On Mantra

Mantra and its practice are part of ancient Vedic tradition first developed by wise spiritualists who connected the sounds of the natural world around them to a greater universal energy. They saw sound and its vibrational quality as the audible manifestation of the energy to which we are all connected. They recognized that no matter who or where in the world a person is, if one sit’s quietly long enough, one can hear those connective sounds, and not only that, but can achieve peace through the concentrated practice of listening and repeating them. The sages began to mimic such sound patterns that they heard as a form of meditation, achieving a greater sense of clarity, awareness, and transcendent peace. This same concept, thousands of years later, can be appropriated to bring us closer to our highest self and to achieving what we most desire.

Traditional Mantra Meditation uses existing Sanskrit hymns and chants that have been shared and practiced apart of Vedic tradition. These mantras are typically vocations towards certain deities for blessings specific to them. The sounds of these prayers said in repetition are meant to induce a deeper meditative state, such as when a lullaby soothes a child to sleep. The linguistic nature of traditional mantra and the quality of their sounds works to quiet mental chatter and fosters a peaceful environment for the body and mind to exist. Examples of traditional mantras are: Om (ohm): The simplest to repeat, yet a powerful acknowledgement of connection between all beings. Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu (lo-kah sah-mah-stah sue-kee-no bah-vain-to): Asking for peace and contentment for all living things. Om namah shivaya (Ohm nah-mah she-vah-yah): An acknowledgement of the power, beauty, and unique perfection of another being.

Personal or Unique Mantra is another way of approaching the practice and benefiting from it. Just as is true of thoughts, there are no right or wrong mantras. Rather, your mantra is based on personal experience, and holds power as an individual and unique expression of what you most desire. Whether it be aimed at manifesting security, deep connection, pervasive self-confidence, or release from suffering, the only requirement of mantra is that it is authentic.

Spend a half hour with your journal, preferably in the morning when your mind is fresh, free-writing about what it is you desire at this moment in time. Without over-analyzation or personal judgement, let it flow freely. Writing it down will help you to gain clarity on what is most pertinent for you in the current moment. Decide which idea, goal, concept, emotion, etc., it is you want to focus on first. Once you have a sense of it in your mind, turn it into a declarative statement. Imagine you already have what you are looking to attract as part of your reality.

The Personal Mantra is an individualized expression. A concentrated effort to help you achieve stillness, and peace and ultimately aids in creating your optimal reality. Whatever that is for you at this moment, is right. As a side note, you can have multiple mantras at the ready, however when meditating with the mantra, it is important to repeat only one at a time in order to focus your energy towards one thing instead of smaller efforts towards multiple goals.

Mantra Recipe

  • 1/2 hour spent alone journaling about what you seek to attain
  • Refinement of what speaks to you as the most pertinent to focus on
  • Written declarative statement
  • 10 minutes daily quiet time sitting or walking slowly to repeat your mantra
  • Try incorporating mantra into your meditation practice and pay attention to what arises

Beyond Words

Tilt your head slightly to one side and lift your eyebrows expectantly. Ask questions. Delve into the subject at hand or let things come randomly. Don’t expect answers. Forget everything you’ve ever done. Make no comparisons. Simply listen. Listen with your eyes, as if the story you are hearing is happening right now. Listen without blinking, as if a move might frighten the truth away forever. Don’t attempt to copy anything down. Don’t bring a camera or a recorder. This is your chance to listen carefully. Your whole life might depend on what you hear.

~Joyce Sutphen

Sangha Cinema

2017 Lion’s Roar BuddhaFest Online Film Festival June 12th-July 23rd. Curated Sangha Cinema: A cinematic experience that skillfully joins the wisdom, diversity, and art of Buddhism in six carefully selected films & six dharma talks by leading contemporary teachers of buddhist wisdom of our time. Films: A Thousand Mothers; Don’t Know; Tzu Chi: Doing Good In The World; One Mind; Wandering; Drokpa. Teachers: Sharon Salzberg; Noah Levine; Ani Choying Drolma & Dawa Tarchin Phillips; Mushim Patricia Ikeda; Christiane Wolf; Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Festival access, discounts and privileges for current and new subscribers to Lion’s Roar Magazine. Festival Pass + Film & Teacher Details here.

Mother’s Day

Practice kindness gather love ~Proverb

“All living beings have been your mother in a former life” say Buddhist teachings that encourage altruism toward others. On Mother’s Day, we practice learning to see all beings as our mother -or whoever cared for us when we were young, in order to shift toward a kinder way of being. The more we engage in this type of contemplation, using rebirth as a metaphor, the more we develop a sense of equanimity, and are better able to relate with compassion and empathy.

Bodhicitta or the Thought of Awakening is the aspiration to realize enlightenment for the benefit of others. “The jewel that is the seed of pure happiness in the world and the remedy for the suffering of the world.”  Enlightening beings, called bodhisattvas, altruistic heroes of the mind, seek to generate the thought of awakening and then maintain the thought as they fare on the Buddha path. In Tibetan Buddhism, bodhicitta is said to have six causes: 1) Seeing All Sentient Beings As One’s Mothers,  2) Remembering Their Kindness, 3) Repaying Their kindness, 4) Love,  5) Boundless Compassion, and 6) Altruistic Intention.

The Journey

We have not even to risk the adventure alone
for the heroes of all time have gone before us.
The labyrinth is thoroughly known …
we have only to follow the thread of the hero path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination
we shall find a God.

And where we had thought to slay another
we shall slay ourselves.
Where we had thought to travel outwards
we shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone
we shall be with all the world.

~Joseph Campbell

Flower Moon

Fall Under The Spell Of The Full Flower Moon May 5th 2017. Now we enter the magical month of May. Named after the Greek Goddess Maia, a Goddess of Spring’s growth, warmth and passion, Goddess of both Earth & Sky.

This month’s Moon is called the Flower Moon due to the abundance of flowers of all kinds that bloom at this time of year. Many of these blooms will become fruit and grain for the harvest and many will bask you in their beauty and scent for a short time and then wilt and fade, not to reappear until next year. This is especially true for wildflowers and a suggested activity for this month would be to go on a wildflower foraging hike. Bring a camera or sketchbook and a plant almanac, and see how many plants you can identify, and those you cannot you can later research and see what folklore, medicinal or magickal uses they have. The Artful Blog advises against taking any of these plants home with you unless there is an abundance and unless you can positively identify them. Instead leave them for others to enjoy, and allow the blooms to become seeds for next year’s blossoming.

The Full Moon in May brings with it the holiest day in Buddhism, Wesak or Vesak commemorates not only the birth of Siddhārtha Gautama, but his enlightenment or Buddhahood, and his death at the age of eighty. The festival is celebrated in many ways throughout different countries, each country adding its local customs and flair. Another idea for bringing the magic of the season into your life by tapping into the energy of flowers, is to create botanical treats for a tasty Spring Ritual. Many flowers we grow are edible and quite delicious, they also add a touch of novelty and beauty to a dish. You can simply add a teaspoon of dried Lavender flowers to a batch of shortbread or sugar cookies, add Rosepetals and Violets to a cake, or Pansy, Nasturtium, Chamomile or Chive flowers to a Green salad. And remember to spend some time away from the distractions and noise of the modern, material world to sit in quiet contemplation, meditation, and awe.

For more fun with flowers see previous posts: Lilac Love, Flower Style, Sunflower Sunshine, Flower Power Beauty, Chive Blossoms, Rose TrufflesWildflower Wonder, Power Of Roses, Culinary Aromatherapy, Rosepetal Jam, Edible Bouquet, Flower Lovers & Mindful Mandala.

Mindful Mandala

Daring Dahlia: From The Flower Mandala Project

 If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. ~Buddha

The Artful Blog recently posted new images throughout the Art Practice Site, some of which are part of a new ‘Flower Mandala Project’ in bloom. The beginning of a five season project encompassing: Spring Summer Fall Winter Spring. The goal of the project, being Jungian in nature, is to resonate aesthetically and as a meditation tool, to be both mystical and mindful. Based on an archetypal depth psychology premise Carl Jung illuminated: exploring the mandala as psychological expression of the human psyche and totality of the self. #artfulagenda #seedcenteroftheself

Follow The Artful Blog on Facebook for future updates and insight into the project and other things of interest related to both the site and blog & more.

Art Of Minimalism

“Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things” directed by Matt D’Avella, 2016. Watch-worthy spot-on social commentary of the times that examines various people dedicated to rejecting the American idea that things bring happiness, exploring the virtues of ‘less is more.’ There’s a takeaway here for everybody everywhere. #meaningfullifeofless