Stressful Moments: 5 Gathas to Practice Mindful Meditation

Life is full of anxious moments, right? Maybe you feel stressed out about the stuff on your to-do list for school or work or that hot date you have coming up. Your mind is racing about the future, or maybe it’s overanalyzing something that happened in the past. Experiencing the present moment gets forgotten, and becomes dust in the wind.  To refocus your mind to the here and now, you can practice mindful meditation by reciting a gatha poem.

A buddha with a swirly background.

This buddha is encouraging you to practice mindful meditation.

What the heck are gatha poems? They are simple short poems that you can say in any situation to mindfully meditate. You can even make one up if you’d like.

Below are just a few that can help you be more mentally present:

1. My favorite gatha to recite before going in for a job interview, date, or presentation:

I know I am breathing in,
I know I am breathing out.
Breathing in, I calm my body,
breathing out I smile.
I dwell in this present moment.
I know this is a precious moment. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

2. When you’re stuck in traffic and panicking about being late (or want to honk at the slowpokes in front of you):

This car is my legs.
It goes where I choose.
When I drive with awareness,
everyone lives in safety. (Andrew Weiss)

3. Right before you get on the phone (this is one for the millennials ;-):

Before picking up the telephone,
words can travel thousands of miles.
May my words create mutual understanding and love.
May they be as beautiful as gems,
as lovely as flowers. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

4. To help get you out of bed in the morning:

Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment
and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

5. Before you go to bed at night:

Falling asleep at last
I vow with all beings
To enjoy the dark and the silence
And rest in the vast unknown. (Robert Aitkin, Roshi)

You can recite gathas when you’re petting your dog, eating a salad, watching your kids play, folding laundry…just about anything. Mindful meditation calms our nerves and reinvigorates our energy throughout the day. Life is too short not to enjoy the smallest moments.

What are your favorite gatha poems?

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