Below are two ‘gathas’ (versus of mindfulness) to help you in practicing mindfulness throughout the day. They are short and easy to memorize, thus providing for convenience in recitation during your everyday activities.

Recite this gatha when you first wake up:

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.

This gatha helps me to start the day off on a positive note; With a smile! It also serves as a reminder that today is a new day and yesterday is in the past. I am in control of how I live the next 24 hours, and what my mood will be within that time. In living fully in each moment I am truly living my life and making the best of any situation I may be in throughout my day, be it good or bad. Most importantly, this gatha aids me in performing the simple, yet sometimes difficult task of being kind to others. When someone gets under my skin during the day, I try and think back to this gatha and look at them with compassion. This allows me to understand that this person is acting in a negative way towards me because they are suffering, and in effect I do not respond back with negativity. Reciting this gatha also helps me to respect all forms of life I may encounter throughout the day. As silly as this may sound, this fourth line in the gatha has saved the lives of many insects and would be roadkill. It helps me to respect and appreciate all forms of life I encounter every day.

This gatha is for when someone or something makes you angry:

Breathing in I feel my anger.

Breathing out I smile.

I stay with my breathing

So I won’t lose myself.

In times when I feel the emotions of anger or frustration rising within me, I do my best to recite this gatha. It prevents me from lashing out and letting my emotions take control. By acknowledging that my anger is present within me, it prevents me from bottling up my emotions, which will only harm me later. Instead, this gatha helps in taking care of my anger and allowing me to stay in control of my emotions as opposed to the other way around.

There is no wrong or right way to recite a gatha as long as you take it seriously. The method that works best for me is to dedicate one entire breath (in, out) to each line. Give these two gathas a try! Write them down on a piece of paper and keep it in your pocket. They are simple and relatively easy to memorize, and you have nothing to lose.

With dedication and practice, these simple verses will help your day be happier and more peaceful for both yourself and those around you.

The first gatha is from the book ‘Present Moment, Wonderful Moment,’ and the second is from the book ‘Anger,’ both by Thich Nhat Hanh. Photo taken by Andy Liegl.