Revise Your Day!
A Mindful Writers Mantra
Deep in meditation, one morning the phrase, “Revise your Day!” appeared to my mind’s eye. For a year or so I had been searching for a meaningful phrase, called mantra in Sanskrit, a phrase that would coalesce my passion for writing, my abiding love for meditation and the pursuit of the betterment of my life until the last breath.
A few weeks prior to this revelation, I was struggling with how to better my life similar to the way I revise and rewrite my rough writing drafts. A decade ago, I had quit my teaching job partly because I did not want to fall into an academic teaching rut. I wanted to focus on my writing and painting and to improve my daily life. It was not that I was unhappy, but that I had become aware of my human potential in general and my capabilities in particular.
The thought, until then at the back of my mind, had surfaced. When the complete mantra appeared to me-a symbol that seeped out from the unconscious and sparkled in the consciousness, time seemed to stop. From the rich, deep darkness, three words flashed, “Revise Your Day!” They became permanently ingrained inside me.
In his book, The Tantric Tradition, the well-known American scholar of Hinduism Agehananda Bharati writes that Sanskrit mantras are revealed in a flash. Jan Gonda, the British expert on Indian tradition, affirms in his essay, “The Indian Mantra,” that mantras are not products of discursive thought, human wisdom or poetic fantasy.” They act as “flashlights of the eternal truth, seen by those who come into contact with the unseen in meditation.” Traditional Hindu mantras, meaningful only to the insider, are some abracadabra words and some translatable words that are woven together as symbolic utterances. I see the phrase, “Revise My Day!” not on the same scale as those sacred phrases but evocative of what is significant to me in mindful writing.
The word “Revise” in the phrase gently persuades me to amend, modify, adjust, change, correct, and rework a rough draft. The “Day” nudges me to be attentive during the daylight hours; dreams will take care of the night. Mental repetition of the phrase gently reminds me to revise rather than to repeat the errors and mistakes that I made the previous day.
During meditation when my focus wanders off, my personal mantra helps bring me back to the breathing. It also helps me return my attention to the writing project in progress. The phrase is relevant to my daily life and seems imbued with a power of its own.