It’s good practice at the end of each day to remind yourself what you are grateful for. At times when everything seems horrible, or it seems as though everyone and everything gets on your nerves, this can be as simple as “the sound of the rain” or “solitude” or “the soft feeling of my bedsheets.” In times of pain, we can still be grateful for these things; actually, these things feel even more intense during times of pain because they are in extreme contrast with the bad feelings. Apparently with life and with feelings, it’s all relative.
Apparently with life and with feelings, it’s all relative.
Be grateful for where you live, for your family and your friends, for the fact that you are alive today. In many parts of the world, people do not have access to secured housing, clean water, healthcare and education. Be grateful that this too shall pass. Be grateful for God and for the universe.
Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations With God, says “The way to move out of Judgment is to move into Gratitude”.
One of the most difficult things is to be grateful for yourself. My counsellor asked me to describe what I appreciate most about myself, and I found myself a little tongue-tied. I didn’t want to sound conceited, which is crazy because obviously there are things you appreciate about yourself!
Today at the Sai Centre, we sang the Gayatri Mantra, which is an ancient Sanskrit hymn that dates back thousands of years. It originates from the Rig Veda, a sacred text in Hinduism, and is dedicated to the Savitr, the Sun god. According to Hindu mythology, this prayer was said to be given to the sage Vishwamitra as a gift for his years of dedication and penance. The lyrics are as follows:
Om Bhur Bhuva Svaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yonah Prachodayaat
There are many translations of the mantra, some that are line by line and word by word, and others that are more interpretative. Some of the ones that resonate with me are:
“We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds.” — Swami Vivekananda
“We meditate on the effulgent glory of the Divine Light; may it inspire our understanding.” — S. Radhakrishna
“Oh Creator of the Universe! We meditate upon thy supreme splendor. May thy radiant power illuminate our intellects, destroy our sins, and guide us in the right direction!” — Unknown
My Mom and I chant the gayatri mantra nine times in a row at 12 noon every weekday. It’s an opportunity for us to stop what we are doing, join forces, and align ourselves with cosmic energy (at least that’s what I think we’re doing!). It definitely reminds me of God and the universe and ancient wisdom, and returning back to my true self. With all the different mantras available, having discipline and establishing a routine are very important.
Speaking of universal energy – the craziest thing just happened. As I am in the middle of writing this post, I received a text message from my friend Gayathri (who I haven’t spoken to in months) saying Happy New Year and that she is happy to see my different profile pics on Whatsapp. Is that not a crazy coincidence?! She is also a Sai devotee, and a vibrionics practitioner (but that is a story for another day). The universe works in mysterious ways sometimes – but then again, maybe that’s just how life goes when you are blessed.
I am beautiful
I am worthy
I am raw and wild and untamed
I am intelligent and rational, spiritual and intuitive
I am dignified, yet when it comes to love
willing to throw it all out the window.
I am love incarnate.
I am submissive, yet defiant;
sensitive, yet callous –
I long to experience the joys of love and union,
yet value my independence above all.
I am WOMAN.
I have eyes that can see through the depths of your being,
hair that falls graciously beyond my shoulders,
hips that sway to the rhythms of the earth.
I am everything you think I am and more,
yet can be magnificently misunderstood.
I am logical, yet open to forces much greater than me
I am powerful, yet acknowledge that the black hole of doubt
can drain me of my strength.
I am an artist, seeking his muse.
I am everything at once, yet deep down I know that I am nothing.
I am spirit and soul, earth and water.
I am never-ending….
“I AM” is the strongest creative statement in the universe. The universe responds to this as would ‘a genie in a bottle’ – it knows no other way to behave. My good friend Melinda once asked me to summarize what I thought about this statement and this is what I said:
I always say that “IAM” is the most powerful statement in the universe. It has the power to change your body and mind, which can be rewired simply by repeating this basic mantra. It can be as straightforward as “Iam love, Iam light”, or as intricate as “I am the being that recognizes the God in you.” The repetition is important, especially in times of doubt and when you don’t believe what you are saying is true.
This is the passage from Conversations with God that first introduced me to its power:
“When your thoughts are clear and steadfast, begin to speak them as truths. Say them out loud. Use the great command that calls forth creative power: Iam. Make I– am statements to others. “Iam” is the strongest creative statement in the universe. Whatever you think, whatever you say, after the words “Iam” sets into motion those experiences, calls them forth, brings them to you. There is no other way the universe knows how to work. There is no other route it knows to take. The universe responds to “Iam” as would a genie in a bottle.”
Another cool fact about “IAM” is that the reverberation it makes in your body has a realigning effect. In every enlightened being, and in every major religion, you will find the sound “IAM” – in Hinduism it’s AUM, in Islam it’s Ameen, and in Christianity Amen. They all derive from the same universal source/sound, and are one and the same. Cool huh?
Here is a recording of me saying “AUM Shanti” – have a listen and pay attention to how you feel when hearing it. Then when you have a moment on your own, take a deep breath in, and on the exhale, let out a long “AUM”. There are lots of different opinions on how to say it properly, but I just say it the way that feels right to me.
As you go about your day, keep this AUM sound with you, and let it lead you to the place of peace within yourself.