I want to start this article with a story. A story that has taught me something extremely valuable in life. It was around 500 B.C., and Buddha was spreading his message among the Indian kingdoms. By this time, he had a great following and reverence. One day, when Buddha was sitting next to a river, just watching it, one of his senior disciples came to him and asked:
Disciple: Master, there is something that is bothering me. And I wish to seek an answer from you.
Buddha: What is it?
Disciple: You said, you started this journey to find an answer to Misery, Sickness, and Death. But now, when you have traveled the earth, and spread your message to all these people, do you think you have found the answer?
Buddha: What do you mean?
Disciple: What do you mean, What do I mean? Look around us, people are getting old, they are falling sick and many of them have died. You are old too, aren’t you? And probably you will die too.
Buddha smiling, looked at him and said, “Don’t ask such questions to me, if you ask a question like this again, I will throw you in the river.” After saying this Buddha walked away.
Okay, that is not how it happened. What Buddha said was:
Buddha asked the disciple to come sit closer to him, facing the river. Buddha said, “Yes you are right. I started the journey to find the answers to life’s biggest problems, Sickness, Old age, and death. And you are right that people have not stopped dying, falling sick, or getting old. And I know you want to know if I will die or if I am immortal. I will die too. This body is decaying.”
Buddha continued, “See, life has two arrows. One arrow is the miseries of life, the situations of life such as loss of wealth, loss of loved ones, old age, sickness, and death. This arrow has struck me as well, just as everyone else. The second arrow is how we react to it. I have taken this arrow out. All my teachings are to take the second arrow out.”
This story taught me more than many scriptures put together.
Life is like an ocean, sometimes peaceful, calm, and serene, and sometimes turbulent. This is the way it is. When you are in peaceful waters, you don’t need to do much, life very much is on autopilot. But when the waters get rough, it is then when we need to rely on our maneuvering and navigating skills. Below are Mantras that will help us to navigate the rough waters of life. Don’t just read, and learn but assimilate them.
Mantra 1 – If there is a day, there will be a night.
The expectation that everything in life should always be butterflies or rainbows will not cut it. If you are riding the wave, expect it to crash eventually. And if you are going through tough times, know the good days await. Take the responsibility on your shoulder, and make them happen.
Mantra 2 – Sorrows don’t come in a spy, they always come in a Battalion
This I am taking from my grandfather, a great yogi, who taught me many things. See, when one wall falls, it will seem every wall of the fort has started to fall. What can you do then? Mentally prepare yourself for this. This takes away the surprise element and the feeling of “Why did it happen to me?”, “why is it always me?” or Why it keeps happening to me?” and brings the power back to you.
Mantra 3 – Have an anchor in your life
This anchor is like your bunker in the war, or solace in the storm. Whenever you are going through difficult days go to this anchor. Spend time there, the peace will come, and clarity will come. The perspective of looking from the outside will come. For different people the anchor is different: for a child, it’s the mother’s lap, for a devotee, it’s in his lord, for a scientist it’s in contemplation, for a king it’s in his ministers, for a sports person it’s the coach and routine. You find yours.
Mantra 4: Mindfulness Breathing
Mindful breathing is one of the most powerful things that you can do. Breath is that delicate thread between Prana, the life force, and yourself. Through breath, you can reach the Universal Life force. Breath is also very intimately related to our emotions. We get angry, we breathe faster; when we are in control of our breath, anxiety or stress is also under control, for example.
The continuous practice of mindfulness breathing brings us to the present moment, it gives us that pause to react to the situation. It separates us from the situation, from the hustle and bustle of life that is happening around us. Once you start to ‘experience’ the division you are not the body, neither the mind nor the thoughts, you are separate from all this; you will have control over how you react to situations. No amount of words will do justice to this particular benefit of the mindfulness breath. You try it and see if for yourself.
Furthermore, I will share some relevant affirmations. To me, many of these affirmations are like band-aid fixes or only hacks and only work for the short term.
- This too shall pass.
- I am strong and capable of handling whatever comes my way.
- I trust in the universe to guide me through this challenging time.
- Everything is happening for my highest good.
- I choose to focus on the positive and let go of negativity.
To live a life where you inherently know how to manage difficult times, go to the story and Mantras above. It will bring effectiveness, success, and prosperity in life. No matter how hard the times get, you will have a mystical poise around situations while you gracefully navigate rough waters.