There is a practice in Tibetan Buddhism called Lojong where the practitioner uses slogans to train the mind and to provide a point of focus. The slogans are designed as a set of tools to eliminate undesired mental habits that cause suffering. Some of these slogans are “Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life”; “Be grateful to everyone” and “Don’t be so predictable.”
Pema Chodron describes these slogans as ways to see our difficulties and unwanted aspects of life as the tools we need to awaken our hearts and minds.
These short slogans make it possible and easy to hold a concept in our minds throughout the day. Longer philosophical verses are often difficult to remember, but the ease with which these phrases can be recalled makes this a useful and transformative practice.
During a yoga teacher training in Portugal, students experimented with turning the Yamas and Niyamas into slogans. The idea behind the exercise was to distill the concept so it could easily be explained to others or even put on a t-shirt! Here are just a few of the many great slogans students came up with:
• Asteya: “Be kind to the earth, you might just come back.”- Richard
• Brahmacharya: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”- Kine
• Tapas: “If you want your children to experience Tapas, take their phones away.”- Richard
• Tapas: “Yoga: cooking the mind and body.”- Georgina
• Saucha: “Leave yourself alone.”- Michelle
• Santosha: “Let things come to you.”- Rob
The Lojong teachings help us to live our yoga off the mat, giving us ways to take what we learn during formal practice and bring it into our world. Slogans such as “Be grateful to everyone” or “Always maintain a joyful mind” are things we can contemplate as we go to work, relax with our families or clean the house.
By applying this same idea to more familiar yogic texts and contemporary texts that resonate with us, we can hold the wisdom close to our minds and hearts as we move about the day – without having to open the book or search for that quote on google. Another reason to distill information into bitesize pieces is that it invites the opportunity to inquire and study the text or verse deeply and to put it into our own soul-felt words.
If you made a slogan for your life right now, what would it be?