Monday, November 14, 2016

My Mantra Isn't Working

About a year ago I discovered the writings of the wonderful Buddhist philosopher Eknath Easwaran, whose book "Passage Meditation" offers an incredibly dependable method for lowering stress and elevating peace of mind. It involves repeating a spiritual passage silently during meditation, thus eliminating, for at least that short period of time, all other thoughts, many of which may increase your anxiety or depression and certainly your blood pressure stats. Following is the one I use. It was written by Saint Teresa of Avila, a Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun and prominent author who lived during the 1500s and advocated a contemplative life through mental prayer:

Let nothing upset you;
Let nothing frighten you.
Everything is changing;
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the goal.
Who has God lacks nothing;
God alone fills every need.

Until now this method worked for me quite well. For example, not once during the highly stressful period of my recent hip surgery did I ever feel overwhelmed by negative emotions, and my blood pressure was a steady 110/70 the whole time. But ever since the election of Donald Trump, it has failed. Usually after I repeat each line, I wait a few seconds and go on to the next one. But now there's this voice in my head answering back, and not in a good way! Here's how it goes:

"Let nothing upset you." But what about the thousands of people taking to the streets to protest, destroying property and the possibility of a good night's sleep, burning cars and flags and effigies of the president-elect? They are very upsetting, actually way beyond upsetting: terrifying would not be an overstatement.

"Let nothing frighten you." Just about everything frightens me now. Things are spiraling out of control. This is not the country I know, I don't like it here anymore. Riots in the streets are scary. I am afraid for my son who is out there in the city, in the mix, doing his part, possibly holding up an incendiary sign. Could he get beaten by an angry mob even if he's part of it? Remember The Who concert? And they were all just there for the great music!

"Everything is changing." What was so terrible before? Why do things have to change, and so badly? Couldn't John Kasich have won the nomination? He is such a nice man, so smart and even-tempered. But nobody wanted him at the time, except me, even though now people say they would have voted for him if they had known. Even Jeb Bush, dull but level-headed. And where were all those Hillary supporters? How come 53% of white women voted for Trump? What about the glass ceiling?

"God alone is changeless." God, Schmod! If He had been paying even the slightest bit of attention, Bernie Sanders would have won the election and everyone would be celebrating Hanukkah this year!

"Patience attains the goal. " Okay, I am willing to wait to see what happens, but all those protesters are not willing to wait. They're out there, clamoring for Trump to step down (a great idea if you ask me), scheming, planning, to do something, anything, to disrupt the natural course of events. Nobody is patient! He's not even in office yet! Imagine how bad things will get then!

"Who has God lacks nothing." Bullshit. My sister is a born-again Christian who prays every day of her life and she lacks plenty. She can't even hold an apple in her hand or write or speak clearly since her stroke. 

"God alone fills every need." Well then He damn well better get cracking, and soon. Inauguration Day promises to be The Brawl on the Mall, with thousands of protesters and who knows, maybe an attempted assassination or two. Arrests, dead cops, trampled masses of human flesh. Hurry up, God, fill all those needs already.

See what I mean? My mantra now sucks. My husband thinks perhaps I need more than just a new mantra, I need something else entirely. I'm thinking maybe a gin and tonic, or else maybe one of those new craft beers that are all the rage these days. It's worth a try, and I plan to get right on it, starting with lunch today. (I already had breakfast.)


  1. this is profound . . . but yeah, you better try a new mantra . . .

  2. Yeah turbulent times nsuecgor turbulent mind. Well said!