Mantra, Mantra, Mantra

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I read somewhere that it is good to have a personal mantra. A saying that you can chant or repeat when the going gets tough.

My first thought is of that old SNL skit where Stuart Smalley says, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone-it, people like me."

I can laugh about that, but I recognize that a mantra is a good idea. As a Christian, I feel that my mantra should be a particularly inspiring Bible verse, or religious quote. Something by a saint. Something deep, profound, awe-inspiring.

Something, something, something. . . then I get sidetracked and "find mantra" goes back to the bottom of my To Do List.

So, imagine my surprise, when I was walking along the other day, trying to blow off some steam, and a mantra popped into my head. I was angry and frustrated - not at all in mantra-discovery mode. I can't remember what was so upsetting (funny how that works), but my brain was consumed with thoughts of "unfair!" "not right!" "argh!" - stomp, stomp, stomp! After a while, a wee, small part of my brain said, "Courtney, you need to think happy thoughts. Where is that mantra?"

A song I learned at church camp, at least 20 years ago, popped into my head:

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.


I (silently) sang it over and over again, and it worked. I felt the ugly thoughts leaving and a right spirit renewing within me.

That song is a Bible verse, Psalm 51:10.

I can read the verse, find it comforting, and then promptly forget it. But a song; a song sticks with me. So, thank you, camp counselors, for teaching me that song. Thank you, church, for singing it now and then. And thank you, God, for helping me find it way back there in the back of my brain. It is nice to know that I had "something" just right, all along.

So, what do you think?
To mantra, or not to mantra?
(I like to say that word.)

Got a good one to share? Please do.

P.S. That blue thing up there is my yoga mat. Maybe I should unroll it and discover some more mantras.

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