happy i am.

Happy I am. Healthy I am. Holy I am.

The word “mantra” may sound foreign to you. The human brain is designed to categorize by experience and knowledge, filing each thing it sees, hears, and knows almost instantaneously. For me, the first time I considered “mantra” I automatically filed it into- “Eastern Thought-Religion Other Than My Own-Foreign Word-Some Sort of Prayer-Possibly Mystical-Meditation-Fluff to be Discounted-Feel Good- Boring-Not Worth My Time or Energy-Not Needed-Just A Bunch of Blather.” You can probably tell I’m a fairly cynical and arrogant person, so easily contributing the onus of negative experience and “I’m better than that” attitude to a simple word, a simple thing. I attached feeling and emotion to a practice based totally on what I picked up from society as opposed to my own actual experience.

But I’m still growing! Give me a break!

In my attempt to POSSIBLY set aside my “I already know” attitude and allow myself to be open to new ideas, I decided to try a mantra. And, dammit, it worked. It works. Mantras work in you like a drop of water in a slip of a crack seeping in and spreading, reaching down deep into the center and creeping out through bones, sinew, vessels, and straight out your limbs, mouth, your very breath. But what IS a mantra?!

The definition of mantra is a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation. Or it can apply specifically to a word or statement, catch phrase, or slogan repeated frequently.

That’s it. A repeated phrase. Simple.

So why all the filing? Why all the misconception? Why tack on all the other stuff? Why is a mantra so heavy?

Because they are heavy.

Again, back to our brains. Repeating something can flip the switch in our heads -the switch that says “unfamiliar to familiar,” the switch that says “not true to true.” When we repeat something, we sway to the belief of it. It starts in the mind. The mind is the first battleground. Arrogantly, I thought I was above such physiological trappings. I thought I could out-think my own brain wiring. But as it turns out, the WAY we talk to ourselves, the things we say to ourselves, counts. It counts. It just does. So when I landed on this simple mantra it spoke- Happy I am. Healthy I am. Holy I am. The first time I read it I cried. I remember wanting to believe it, wishing it was true. But I didn’t believe it. It might be true for other people but never for me. I was too broken, too weird, too damaged. Little did I understand that I was using a mantra- just a terrible one. One filled with debilitating anger and meanness. One that told me I wasn’t worth the good things because I was, you know, yucky. That’s the beauty of the mantra. If you use it, it becomes true. It becomes truth. So I tried a different one. One that spoke good into my heart- like into my actual heart. My chest expands when I say this. (Aside: The body/mind connection is so interesting and I don’t understand it at all but even though it makes no sense to me it’s still a thing.) No longer would I be the fat, stupid failure. Now I am happy. I am healthy. I am, dare I say it, holy.

I love when things come in threes. It’s so complete, whole. But to understand each part of the trinity, the parts need to be unpacked (buzz word!) individually.

Happy I am.

How do you know you’re happy? How do you know when you’re happy down deep no matter what emotion you are currently feeling? I believe you can be happy as a whole even when experiencing other emotions. Just because you are mad, sad, glad in a moment doesn’t mean you are an unhappy person.

I have always been a generally upbeat person despite my inclination for cynicism, realism, and a slight leaning toward the subversive and macabre. But I did not put the label of “Happy Person” on myself until I chose it. I picked it. I decided I was. That’s how it happened. I decided I would not automatically see the negative in situations, in people, in myself. I would stay open and let more of what WAS in and less of my preemptive. I would listen instead of tell. I would say kind things to others and myself. I would repeat them. Am I always in a happy mood? Do I let the cynicism into my heart? No longer. My heart is a safe place full of gratitude, joy, hard work, and peace (kind of.)

I use my mantra to keep my mind aligned, because it does take work. It does take the choosing. It’s an active part of living every day. Some days the choosing is easier than others and the longer I live the more “easy” days I find. The more time I spend on my mat and filling my time, space, and mind with the things that serve me well, the more in tune I am. The more I keep it at the forefront the more it works in me. I imagine I’ll have to do it forever, there’s no break, but that’s ok. It’s not a burden. I’m happy.

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