons are unnecessary.
2. “Everything is going to be okay.”
In early 2011, I met a vipassana-trained monk. I’d been meditating off and on for a year, but here was someone who spent seven years in intense silent meditation practice in the East.
So I decided to ask him, “What’s the ultimate goal of meditation?” thinking I already knew the answer.
Enlightenment, of course, thought my matter-of-fact, I-learned-this-in-yoga-teacher-training mind.
He was sitting cross-legged in his chair right across from mine when he leaned forward.
“Now, I feel like I should whisper this… I’m not going to, but that’s how this should be treated,” he began.
And then he said: “Everything is going to be okay.”
I knew in that moment, my eyes welling with tears, that it was.
In my most incredible disarray, this is the mantra of all mantras. In fact, so much so that it has become synonymous with my life’s purpose. As someone who has battled deep depression and continues to win, this is what I tell others to help them pull through.
You’re right where you need to be.
Everything’s going to be okay.
Your mind has room for extraordinary.
Caren Baginski is a certified yoga teacher and writer on a mission to show you that everything is going to be okay. She’s partial to little dogs and people with big hearts and she writes about both on her blog, Happy Momentum. Follow her on Twitter here.
Editor: Jamie Morgan
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