It turns out, doing a masters degree at Harvard is a lot of work! Not only has it been difficult to write regular blog posts, but it has also been difficult to prioritize practicing what I “preach.” As I study for days on end, I am constantly reminded that we now live in a society where Connectedness is optional and requires constant effort—and that constant effort is not always feasible.
In order to add a small reminder of Connectedness into my everyday routine, this past year I taped the following quote by Thích Nhất Hạnh on the wall next to my bed:
This quote is generally the first thing I see in the morning, and the last thing I see before going to sleep. Even on days when I have been a hermit at home, studying all day, eating frozen Amy’s meals, and only seeing the light of day through my window, the quote has allowed a small reminder of Connectedness to squeeze into my day. It is a reminder not only of what I study, but what I personally value—being kind and compassionate 🙂
Thinking about this recently, I realized the quote acts as a positive affirmation, a daily intention, and at times a mantra I repeat to myself throughout the day—all of which have positive effects on well-being! [i] [ii] [iii] Furthermore, in the ancient Indian language, Pali, the word for mindfulness also means remembering, which suggests an important part of mindfulness is the practice of “remembering our values, our intentions, and our aspirations.”[iv]
Talking with other people, it turns out I am not the only one who repeats a personal intention in the form of a quote each day. For instance, one person I know repeats the final lesson in the spiritual text A Course in Miracles every morning. I find it beautiful in sentiment and language, so I thought I would also share it in this post:
This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You, Certain that Your direction gives me peace. And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His Holy Son.
For anyone who feels uncomfortable with God-language, you can replace the word God with Love and the meaning remains the same, if not feels more powerful:
This holy instant would I give to Love. Be Love in charge. For I would follow Love, Certain that Love’s direction gives me peace. And if I need a word to help me, Love will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will Love also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Love. Love is in charge by my request. And Love will hear and answer me, because Love speaks for All.
Alternatively, another affirmation I like is from Melody Beattie’s book, Journey to the Heart:
And that’s just a few. I am sure there are plenty more out there, just waiting to be discovered, or perhaps, waiting to be written—by you!
In fact, feeling inspired, I tried writing one for myself just now:
Connectedness is my life, just as
Kindness is my actions, and
Love is my being. I embark today,
as with any day, to be Connection,
to be Kindness,
to be Love.
Whether life is leisurely or all consuming, I hope you find these quotes and thoughts add a spark of joy and a welcome reminder to your day 🙂
[i] Howell, A. J. (2017). Self-Affirmation Theory and the Science of Well-Being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 18(1), 293-311.
[ii] Lolla, A. (2017). Mantras Help the General Psychological Well-Being of College Students: A Pilot Study. Journal of Religion and Health, 1-10.
[iii] Boyle, S. (2017). Mantras Made Easy: Mantras for Happiness, Peace, Prosperity, and More. F+ W Media, Inc.
[iv] Bartok, J., & Roemer, L. (2017). Remembering-and-Receiving: Mindfulness and Acceptance in Zen. In Handbook of Zen, Mindfulness, and Behavioral Health (pp. 237-250). Springer International Publishing.