It's Okay......

[suggested meditation for this topic]

The Power of Mantra -- A meditation technique used to enter meditation in many traditions is “mantra”.   Mantra, like any meditation technique is a tool which can be used to enter the space, or state, of meditation.  One definition of mantra is “that which protects the mind”.   I find this definition very useful, because it “opens up” ways to see how mantra can support our lives.   We can use mantra as part of a practice, perhaps for spiritual expansion or transcendence.  Mantra also  “protects” the mind from doubt and negativity.  Mantra protects the mind from itself when we are emotionally fragile, or nervous or disoriented.  Reciting a mantra can immediately change your state of mind in stressful situations. 

There is one especially powerful mantra which I have used over and again in my life.  I bet you have used this mantra too.  It is a mantra that I notice being used again and again by people everywhere.  You many not think of it as a mantra, but like any mantra, it is impregnated with power and resonates with an energy of truth.  In fact, I would say that nearly every mom or dad has used this mantra with their children to transform the energy and atmosphere of a stressful situation. 

I remember one time when this mantra helped me.  I was working alone, installing 12 to 16-foot-long knotty pine boards on the ceiling of a beautiful timber framed building.  The ceiling was vaulted all the way to the roof which is about 22 feet from the floor.  Scaffolding was set up and most of the ceiling was accessible from the scaffold.  There was one area which wasn’t accessible from the scaffold and moving the scaffold was not an option.  The area was the lower part of the vaulted ceiling, so I decided to set up a plank about 15 feet high and continue to work. There I was, walking back and forth on a 12-inch-wide plank installing the pine boards onto the ceiling.  I would lift the board into place, slide the board so that the groove on its edge would nest tightly onto the tongue of the previous board and then fasten it in place.  Things were going well and I was in a rhythm; sliding one board into another, over and over.  Then, as I was sliding a board in place, the board split and broke.  Suddenly, I lost my balance and, as if in slow motion, I was watching the broken board leave my hands and crash onto the wood burning stove and concrete floor below. My feet slipped from under me and I could hear the noise of the board crashing below, the "ting" of  my hammer bouncing on the concrete. Then silence, then the sound of my heart beating, then the sound of my breath.  The experience of slow motion continued; confusion, wondering, pain in my body,  and then the mantra “it’s okay” began in my head.  I had landed with one knee on the plank, one foot dangling from the plank and one hand holding on to, and hugging the plank.  I was still on the plank and the plank was still 15 feet above the floor.  "It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay” sounding over and over in my head and then I began saying it out loud, as if to tell my body “it’s okay, you’re okay".  My mind calmed down, my body calmed down.  I got up onto my feet, and got down from the plank and onto the floor.  My mind kept going back to what “could have happened” and to what “almost happened” and the part of the mind which was not disturbed kept the mantra “it’s okay” going and going, protecting the mind from the mind and allowing me to smile and take a breath.  The breath brought me to the ever present interval of peace between the inhale and exhale, the peace arose from within.  I tended to my shin which was mildly injured and bleeding and then took a break from work to cultivate the energy of peace and rest the body.

On that day, and at other times, the most powerful mantra is “it’s okay”.  As I write today I’m reminded of times when my daughter would slip and fall and I would sit with her softly telling her “it’s okay”.  Or when my young son was upset and crying about missing a shot that "could have won the game", sitting and repeatedly telling him “it’s okay” until he could talk about it.  I have watched countless moms, dads, paramedics, athletes, doctors, teachers and friends doing the same mantra practice:  “it’s okay”.  I have even noticed people who's first language is something other than English use this mantra in similar situations.  

How is this possible? It is said that the “mind rides on the subtle energy of breath”.  We know from meditation that the subtle energy of breath (prana) moves through the body.   So, when you recite the mantra you are charging your breath with the energy of the mantra and that energy is moving through your body working directly on your mind and your subtle body.  The science of energy tells us that we are all connected and when you move into the place of “it’s okay” you are also create that state for all those around you. 

No matter what is happening, there is always a place within you where “it’s okay”.  Enter that place with mantra when you are upset, angry or hurt or when you see another person in that place.    

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