a measure of free choice


“Oh! the charm of the Name! It brings light where there is darkness, happiness where there is misery, contentment where there is dissatisfaction, bliss where there is pain, order where there is chaos, life where there is death, heaven where there is hell, God where there is illusion.”
~ Swami Ramdas


Repeating the mantram is a powerful way to harness a very natural tendency of the human mind: to brood. Every compulsion gets its grip from this tendency. The mind takes a trifling remark or incident – no bigger than a limp balloon – and starts to inflate it by thinking about it over and over and over, blowing it up until it fills your consciousness. You can’t think about anything else.

When the mind starts this blowup routine, the mantram restores your perspective by letting out the air. Every time the mind pumps, the mantram pricks open a little hole and lets some of your attention get free. The balloon may not collapse immediately – after all, an emotion like anger or desire has powerful lungs. But right from the first, it will not get so obsessively large, which means you have introduced a measure of free choice. Next time the situation comes up, you will find your freedom of choice even greater.

~ Eknath Easwaran


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