Day 6 of my new daily routine

Thank you for joining me on my 21 day journey to acquiring a new daily routine.  The aim of this challenge is to get into habits for healthy living, which is very timely right now as I am trying to rebuild my health and fitness after falling ill back in March.  It’s taken longer for me to recover because I had two relapses, just as I had thought each time that I was on the mend.  

I can hardly believe it, but today I managed to wake up for 5am.  Well when I saw the clock say 4am I figured well it’s not long to wait now until 5am so I just got up!  And I’ve been sitting here in the lounge waiting for the live stream meditation to begin.  I have got my glass of water here with my apple cider vinegar.  So I’ve managed to go six days now my apple cider vinegar, which I think is a brilliant achievement given how much I used to dislike to taste and smell so badly.  But what I’ve found now is that I hardly even notice and smell and taste any more.  I guess that must that my tastebuds have now become accustomed to them now.

Today’s meditation video is from Pandey Integrated Healthcare on mantras. How to incorporate mantras into mindfulness meditation.The youtube link is <here>.

Dr Pandey begins by saying how easy it is when we multitask to make mistakes.  And it is important to stop and give whatever it is we are doing at that time, our fullest attention.  With mindfulness meditation the anchor is often the breathing (1.15 mins into video).  But even that can be difficult for a beginner. But not the mantra.  The mantra is an adjunct to meditation but can become a meditation itself.  We probably use mantas a lot in daily life, not realising they are mantras.  A mantra should be something personal, something important to you.  Mantras are traditionally one syllable, but you could choose to have a couple of syllables or even a phrase.  

Mantras are extremely useful for training the mind. And it is this statement from Dr Pandey that reminds me of a phrase of Marisa Peer, namely “I am enough”.  It seems this phrase would make a perfect mantra, for training the brain to a acknowledge self worth.  And another thing that I say to myself when I first wake up in the morning is a phrase I took again from Marisa Peer, which is “I love my life”.  Even though I may not be feeling so enthusiastic when I actually wake up, I have started to trick myself, or train my brain into thinking that is true, by making a habit of saying that phrase aloud on a regular basis.  And of course I have also written that on my mirror too so that I see it when I get up first thing in the morning. 

Music Mantra

Dr Pandey suggests that if you have difficulty deciding on what to use as your mantra, you could use the phrase “thank you”.  At 5.46 mins into the video, Dr Pandey share with us a music mantra he first heard in Nepal in 2008. And he invites us to sing it, with all our heart. This mantra given as an example has no religious connotations.  But when I heard the suggestion that we sing our chosen mantra, it occurred to me, is this perhaps what we are doing when we sing hymns at church?  Are we in fact, singing aloud our mantras?  This is an interesting thought.  The mantra chant finishes at 8.39 mins into the video.  At 9.46mins into the video Dr Pandey talks us through how to incorporate mantras into our own meditation practice. He begins by asking us to breathe naturally, and on our in breathe and/or out breathe to alternate the words peace, joy.

Book recommendation

At 13.05 mins into the video, Dr Pandey shares a book recommendation on mantras,  called The Mantram Handbook by Eknath Easwaran.  And that same author also wrote a book on passage meditation, that was his technique of teaching meditation.  

And Dr Pandey suggests a good mantra could come from the text of the Prayer of St Francis, irrespective of what religious tradition you have. 

Eknath Easwaran

After finishing this meditation from Dr Pandey I searched on the internet and found a video of the author he refers to above, namely Eknath Easwaran.  The youtube link is <here>.  At 5.40 mins into his video Easwaran refers to St Francis when he talks of giving, which is one of the 10 skills espoused by Buddha.  And he continues on that we can all practise that, the attitude of giving. At 7.17 mins into the video Easwaran says that the attitude of giving will remove most of our problems and will give you greater energy.  Resulting in a deepening of your meditation, as you’ll have less conflicts outside and you’ll be deeper inside.  To change from clutching to contributing.  This video is fascinating.

Prayer of St Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred, let me sow love

Where there is injury, pardon

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope

Where there is darkness, light

And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may

Not so much seek to be consoled as to console

To be understood, as to understand

To be loved, as to love

For it is in giving that we receive

And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned

And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life

Amen

In reference to what Dr Pandey said above about singing your mantra out loud, I have found a lovely video clip containing the lyrics to the Prayer of St Francis, so that you can sing along to this.  The YouTube video link is <here>.  You will see that another name for this Prayer of St Francis, is the hymn called Make me a channel of your peace.

Exercise 

For my exercise, I took a 30 minute walk. And I found some lovely little wild flowers in the fields.

Learning

For my learning, I researched about mala beads / necklace to assist with meditation especially when reciting mantras.

And this is what I found.  

“Traditionally a mala—which means “garland”—has 108 beads strung together and one “guru bead,” which is larger than the rest. The guru bead is used as a place marker for the fingers to feel for the end or the beginning of the necklace for meditation or mantra chanting. Sometimes there are special or different shaped beads placed after every 27th bead to make it easier to keep track of the mantra….

….Benefits of Using Mala Beads

A common way to use the mala is to track a “japa,” or mantra meditation. The repetitive recitation of a single sound, such as “om,” a few words, such as “om mani padme hum,” or a longer mantra, such as the Gayatri Mantra, can be calming and transformative. Whether you’re chanting out loud, whispering, or repeating a phrase silently, tracing the beads of the mala with your fingers can help you keep track of the japa. “Japa” translates to “muttering” in Sanskrit.

Similar to praying with rosary beads, meditating with a japa mala has been shown to help slow respiration and encourage well-being. Repeating the mantra of your choosing redirects the mind from daily obsessions and introduces positive thought patterns. 

Meditation positively affects the brain and mood and practitioners report feeling relaxed, having better focused attention, and enhanced self-awareness. Consider the pose Malasana, commonly cued as “Yogi Squat.” The yogi squats and brings the hands to the heart, representing a single bead on the mala necklace, the yogi is small, individual, and unique. Just like each of the beads that are intimately connected to all the others through the string of the mala, the yogi is intimately connected to all other beings. This is the reminder of this pose: though individually we are special, together we are stronger.

Malas can be a significant part of your meditation practice. Here are some unique ways to use a mala”

source:-  https://chopra.com/articles/the-benefits-and-uses-of-mala-beads

accessed 5.5.20

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AD. This video was sponsored by Alice’s online Avon store. If you live in the UK products are dispatched from the warehouse direct to your door. Shop online at https://www.avon.uk.com/store/Aliceletts

Published by Alice Letts

Online training for parents and children. Online piano and music tutoring. Online tutoring for English as a Second Language (ESOL) with an emphasis on pronunciation. Online meditation coaching for parents and how to incorporate meditation into daily family life.

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