Write Yourself A Mantra

Do you obsess?
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I obsess.

What do I obsess about?

Well, let me list the topics: weight loss body image, earning money, my novel, getting an agent, relationships, working harder, working less, focus, the price of tea in China…you get the drift.  Pretty much everything.

When I obsess, my mind runs away from me.  That is the nature of the beast.  Obsession is a thought process, one that is often circular.  I begin obsessing, realize I'm doing it, vow not to, and then my mind is off and running on the object of my obsession again.

I tell myself I'll no longer obsess, but then I find myself in the middle of an obsessive mind swing yet again.

All this obsessiveness is not particularly useful for getting work done.  Or being a productive writer. Or being a happy human being.  So I've come up with a way to battle it.

Mantras.

Not, "ohm," but a sentence that I say when I catch myself obsessing.  For instance, "I am so happy and grateful that I now have a wonderful equal working relationship with my right and perfect agent who does an outstanding job of representing me and selling my books."

Repeat that five times quickly.

Kidding.  That particular mantra is a wordy one.  You can make them much simpler.  And you should.  Because the thing is, mantra work to nip obsessiveness in the bud, and they are the only thing, besides meditation (groan), that work. 

You can easily write one of your own.  Here's how:

1.  Decide on the object of your obsession.  (This shouldn't be hard, since you probably think about it constantly.)

2.  Think about how you would feel if the obsession was satisfied.  (This is the happy and grateful part of the mantra above.)

3.  Describe the what in detail.  (Such as, I've lost ten pounds, or I now have a thriving writing career.)

4.  Put it all together.  (I am so happy and grateful that I've now lost ten pounds.)

Couldn't be easier!  Now that you have your mantra written, get yourself in the habit of saying it every time you start wringing your mental hands about your lack of progress losing that weight.  It helps to repeat it a lot at first, or even write it down over and over again.

A couple cautions.  You can't do this to control the actions of other people.  So, if the object of your obsession is a person you are in love with, the mantra is not going to pull him or her to you.  Sorry.   And, this is just my way of putting together a mantra.  I've not studied it, so there could be other, way better, ways.  If so let me know, okay?

Do any of you have luck using mantras?

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4 Comments on "Write Yourself A Mantra"

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J.D. Frost
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J.D. Frost
05/10/2010 17:48

Obsession? What is that? You’re implying I have an obsession?

Charlotte Dixon
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05/10/2010 22:29

Why yes, yes I am. That is, if you are anything like me…

Charlotte Dixon
Guest
05/11/2010 07:29

Hi Derek, Thanks, as always for the Zen perspective. I do feel that fully experiencing the obsession can help, but sometimes it just makes it worse. And for people who are not quite so schooled in meditation, a mantra can have the same effect as taking time to pay attention to your breath.

Derek
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Derek
05/11/2010 07:25
I think from time to time we can all get obsessions, although some prefer not to call them obsessions, but may say something like, “I am a born worrier”. But nobody is born worrying. It is a learned response. For me sometimes a mantra will work, but most often stilling the mind to focus only on the incoming and outgoing breaths seems to work… Providing, my motive is not to try and get rid of the obsession but more to do with stilling the mind. I don’t have to sit in a session of zazen to do this, I can… Read more »
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