That’s the thing I say to myself, over and over.
“Loved” is my mantra, when I meditate. Those five letters do the job of any other mantra: the return my awareness from whatever thoughts have popped inside my head. They are my anchor to this moment that is happening right now, tethering me to the only time we are actually alive. Regrets might want to push me back into the past. Worries might try to rush me into the future. When I feel this happening, I say that word to myself, dismiss the things that are clamoring for my attention, and then I am here, in the present.
Some of the time, anyway. Other times, letting go takes this strange sort-of repeated not-effort. Sometimes I get swept up a little bit. I see that getting frustrated with myself at these times is an adventure in missing the point. So sometimes, I might make several attempts, saying that word, to myself.
There are lots of different types of mantras. Not just words but images, candles, sounds, sensations like breathing. All of the those, I think, perform equally well for all the things listed above.
But personally, I get a little extra mileage out of that word, “Loved.”
Difficult and terrifying things came up when I sit in the silence. Some of them would be dismissed by any old mantra. But with my word, there is a second line of defense.
When I truly embrace the reality– not only that God is love, but also that I personally am loved– everything also just fades away. There is not a single fear, worry, memory or feeling that can stand before that simple truth: I am loved.
Saying the word once doesn’t instantly awaken myself to this reality. But each time I think it, I believe it a lot more. And that’s a really good feeling.