Do you have a mantra? You know, that one saying that you repeat to yourself with conviction and commitment. Yogis say it on their mats. Motivational speakers encourage it and athletes chant it in the locker room. Buddha gets the credit for its origins, but mantras have come leaps and bounds since monks started meditating on their bamboo mats. Now it seems as though everyone has a mantra.
Except me. I don't have a mantra. At least I didn't until today. It dawned on me today that all of these mantra-chanting yogis, football players and successful entrepreneurs might be on to something. Maybe my health, wealth and happiness has been in short supply because I haven't been claiming it in a mantra.
So I decided to come up with one. I jumped past the traditional Hindu "om." First of all, I'm not Hindu and secondly saying "om" made my lips tickle from the vibration of the sound.
Next I tried out a "grounding" mantra. "I am here." "Be here now." "Breathe." I opened my eyes and just felt silly. I knew I was there all along.
I decided to jump to the wealth slogans. "Success is mine." "Money is plentiful." I opened my eyes and my bank account was still at the same 86.94 cents and I felt spiritually impoverished. Time to move on.
In the spirit of sports I said some "Fight, fight, fight" chants but the enthusiasm fell flat when I realized I wasn't wearing a helmet.
Finally I tried on a self-affirming mantra. "I am strong." "I am healthy." "I am beautiful."
When I opened my eyes I was more discouraged then ever. I wasn't feeling strong. In fact, I've spent the last three days feeling utterly weak from an acupuncture-induced healing crisis. The last thing I've felt is healthy and the mirror is making me feel the exact opposite of beautiful. Telling myself I am the things I so clearly am not in this moment didn't do anything to change my circumstances or give me a happy outlook on life. The mantras only made me feel more pathetic. The self-affirming mantras ended up stripping me of hope and crushing my spirit.
But then I thought of a different kind of mantra. Not the traditional "you are woman, hear you roar" kind of mantra. This time I fixed my meditation on a mantra more akin to "God is God, hear Him roar."
"God is good." It was a simple choice. Nothing fancy but trustworthy and true. God is good. Over and over again seated in my cross-legged position on the living room floor I repeated my "mantra." My God-tra. Not a man-tra. Not an affirmation of my own self or my power.
Telling myself that I am strong and courageous might sound good in theory but some days my body won't be on board. I won't always feel or be healthy. I might not fit the world's classification of rich, beautiful or successful. But God will always be good. That one mantra, that one affirmation, can always be repeated with confidence because it will always be true. Nothing can shake the goodness of God. No sickness, sorrow or failure can rob me of that one simple truth: God is everlastingly good.
So if you didn't have a mantra before today you can try mine on for size. I'm confident it will fit you just right. And when you're done meditating on those three simple words I trust you will be filled with joy and peace. I know I was. Because when I opened my eyes my mantra was true. God was good. God is good. And He always will be.