A mantra to live by should be short and fully trusted. It is effective for progress because it serves as a concise and focused affirmation, and with repitition it can help shift one’s mindset. It reinforces positive beliefs and promotes consistent small steps towards long-term goals, fostering motivation and resilience along the way.
A stoic mantra inspired by the 12 steps
The Stoics developed a philosophical method rooted in rationality and virtue to find inner peace by living according to nature and accepting what is beyond their control, which aligns with the core principles of 12-step programs that advocate surrendering to a higher power, and seeking serenity through the acknowledgment of limitations, creating similar paths to emotional and psychological well-being.
A short personal mantra for peace and happiness
A mantra to live by only works effectively when you have complete trust in its message and it is short enough to remember day to day. It operates as a powerful cognitive tool, reinforcing positive beliefs and intentions, facilitating focused concentration, and influencing your subconscious mind to align with the mantra’s affirmations, ultimately leading to a transformation in thought patterns and behaviours in line with the mantra’s message.
A mantra to live by:
I accept anything out of my control without resistance – past, present and future.
My mind is my only source of suffering, so I will work to reduce my ego by helping others and meditating.
I completely trust these points are the only way to bring peace and serenity.
Breaking the mantra down:
A mantra to live by (1/3): I accept anything out of my control without resistance – past, present and future.
Understanding and accepting things beyond control
Both Stoics and 12-step programs emphasise the crucial wisdom of accepting what is not within your control, recognising that external events, people’s actions, the past, or circumstances are beyond your influence, and instead, advocating for focusing your efforts and serenity entirely on the aspects you can change now.
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will. ”
–Epictetus (c. 50 – c. 135 AD)
The Serenity Prayer
The Serenity Prayer is often considered a mantra to live by because it encapsulates profound wisdom about acceptance and action. It encourages individuals to accept the things they cannot change, find the courage to change the things they can, and possess the wisdom to distinguish between the two.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference
–Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
A mantra to live by (2/3): My mind is my only source of suffering, so I will work to reduce my ego by helping others and meditating.
Is the mind really the only source of suffering?
Stoics emphasise that the mind is the primary source of suffering because they believe that it is not external events or circumstances that cause distress, but rather our judgments and interpretations of those events. According to Stoic philosophy, it is our thoughts, beliefs, and emotional reactions to external events that lead to suffering. By practicing rationality, self-control, and the proper evaluation of events, Stoics believed individuals could minimise suffering and achieve inner peace, regardless of external circumstances.
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.”
― Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 AD)
A buddhist view of the mind
Buddhists, like Stoics, emphasise the mind as a significant source of suffering because they believe that it is our mental attachments, cravings, aversions, and delusions that lead to suffering. In Buddhist philosophy, suffering (dukkha) is considered a fundamental aspect of human existence, primarily arising from our desires and the mental constructs we create about reality. By understanding and transcending these mental patterns through practices like mindfulness and meditation, Buddhists aim to alleviate suffering and attain enlightenment or Nirvana. In this view, the mind plays a central role in both the creation and potential cessation of suffering.
How does helping others reduce the ego?
In twelve-step programs, there is a profound emphasis on the reduction of the ego, a process achieved through the cultivation of humility and selflessness. This approach is realised through various practices, including acts of service and support for others who are navigating their own paths to recovery. By encouraging members to reach out, sponsor newcomers, and share their experiences openly, these programs create a communal atmosphere that promotes humility and helps individuals transcend the self-centred aspects of addiction. The twelfth step, which involves carrying the message to those who still suffer, embodies the core principle that personal growth are intrinsically linked to the act of helping others, fostering a transformation in the way individuals perceive themselves and their place in the world.
A mantra to live by (3/3): I completely trust these points are the only way to bring peace and serenity.
This mantra purposefully encapsulates the key teachings of Stoicism and 12-step programs into two easy to remember points. Obviously these are highly simplified and the reader is encouraged to deeply consider and develop their own sense of trust that they are both true and highly important points to prioritise in order to walk a path to peace and serenity.
Does a daily mantra to live by need trust?
Trust is integral to the efficacy of a mantra because it establishes a foundational belief in the mantra’s power to effect positive change, reduces doubt and skepticism and emotionally aligns the practitioner with the mantra’s core message. Remembering the two clear points in daily life with full trust will enhance and focus concentration, foster positive expectations, and promote consistency in practice. Doing this daily will contribute to the mantra’s ability to deeply influence thought patterns, behaviours, and life choices.