This week we have a post from Logan, a YA who's recently moved back to her home state of Texas. Logan shares below how she's using the mantram to navigate difficult times.
Once again, I find myself in a time of tumultuous transition, unsettling uncertainty, and unexpected change. This chaotic mix is multi-faceted with contributing factors from a number of life’s elements. I just drove a U-Haul nearly two thousand miles across the country without a certain place to live, my grandfather is in the hospital, my finances are wonderfully low, and the dynamics of a close relationship changed without warning. It feels like such a mess!
But lo and behold! I have a toolbox full of things to help me navigate these stormy waters: Easwaran’s eight-point program of passage meditation. And the most powerful tool in the arsenal? The mantram!
As I became overwhelmed with all these things happening at once, I truly felt like I was desperately treading water in a stormy sea, watching as all my ships sank around me. My thoughts became difficult to control as my turbulent emotions hijacked my mind. The storm winds of fear and anger were tossing the waves all around me -- truly a tempest was raging within. Then I stuck out my hand in the dark and found the mantram and, boy, did I hold on for dear life!
Never in the seven years that I’ve been practicing passage meditation have I felt such intense surges of emotion. I didn’t know what to do with all the energy it was causing! I felt like screaming, so I screamed the mantram. If I wasn’t in a place conducive to screaming (such as my grandfather’s hospital room), I furiously wrote the mantram, the pen flying across the page. Every time a rage or fear-inducing thought arose, I clenched my teeth, and OM MANI PADME HUM!
The upsides? These past seven years of repeating the mantram ensured that it was there when I needed it, although there was a bit of groping around until I was able to grab hold of it. The intensity of my emotions means that the intensity of the mantram is also at an all-time high, and just like vigorous workouts yield potent results, so too, I am told, will vigorous mantraming.
Easwaran has taught me that this practice helps us turn fear into fearlessness, that it can transform anger into selfless work, that the power of our selfish desires can be fuel for driving us deeper in meditation. Well, thank goodness, because otherwise this mess would be only a mess, rather than an opportunity to drive my mantram deeper and to challenge the limits of my strength. And man, are they being challenged. Those muscles of the mind are going to be sore. But when the storm passes and the sea is still for a little while, I think I’ll be able to see just a little bit deeper into those waters.