Experimenting with Ahimsa: For Self
I think I have stumbled on something powerful here. After that first night of chanting my mantra internally, I came back home and wrote that I didn’t think it was possible to feel upset while my head space was filled with this mantra. I actually couldn’t believe how well it seemed to work, and how quickly the mantra helped me break out of negative thought patterns. It took some concentration to be able to “catch myself in the act”, and to recognize when I needed to chant my mantra, but I was able to catch a lot of little toxic thoughts and let them go before they snowballed into something much bigger. The mantra had such a quieting effect on me that, often times, when I got done chanting it, I’d forget what I was thinking before.
I got a little angry at the mantra for that. Part of me felt like this practice was stripping me of my thoughts and feelings, like it was breaking down reactions that seemed perfectly normal and human, and that on some level I felt entitled to have. I read somewhere that we humans are attached to our suffering, and it’s true. There is a twisted kind of satisfaction in being upset. There was one day when I did get really upset and I found that I didn’t even want to chant my mantra. I wanted to hang onto those feelings, and I knew they wouldn’t survive in the presence of the mantra.