The Breath or a Mantra as Mindfulness Aids

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“The mantra becomes one’s staff of life, and carries one through every ordeal.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This refers to the continuous repetition of a mantra throughout the day, called Japa in the Hindu tradition, but also practiced in other traditions. The breath is also used for the equivalent purpose. A mantra or the breath helps bring us back to and anchor us in the present moment. There is a Zen quote that when you are practicing mindfulness, the hardest thing is “remembering to remember”, and these tools help you do that. This is from the book Still Running by Vanessa Goddard:

“Over the years I’ve seen there is no storm that my breath cannot weather. Sometimes the waters are calm and my boat steady. Sometimes I find myself in the middle of a hurricane in what feels like a flimsy wooden raft. Yet my experience tells me that I have the ability to ride the waves no matter their size, and that, the closer I get to my breath, the more strength and stability I have.”