During a mentoring session this week I learned about the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma. We were not even working on mantras but for some reason this was caught my attention. I asked her about it and she directed me to the practice a Kundalini - which utilizes the practices of Kriyas. If you're totally lost at this point, let me break it down for you. Mantras are spoken words or chants (similar to affirmations); Kundalini is a type of yoga, and kriyas are chants paired with breath forming a connection to our energy or subtle body. As I was say, I went digging to see what this chant actually meant.
Upon my research, I found the translation to mean something along the lines of "Truth is our identity." The translation itself begs the question, what is truth? As another wise sage once told me, several truths can exist at the same time because truth is personal. And that is what makes us forever students, forever searching for enlightenment and forever, only being able to view circumstances from one frame of reference (our own). This does not mean we cannot empathize with other. It just basically means that introspection is difficult in terms of keeping unbiased due to our embodiment. However, for the sake of staying on track, the "Truth is our Identity" is quite subjective, and a bit esoteric. Upon breaking down the mantra further we can see a bit more of meaning:
SA - Birth or the beginning
TA - Life or existence
NA - Death or transformation
MA - Rebirth or Joy
For me personally, I took this a little less literal in the sense that we are born, we live, we die and then we are passed on to the next "whatever it is you believe is next." The mantra feels like it is referencing the births and rebirths WITHIN our lives, not just one beginning and one ending. I believe it was Glennon Doyle, who references that we are born and reborn several times in our lives (just like a phoenix rising from the ashes, only to return to ashes again).
So, the mantra took on a whole new meaning. We know that pain and suffering are part of every life. So what if the experiences (living) we have are the TA or the part of being an alive human? And, what if the NA or transformation (not literal death) is the healing we do after the experience? Furthermore, what if MA, or the rebirth is the end result of accepting and evolving from said experiences? That then leaves us with SA or birth to start the process all over again.
This also has a tone of seasons or cycles to it. If we buy into this idea that life is seasonal or cyclical, we can find a sense of impermanence in painful experiences (they will eventually end) and in good experiences (enjoy them while they're here, because they won't last forever). So, instead of labeling a good or bad day, week, month or life, maybe we could alter the way we view it, removing the label completely? What if, instead, we looked at our experiences as cyclical? That means we allow for a certain amount of acceptance - meaning, a realization that life is not perfect nor is it easy (far from the truth!).
Instead, it is life. Life will have ups, then downs, then moments of pause to offer growth, and eventually opportunity to create space for joy.
Can you take this idea of moving through the cycles without feeling stuck in one? Can you find yourself accepting that life is not always easy, or rarely easy, but does have moments of joy? Can you accept that you may be a cog in the wheel of life, but that you've figured out it's all about navigation? And don't forget, sometimes when we are in the TA (or existence) of life we may need help to get to the NA (or transformation) of life (enter, family, friends, therapist, doctors, pets, self-care, etc.).
Whatever season you find yourself in, take a breath, because we all may not be in the same one at the same time, but I can assure you, we all spend a fair amount of time in the avalanche of winter before meeting the beautiful sunrises of summer.
SA- TA- NA- MA-.
Side note: if you are interested in practicing mantra - try Sa, Ta, Na, Ma. It's pretty easy. You either say the sounds aloud, as a whisper or within your mind. Mantra is used to heal many physical and mental aliments and has been proven effective. A good practice may be to softly engage in this chant seated for anywhere from 1 - 5 minutes a day (the longer the better).