I have things that I say, phrases mostly. I say them often, perhaps too often for some people who have known me over time and heard it all many times before. I call these my Reyphorisms.
Of course the Buddhists, especially Zen Buddhists, have the best aphorisms ever. Let go or be dragged is one of my favorites, but there are many fabulous Buddhist aphorisms. Working with aphorisms is a practice in Buddhism. One is meant to repeat them, to contemplate deeply, peel away layers of meaning so as to penetrate into the essence of the idea, then spiral around, return to the idea to go deeper.
In the past, I would have characterized Reyphorisms as either self scolding or encouragement (depending on my mood). The way I saw it, Reyphorisms were motivational tools. But if the Buddhists can repeat ideas over and over, if contemplating the layers of meaning is a path to deepening and an opportunity to gain wisdom, why can't Rephorisms serve the same purpose?
I should give an example. Here's my Plan to Stay Sane, a text central to my cosmology, and full of Reyphorisms. I say this every morning, without fail.
Plan to Stay Sane
You must meditate, every day. You must, so do not argue.
Breathe, and drink water.
Whatever is happening now will not last forever.
Spend time outside today even if it's too hotcoldwindyrainycloudywhatever.
Sleep is everything.
Eat real food.
Practice creative expression.
Practice aggressive self care.
You can not grasp the river.
At the end of the day, have a laugh. Life is hilarious.
You're doing the best you can.
Sometimes I think of the Plan as a prayer, alternatively as an affirmation, but I haven't considered meditating on it the way I would if I were a Buddhist. It's interesting to think about.
I went to see the cherries yesterday. It was rather anticlimactic. As you can see from the pics here, it was - as always - spectacularly beautiful. But the bloom lacked its usual oomph. There was no feeling of surprise, no big energy of opening. Instead the trees seemed relieved and exhausted. I think they were in a cold stasis for so long they couldn't hold the energy. It was a bit sad.
I enjoyed my walk - I am not complaining. Afterwards I went to Macy's and bought a MAC pink lipstick. That experience turned out to be more joyful than the walk at the Tidal Basin. Go figure.