Hello and welcome to Friday, April 1, 2022. Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again. Let’s make good use of it!
This week’s practical Mindfulness support is on developing healthy mental habits.
What we think about over and over becomes a mental habit. Advertisers understand this truth about humans, and they know how to effectively influence our choices. These marketing masters know that if they are successful in reaching their target audience enough times with the same message, their prospects may in fact buy their product, or whatever it is that they’re trying to sell.
Additionally, and most of us will likely agree, if we listen to a song enough times, it may in fact get stuck in our head. We may even find the song intruding into other meaningful activities. One more example: If we read a poem enough times, we’ll be able to remember it.
We can use this same repetitive mental conditioning to help us grow personally. If every morning we were to repeat a prayer, mantra, or affirmation, over time we would find ourselves living more in alignment with our aspirations. We become what we repeatedly say and do.
For years, I struggled with low self-worth, low self-esteem, and insecurity. This degrading self-obsession consumed me and, in many ways, kept me from being that person I always wanted to be. I fed my insecurity by saying things like, “I can’t do that” and “I’m such an idiot sometimes.” I believed these thoughts about myself, and, predictably, I behaved in alignment with those beliefs. When I shared my struggles with these destructive beliefs at a mindfulness retreat, it was suggested that I refrain from saying these self-deprecating phrases and replace them with something positive.
While I won’t try to convince you that repeating to myself, “I am enough, and I don’t need to prove it,” relieved me of my self-centered insecurity all by itself, it did play a big part. After repeating this short affirmation each day for quite some time and limiting my self-destructive self-talk, sure enough, I started to believe it. I am enough, exactly as I am.
It's not my intention or business to tell you what you need in your life to reduce suffering or to make it more meaningful. I do, however, fully believe that each of us can create a better version of ourselves. Furthermore, I am confident that repeating a mantra, prayer, or affirmation each day can assist in your transformation.
Besides my, “I am enough…” affirmation, here are a few sayings that I have found incredibly helpful:
From the Mindful Life Program:
“The Four Immeasurables”
“How wonderful it would be if all beings were to abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment, and anger. May they abide in this way. I shall do my best to cultivate equanimity in my life so I may help them to abide in this way. May each breath I take be mindful, creating the conditions to do so.
“How wonderful it would be if all beings had happiness and its causes. May they have these. I shall do my best to cultivate genuine happiness and its causes in my own life, so I may help them to have these. May each breath I take be mindful, creating the conditions to do so.
“How wonderful it would be if all beings were free from suffering and its causes. May they be free. I shall do my best to cultivate compassion and its causes in my life, so I may help them to to be free of suffering. May each breath I take be mindful, creating the conditions to do so.
“How wonderful it would be if all beings were living with empathetic joy, rejoicing in the virtues of others. May they find such joy. I shall do my best to cultivate empathetic joy in my life, so I may be able to help them abide in this way. May each breath I take be mindful, creating the conditions to do so.”
From Thich Nhat Hanh:
“Breathing in, I calm my body and mind.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is the only moment.”
From Saturday Night Live:
“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me.”
As my teacher, John Bruna, says, “Don’t forget to have some fun in there.”
Committing to a personal daily mantra, prayer, or affirmation can most definitely change the way we think. And if we can change the way we think, it helps to create the conditions to change our behavior and our lives – for the better.
If you would like more information or some personal instruction to get you started, I am here to help.
You are Loved by me, Unconditionally!
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