Friday, January 7, 2011

One Million Mantras or The Importance of Devotion

Photo by Marcy, taken at Erie Art Museum
Why do we not do things that we know are good for us?

I have asked myself this question a million times.  I have suffered such a large portion of my life from severe depression and anxiety, and that question used to bring me to tears, as I struggled just to GET UP and TRY...whether that be to take a short walk, do a bit of yoga, write a few sentences.  It could all feel impossible.

I still struggle, but now -- the majority of time -- I win out over the impulse to NOT.  This ability to see that I am hurting myself and to overcome that tendency has been hard won, for sure.

But that is why the word is "practice."  My practice is Saying Yes, because saying No was not working for me.  Saying No did not feel good.  It was not making the depression go away.  Saying Yes works every time.

The practice of Saying Yes has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  It is also the simplest and the most necessary.  It has saved my life.

Again, it is not easy.  There is no "Secret" to it.  It is painful (and then glorious).  It is physically gut wrenching (and then light filling).  And no one else will ever totally get how hard it is for you...but you have to do it anyway.

About a week or two ago (my sense of time is off from all the stuff that has happened lately), I was reading something about long term mantras.  (I can't for the life of me remember where I was reading this so if anyone knows, please share.)

The writer was talking about the such and such 1 million mantras, for example, and how that is practically impossible but it is intentionally so.

First of all, taking on the practice of "finishing" 1 million mantras removes the ego from the equation. There simply is no room for thinking about concepts like "success" when you take on such an unimaginable task.

Second -- and this deeply applies to what I am talking about here -- the 1 million number is meant to represent what it takes to truly change our brains, to remove bad habits of thinking, to create new good habits.

This is Devotion.  (And telling people it takes this kind of hard work will not make for a best seller.)

This is the sort of Devotion to the Practice of Saying Yes that is necessary.  Saying Yes for one week is not going to eradicate your depression or anxiety or whatever your problem in this life is.

Saying Yes for one year will not do it.  It will start to change you, but the change will be slow and will come in unnoticeable increments, until one day down the road, you do notice.  You notice that the impulse to say No perhaps lasts a few seconds less and is therefore "more quickly" replaced with the Yes.

This is Devotion to the You, You Were Born to Be, and it is the Devotion of a Lifetime. Every minute, every day, every week, every year, because You are worth it.



SilentLotus Creations said...

Beautifully written and hopeful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. So glad I remembered your site and came back. Happy New Year.


Tess said...

Beautiful, and I love Marcy's photograph. There's something in our hearts that is set free, over and over like the cycle of life, each time we say yes in the way you suggest. (Which may mean saying no to other things, I think.)