What's My Mantra?
About half way through my life coach training program, I was exposed to this meditation of Martha Beck's: "I am infinitely loved, I am always safe, I cannot make mistakes." When I first heard it, I was taken aback. It was so simple. And yet so bold. There was a measure of discomfort. Did I dare believe these three statements.
Even as I argued with its premise, I couldn't shake it from my mind. I debated its hidden depth and seemingly "getting bigger than your britches" sensibilities. However, as I stuck with the mantra and continued to repeat it, my bickering with it stopped. Somewhere in the midst of saying it over and over again, it finally brought me peace. I found calm. I was content speaking those words.
Now it's something I repeat frequently...sometimes daily...even hourly. It's not just for my quiet meditative moments. My harried moments are when the mantra really comes to life. I pull it out in the midst of chaos and find some calm. Repeating this phrase is especially effective when my mind monkeys go crazy and can't stop chattering on their own. It's my fastest way to quiet them so I can feel my essential self and where she wants to go.
So, let's dig a little deeper into each line. There's a lot here to ponder.
I Am Infinitely Loved
Love is a funny thing -- it seems to have so many meanings. The idea of "unconditional" love gets bantered around as if it's possible for love to be conditional. Isn't the unconditional part of love understood. I struggle to see how love in its truest form could ever be dependent on conditions. It seems that love with limits isn't love at all.
So when we modify love with the word "infinitely", where does it take us in the context of love? Is infinite also understood? It feels almost synonymous with "unconditional." However, going to infinite sounds a bit more enduring to me. It ups the ante on unconditional. Forever has a way of doing that.
And so, this mantra begins with infinitely loved. It helps me believe even more deeply in my oneness with my creator -- the one who made me (and everyone and everything else in this world) possible. We are all perfect in the eyes of the creator.
I Am Always Safe
Did your mind monkeys jump a little higher when you took in this part of the mantra? Mine certainly did at first. My monkeys have a very clear job -- keep me safe. So if I believe "I'm always safe," they are out of a job.
But am I really and truly always safe? Always is such a hefty word. Sounds a bit like infinite, doesn't it? When I consider this notion and add in my belief that everything happens for a reason to bring me to my highest good, then even moments in my life that feel unsafe take on a different meaning.
I start asking: "What does safe mean?" "What is harm?" "Can I really keep myself safe from harm?" "Can I think of a time when I felt unsafe and everything worked out fine...perhaps even better than fine?" I can. And last I checked, I'm still standing. I'm still here. I'm still living my purpose despite all the seemingly unsafe moments in my life.
It's easy to argue with reality when I ponder the topics of safety and harm. Fear takes over and my mind monkeys and their pet, my inner lizard who lives in constant readiness for fight or flight, are back on top.
And so, this part of the mantra reminds me to stop arguing with what is. It helps me accept that even when I stand in harm's way, I am always safe and living what is intended for me.
I Cannot Make Mistakes
I get it...this one makes the first two lines of the mantra look benign. We live in a society that believes we make mistakes -- big ones, small ones, and every size in between. Our mistakes harm ourselves, harm others, harm animals, harm plants, harm water...the list goes on. Mistakes can put us in jail. They are a fast way to bring on guilt and then for shame to rear its ugly head. Mistakes feel inevitable. And yet we try to prevent them.
In the past, I thought it was possible to outwit mistakes. I could plan ahead. I could make tamer choices. I could think through every possible mistake before taking my first step.
But have I ever anticipated a mistake that actually happened? No.
Have I ever prevented mistakes? Probably not!
Wait! Haven't some of my best lessons in life come from those supposed mistakes? Yep.
And so, I'm coming around to Martha's point. Again if I consider the first two lines of this mantra, if I embrace being infinitely loved and always safe, then perhaps, just maybe there is no such thing as a mistake. And if there is no such thing as a mistake, then I cannot make one.
There is very little in my life that I would ask for a "do-over" on, although it has occurred to me at times. My so-called mistakes (misjudgments, misdeeds) are the richness of my fabric. They make me unique. They certainly provide some of my most vivid childhood memories. My mistakes have made me smarter, wiser, and certainly more compassionate as I watch my teens endure the inevitable mistakes that come with growing up.
So now when I view every mistake as a lesson and an opportunity for growth, I'm thankful for every frickin' one of them. I'm also less prone to protecting my teens from the consequences of their choices. Because that's all mistakes are -- choices with after-effects. No good or bad, right or wrong...just what is and the ripples that follow.
I realize most of the pain in my life comes from my thoughts about love, safety, and mistakes. And since I've stopped believing everything I think, it's become a lot easier to laugh off my fears about the future and laments about the past, so I can get back to the present. Acceptance is found here. And serenity isn't far behind when I believe I am infinitely loved, always safe, and cannot make mistakes.
I invite you to give this mantra a try. Let me know how it goes.