The other day I got an email from someone. The subject line was "Amazing woman's day". When I read that my first thought was "why would he send that email to me? what do I know about being an amazing woman?" Holy Hell! Where did that come from?? Where do these negative beliefs we have about ourselves originate?
There is a tendency for us to look to blame someone else, our parents, our environment. People have spend millions of dollars and many years on a psychiatrist sofa trying to figure it why we think the things we do about ourselves. Does it really matter why or when it started? How do we know that these beliefs aren't karma carried with us from previous births? Again, Does it really matter?
Practicing yoga and meditation has made me more aware of the quality of my thoughts. I'm more conscious when the thoughts go against the principle of ahimsa (non-harming). It's rather shocking how harsh we are towards ourselves, or at least I am. I don't think I would have said to someone else "what do you know about being an amazing woman?" Yet the thought came so easily towards myself. What do we do once we become aware of the negative thought patterns?
Eknath Eawaran says in one of his meditation talks, if a Wild West program comes on the television you don't have to sit there and watch it. You need only turn the channel. I'm ready to turn the channel. How do I do that? Where's the remote? (The techniques are many but I will only speak to those that I have personally practiced.)
In my humble opinion, the mantra is the remote control for our mind. A program comes on, you click the remote, another program comes, you click the remote, on and on. In the same way, a thoughts comes, you repeat the mantra, a thought comes, you repeat the mantra, on and on. Eventually, the mind settles down a bit and you can rest in a state of calm. For a long time you may need to go back to the mantra many times during a 30 minute meditation. After some time of regular practice you may only need to go back to the mantra 30 times, then 20 times, then only 5 times. It's reassuring to me to know that I always have the remote control available to me. The beauty of this remote control, the mantra, is that you can't lose it. It's always with you.
I could spend hours debating with myself about whether or not I could be considered an amazing woman but that would only be "mental chewing gum" (as Ed would say). Therefore, just as I do in meditation, I will let the thoughts come, without judgement as I bring my awareness gently back to the mantra.
*Side note: Some of you may be wondering how to choose a mantra. If so, please feel free to contact me by email or in person and I will do my best to direct you.