“Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu” is a Sanskrit mantra of compassion for the well-being of all humans, all animals, all plants.
May all beings in all worlds be happy and
May my words, my thoughts, my actions
to contribute to this peace and happiness for the benefit of
The second part of the mantra is rarely used, although it carries the real message. It shows us our responsibility in creating peace and happiness.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the first of the 4 Sundays before Christmas, announcing a period of introspection. In pre-Christian traditions, this was the period where they waited for the light to return with the winter solstice. In German-speaking countries, it is traditional to have an Advent wreath, a wreath set with 4 candles that is lit every Sunday before Christmas.
Falling at the end of the year, this period asks us to do an introspection on ourselves, on the past year, it also asks us to prepare for the coming year.
The Sanskrit mantra is appropriate for this period. The first part reflects the spirit of Christmas, we wish everyone the best and the second part asks us to look inside ourselves and evaluate whether our actions, words and thoughts are aligned with our aspirations, whether through them we contribute to a better world.
We are imperfect, fallible human beings, we have certainly not been angels or children of the heart throughout this year. It is okay, doing an exercise of introspection, of assessment allows us to see what we want to improve, knowing that we will never achieve perfection. This allows the rise of awareness, to prepare for the new year.
To become aware that we are responsible for the actions and thoughts that we emit into the world. As the saying goes, “you reap what you sow”. This awareness can be made in relation to our direct environment:
How do I behave with my family, friends, at my workplace?
Am I a source of good humour or do I participate in what I call the ambient gloom?
Do I reprimand or encourage?
Do I control or do I let others express themselves?
Do I judge or accept another point of view?
It may be difficult to understand how our thoughts and words can influence the state of our surrounding world.
For example: 5 days a week, millions of people travel to work. They are stuck either in traffic jams or on public transport. Let us try to calculate how many of these millions of people are happy and fulfilled in their jobs.
Look around you, out of 10 people, how many can you say that in the morning they jump out of their beds full of momentum and say: “Great, I’m going to work! 3, 2, 1 out of 10? Multiply the 7, 8, 9 others by millions, imagine then only in Europe between 6am and 10am, the wave of bad mood and bad energy that pours out! Imagine the impact of these energies!
It means acknowledging our responsibility. If we want a change, let’s change our behaviour first. Let us take stock and assume that we are responsible for our words, thoughts and actions. And let’s ask ourselves what actions can I take to change? No need for a radical change, just small things, a smile, a service, etc.
For example, for the past 3 years, I have been writing every day in a notebook of gratitude, filling it every day at night with 3 elements of my day for which I am grateful and falling asleep with nice thoughts.
I also decided a few years ago to live closer to my workplace. Getting up early to go to work or even before, going to school, is not at all in line with my biological rhythm. I lived close to my workplace, close to the city, I could get there by public transport or by foot. It helped me to wake up from my sleep at my own pace, I don’t get angry in a car. Then, as much as possible, I used teleworking. Each change brings its own benefits and constraints, and it is up to each individual to make the choices that best suit them.
In 2013, I decided to stop participating in the collective frustration of the journey to work. For me it was the beginning, there were many other changes after that and there will be more. Above all, I have learned to cultivate compassion and caring for myself and others.
Everything in its time, little by little the bird makes its nest.
I wish you a bright and introspective Advent period.
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu