What is a mantra?
A mantra is a word or phrase that is simple enough to draw us away from negativity and lead us back to some beautiful truth. Therapists often ask their clients to pick a mantra, repeat it often for a week, and then report back how it changed their feelings about life. Clients who try this experiment report that it has a positive effect on their perspective and they are pleased to adopt a new coping skill.
I personally use mantras and write them on my calendar. They wait there for the moments when I feel anxious or sad. We all have moments when we need a reminder of some beautiful truth. One of my favorite mantras came to me from a client. It is the last line from a poem by Wendell Barry:
“The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
When I feel impeded by people or situations in my life, I repeat my mantra to remind myself that through struggle comes meaning and strength. A mantra may appear simple, but it is a succinct way to describe a core value that defines one’s philosophy of life. Mantras are very personal and what works for one person may not work for another.
Another great mantra for children (or adults) comes from the book The Little Engine that Could authored by Watty Piper:
“I think I can, I think I can.”
If you would like to read the full poem written by Wendell Barry, here is a link:
Wendell Berry — ‘It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have b...
I hope you will pick a mantra after reading this blog post and use it to remind yourself of some beautiful truth.