Do the Mantram-Ray!


mantram handbook

The Mantram Handbook, by Eknath Easwaran

Day 3. I am so excited, y’all, about my mantram! Skelly sent me a book by Eknath Easwaran called The Mantram Handbook and it’s been helping me so much with my meditation. I’m supposed be meditating for five minutes morning and night, and I have monkey mind something wicked. Easwaran says the mind is like an elephant with a restless trunk. If you don’t give it anything to hold onto, it’ll go bananas and grab everything it can as it walks through the marketplace. If you give the elephant a stick of bamboo to hold onto, it is satisfied. The mantram (or mantra, same difference) is the thing for the mind to hold and turn over and over again in its fingers until it’s all soft and smooth and weathered. When it has something to do, the mind is at peace. You can’t expect it to do nothing and be satisfied.

So I picked one. He has a whole bunch of them in the beginning of the book for you to pick. I picked Om Sri Ram jai Ram jai jai Ram. It practically translates to, “May joy prevail,” and I’m down with that. Chanting it in my head during meditation, whether I’m sitting or lying in corpse pose, has made it so much easier for me to relax and stay present. I’m trying it during my poses (asanas), too. It’s easier for me than just focusing on the breath.

Today the dharma talk from Lama Marut I listened to had to do with the karmic causes of suffering and happiness. I don’t really believe in karma, but some of them made me laugh. Apparently, living in a polluted area? Sexual misconduct. And a poor complexion is due to anger. Ol’ Seer has some atoning to do, apparently, because where I live is jacked and my skin is super broken right now.

And I realized the other day why I have a problem with Forrest yoga, the yoga style that’s all the rage out here. Even though I take it from a couple of teachers fairly regularly. They say that it’s emotional, but all I ever hear from them is a focus on the body (especially your core–abs–and your neck). On the self. I was taught that yoga is about focusing on other people, on an escape from selfishness. I come to yoga so I can get a better spiritual connection so I can be a better person, which means I’ll be of better service to people. That’s what the spiritual principle of unconditional love, one of the highest spiritual principles, is: selfless service. Forrest yoga seems to be about the self, and self-actualization. That’s one thing. I am seeking another. I won’t complain. I have no reason to. I am simply on a different path. I believe one is healed by healing others. It isn’t all about me anymore. That was my problem, the root of all my problems. Self-centered fear. I can still attend their classes. I just think it’s more a fitness regimen than an asana practice. But that’s just my opinion. And opinions are like assholes: everyone’s got one, and some people’s stink.

Do the manta ray!


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