Many years ago, I realized I had managed to find deep peace during my daily meditation sessions, but that peace was not extending into my day-to-day life.
Then, for my book, The Enlightenment Project, I interviewed over 60 spiritual teachers—ranging from Deepak Chopra to the Dalai Lama. Sometimes, one of these teachers would suggest a simple phrase I could focus on while doing the “stuff” of daily life. By thinking of these phrases periodically during my day, I found I could often “tune in” to deep peace while engaged in activity. These phrases became a way for me to feel the peace of meditation—even while driving, talking, or doing email.
The Phrase that Stays
When interviewing renowned spiritual teachers, I was surprised at how often my interviewees mentioned the value of gratitude in connecting with higher consciousness. I took this information and tucked it away in my mind until a friend of mine, named Fred, returned from India. The moment I saw Fred, I knew something in him had changed. He looked intensely happy and loving. I asked him, “What changed for you in India?” He mentioned that his guru had given him a magical mantra for feeling overwhelming gratitude. Of course, I asked him what this mantra was, but Fred told me I’d have to go to India to get it directly from his guru.
Well, I always like to know cutting-edge methods, so I flew all the way to India to ask this guru about his amazing mantra. After a couple of days of flying, taking rickshaws, and waiting to see the guru, I finally got a chance to talk to this man in a white flowing robe. When I asked him about his mantra for helping people feel gratitude, the holy man said, “Ah, yes, my mantra is the most powerful mantra on Earth!” He leaned in to whisper it to me. I was excited. He said, “Whenever possible, repeat the following words. The mantra I give you are the words…thank you.”
I figured the holy man was joking, but he seemed totally serious when I looked at him. I couldn’t believe I had traveled all that way for such a stupid, simple mantra. I looked at the guru and practically shouted, “Thank you?! That’s it?!”
The guru said, “No, ‘that’s it’ is the mantra you have been using, and that makes you feel like you never have enough. My mantra is ‘thank you,’ not that’s it. Thinking ‘that’s it’ will take you nowhere!”
Well, I was pissed off, so I gave the guru a sneer, and in my most sarcastic voice possible said, “Well, thank you for nothing!”
The guru smiled and said, “You must say it from your heart many times a day—so when you eat good food, say ‘thank you’ from your heart. When you see your child or a sunset or your pet, say ‘thank you’ from your heart, and soon you will be filled with overwhelming gratitude.”
I was still pissed off and highly disappointed, but since I had traveled all that way, I figured I’d give it a try. As I left the ashram, I got a taxi, and to my delight, it had air-conditioning that actually worked. I felt into my heart, then in gratitude for this comfort, said, “Thank you” to the universe. Then I got to my hotel room. In my bathroom was a bottle of purified drinking water. As I quickly drank it down, I felt my heart again and said, “Thank you.”
Next, I opened my computer to Skype with my wife. As my computer came to life, I said another “thank you” for this marvelous machine. Next, my wife appeared on the screen. At that point, it hit me how amazing this was. I was talking instantly to my wife from across the globe—for free! I felt incredible gratitude for Skype, my wife, and for technology. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Tears started to flow down my face. My wife looked at me and said, “That must be a really magical mantra.”
I replied, “You have no idea…”
As long as you say “thank you” from your heart many times a day for the little things in life, this technique actually works. You can feel grateful for things like access to clean water, the Internet, or a friend or pet that you love. Try it for yourself, and you’ll see its power. Of course, “thank you” is just one phrase you can say throughout your daily activities that can change how you relate to daily life.
Other phrases I learned from spiritual teachers I interviewed included:
1. There’s only this moment
2. It’s all unfolding perfectly
3. The stillness is dancing
4. Let everything be as it is
If none of these phrases “click” for you, feel free to make up your own. Once you have a phrase you connect with, simply say it to yourself throughout your day. Then, as best you can, allow your consciousness to embody the feeling or experience the phrase points to. After a while, you may notice that you are clearly living in a higher state of consciousness while engaged in your life.